How can we prevent the rise of resistance to antibiotics?

  1. Summer 2014 Development of winning criteria, timeline and prize rules
  2. Autumn 2014 The challenge opens for submissions
  3. Autumn 2014 – 2020 Reviewing submissions and judging

Antib​iotics was voted by YOU to be the challenge of Longitude Prize 2014.

In order to tackle growing levels of antimicrobial resistance, the challenge set for the Longitude Prize is to create a cost-effective, accurate, rapid and easy-to-use test for bacterial infections that will allow health professionals worldwide to administer the right antibiotics at the right time.

What happens next?

Now that the antibiotics challenge has been chosen, we want everyone, from amateur scientists to the professional scientific community, to try and solve it.

Nesta and the Longitude Committee are finalising the criteria for how to win the £10 million prize, and from the autumn you will be able to submit your entries.

Do you have an idea to solve the antibiotics challenge? Register your interest and we’ll alert you when submissions open in autumn 2014.

The problem

On average antibiotics add 20 years to each person’s life.

The development of antibiotics has been vital to our survival, yet the rise of antimicrobial resistance is threatening to make them ineffective in the future.

The World Health Organization estimates that antibiotics treatments add an average of 20 years to all of our lives. But in the 80 years since the discovery of penicillin, our overuse of antibiotics has put pressure on bacteria to evolve resistance, leading to the emergence of untreatable superbugs that threaten the basis of modern medicine.

Clinicians often prescribe broad spectrum antibiotics to sick patients because doctors have to act quickly on imperfect information. These methods put selective pressure on microbes to evolve resistance to antibiotics.


Radical change is needed to address the global problem of growing anti-microbial resistance, to ensure a health care system that can sustainably control and treat infections.

We cannot outpace microbial evolution. A new broad-spectrum antibiotic, if applied with current methods, would eventually meet new forms of resistance. The overall solution involves a long-term path towards a more intelligent use of antibiotics enabling a future of more effective prevention, targeted treatments and smart clinical decision support systems.


The challenge for Longitude Prize 2014 will be set to create a cheap, accurate, rapid and easy-to-use point of care test kit for bacterial infections.


Point-of-care test kits will allow more targeted use of antibiotics, and an overall reduction in misdiagnosis and prescription. Effective and accurate point of care tests will form a vital part of the toolkit for stewardship of antibiotics in the future. This will ensure that the antibiotics we have now will be effective for longer and we can continue to control infections during routine and major procedures. 

Got an idea?

Register your interest and we’ll let you know when submissions open.

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