Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation 2023 (up to £25,000)

Deadline 19/7/2022

Deadline 19/7/2022

Applications for the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation 2023 are now open.        

The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation 2023 provides critical commercialization support to a spirational African inventors working on scalable engineering solutions to regional problems, highlighting the significance of engineering as a catalyst for economic growth and improved quality of life. The Prize has a history of spotting promising technical entrepreneurs, many of whom have gone on to have greater economic success and social impact.

The Royal Academy of Engineering is using engineering to create a society that is sustainable and an inclusive economy that benefits everyone. In collaboration with our Fellows and partners, we’re growing talent and developing skills for the future, driving innovation and building global partnerships, and influencing policy and engaging the public.

Each year, up to 16 shortlisted African innovators receive a unique package of support over eight months to help them accelerate their businesses. The benefits of selection include comprehensive and tailored business training, sector specific engineering mentoring, communications support, pitching opportunities and access to the Academy’s network of high profile, experienced engineers and business experts in the UK and across Africa.

Together we’re working to tackle the greatest challenges of our age.


The completion of customized training and coaching is a showcase event where

  • A winner is chosen to receive £25,000 and
  • Three runners-up are each given $10,000.

Eligibility criteria:

  • The application must be written in English.
  • The applicant must have a high level of English language proficiency in order to participate fully in the programme as this is conducted entirely in English.
  • The lead applicant must be over the age of 18 when applications close on 19 July 2022. There is no upper age limit.
  • Previous shortlist members or winners are not eligible to participate in the programme again, nor is anyone who was involved in their team or innovation.
  • Applicants can apply as an individual or as part of a team.
  • The lead applicant must be a citizen of a country in sub-Saharan Africa. For teams of two or more, the lead applicant (the person participating in training) must be a citizen of a country in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • The lead applicant must be ordinarily based in sub-Saharan Africa; if based overseas, this must be temporary for studies or otherwise.
  • The innovation must be based in a country in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • The lead applicant must have an engineering innovation, although they are not required to be an engineering graduate or student to apply.
  • The lead applicant must provide a letter of support from a university, research institution, innovation hub or previous incubator programme. This can be as simple as stating that an individual studied at or was involved with that institution. If applicants are not affiliated with any organisation, another document proving the status of their organisation or innovation, such as a document of incorporation or patent certificate, may be used.
  • Industrial researchers and establishments are not eligible.
  • The innovation can be any new product, technology or service, based on research in engineering defined in its broadest sense to encompass a wide range of fields.

This includes but is not limited to: agricultural technology, biotechnology, chemical engineering, civil engineering, computer science, design engineering, electrical and electronic engineering, ICT, materials science, mechanical engineering, and medical engineering. If you are in any doubt that your area of expertise would be considered as engineering, then please contact the Academy to discuss your application.

  • The innovation must be at technology readiness level 3 or above. Evidence of a prototype should be provided in the application. To learn more about technology readiness levels, please see the link
  • The lead applicant must provide a letter of consent from the originators/collaborators of the IP to this innovation, where relevant.
  • The lead applicant must provide a technical diagram and photo that showcases the technical aspects of the innovation as part of their application.
  • Applicants should have developed, and be in the early stages of commercialising, an engineering innovation that:
  • will bring social and/or environmental benefits to a country/countries in sub-Saharan Africa
  • has strong potential to be replicated and scaled-up
  • Is accompanied by an ambitious but realistic business plan that has strong commercial viability.

Note: For the purposes of the programme, the Academy’s definition of sub-Saharan Africa includes all countries defined by the African Union within Central, East, Southern, and West Africa.

 These are as follows: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, eSwatini, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Application timeline

  • Application submitted by Tuesday 19 July2022, 12pm (BST)
  • Checked for eligibility in July 2022
  • Reviewed by technical experts in August andSeptember 2022
  • Shortlist selected by judging panel byOctober 2022
  • All applicants will be notified of their applicationoutcome by the end of November 2022.

Shortlist timeline

  • Eight-month package of support begins in November 2022
  • Stage two application in April 2023
  • Finalists selected by judging panel in May 2023
  • Winner chosen at final event in June 2023
  • All shortlisted candidates will provide brief progress reports to the Academy on their business progress six months and 18 months after the final event

For more information on how to apply click here.

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