Up to $175k in total prize money up for grabs in 2019 Bell Labs Prize

Featured image: Nokia Bell Labs (Screenshot)

Do you have a game-changing and impactful idea that you believe has the potential to change the way we live, work and communicate?

Three innovators from around the world stand to win a share of $175 000 in the 2019 Bell Labs Prize. The competition is aimed at proposals that “change the game” in the ICT sector by a factor of 10.

In Africa, only innovators from Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa are eligible to apply for the prize. The proposal submission deadline is 26 April.

Bell Labs — an industrial research and scientific development firm owned by Finnish telecommunications company Nokia — will award a first prize of $100 000. The second and third placed winners will each receive $50 000 and $25 000, respectively.

The winner of the 2019 Bell Labs Prize will receive $100 000

In addition, all three winners will be considered for an opportunity to work with Bell Labs to further explore their ideas.

The first stage of the Bell Labs Prize requires that applicants formulate an idea — in about 250 words — that is related to the ICT sector.

Fields under consideration include, and are not restricted to: web applications, cloud services, information theory, computational sciences, cryptography, distributed systems, data privacy, mathematics of networks, modulation schemes, optical systems or components, communications systems, network protocols, network architecture, radio frequency design, sustainability, wireless, fixed network technologies, software-defined networks, virtualisation technologies, real-time analytics, search algorithms, self-optimising networks, and inference systems.

Those selected as finalists will be notified by email by 24 May. Up to 10 finalists will be selected and assigned a Bell Labs researcher as a partner to help them strengthen their idea and turn it into a robust proposal that they can present to the Bell Labs judging panel.

Proposals will be evaluated based on three criteria:

10x innovation potential: How novel the proposal is, particularly how it could result in a 10x change in performance around speed or throughput, distance, latency, cost, energy efficiency or simplicity.

Technical merit: This is how technically sound the proposal is. On what current principles and capabilities does it depend versus further or future advancements and innovations?

Feasibility: Can a proof of concept, simulation or demonstration be built in the course of the competition? What is required to do so? In order to build a commercially viable — revenue and profit generating — solution, what more would be required?

In addition, finalists who present to the judging panel will also be evaluated on the business impact of their solution or proposal.

Judges will in particular look at the magnitude of the new ICT-related business created by the proposal, as well as how soon it could be brought to market and how unique the proposition is.

A judging panel led by Bell Labs president Marcus Weldon and consisting of industry business leaders from within Bell Labs, Nokia and other high tech companies will then review the top proposals with winners set to be announced on 4 December.

Featured image: Nokia Bell Labs (Screenshot)



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