Eligibility Criteria

The criteria below sets out who can enter the Prize and what ideas will be accepted.

People in the UK

We are looking for entries from individual inventors, small teams and small companies, based or residing in the UK. Applications from unincorporated groups are welcome, however, if an unincorporated association or group is selected as a finalist, they must be willing to incorporate.  

New ideas for products

We are looking for physical and digital products that are new and not currently on the market or available commercially. To be eligible, entrants will have to have a working model of their product that demonstrates what the product is able to do. Entrants must be able to explain how their invention will help make the lives of people in the UK better.


It is important that the development of the idea is co-created with its intended users during the prize. This is to ensure that the idea is meeting a specified need, commercial potential and could help make the lives of people in the UK better. By entering the prize, entrants are committing to conducting user-testing and meaningful consultations during the finalist stage to support the development of their product.


Entrants must  ensure that they have the capacity, or can have a realistic plan for how to develop or acquire the capacity, they need to develop their product during the prize. If selected as a finalist, some support will be provided, as part of the prize, to help finalists to achieve this.

Willingness to share the idea (Intellectual Property remains with entrant)

Entrants must be the creator of the product they are entering or have permission to enter it as a representative of the small business or group who created the product. Intellectual property will remain with the entrant, however, entrants must be willing to publicly share an outline of this product and, if they become finalists, what they have learnt through their participation in the prize.

To promote the prize, the entrants and inventors in the UK, Nesta intends to carry out and publish research about the insights gained through the Inventor Prize. Nesta will not divulge information relating to Intellectual Property in the public domain.

Prize funding

Prize funding will only be awarded for projects that have an identifiable public benefit related to the aims of the prize and Nesta’s charitable objectives and where any private benefit to individuals, companies or shareholders is incidental and not excessive.

All prize funding will be awarded in the form of grants for the continued development of the idea.


We cannot fund activity which is party-political in intention, use, or presentation nor to support or promote religious activity.