Chennai to host Workshop on Longitude Prize Discovery Awards

Chennai: The British Deputy High Commission Chennai, in association with Nesta (an independent charity that works to increase the innovation capacity of the UK), is organising a ‘workshop on £10 million Longitude Prize Discovery Awards to tackle anti-microbial resistance: how to win’.

The aim of the workshop to be held on July 27 at the British Deputy High Commission, Chennai is to inspire individuals and teams to enter the Longitude Prize as competitors, as well as increase awareness about the cross-discipline effort required to tackle antimicrobial resistance, according to a statement.

The event is expected to be attended by Indian and UK companies, entrepreneurs and senior researchers. The opening remarks will be by Tammy Sandhu, Deputy Head of Mission, British Deputy High Commission Chennai.

The key speakers will include Dr George M Varghese, Christian Medical College, Vellore; Dr V Samuel Raj, SRM University, Delhi; Dr Mohanasankar Sivaprakasam, Healthcare Technology Innovation Centre, Chennai; Dr Abdul Ghafur, Apollo Hospital, Longitude Prize Advisory Panel, Chennai; Prof Guhan Jayaraman, IIT Madras; and Tamar Ghosh, Lead, Longitude Prize, Nesta, UK.

The Longitude Prize is touted as the world’s biggest science prize, a £10 million, five year, global challenge to scientists to develop a rapid, accurate, affordable, easy to use point of care diagnostic test that can be used anywhere in the world to help reduce inappropriate antibiotic use.

The prize aims to conserve antibiotics for future generations, revolutionising global healthcare. It is being developed and delivered by Nesta with funding partner Innovate UK. This is linked to one of the objectives of Longitude, to attract innovators, start-ups and entrants from a range of unexpected disciplines. There will be one winner.

The prize commemorates the 300th anniversary of the Longitude Act of 1714, the first British challenge prize, to determine longitude at sea.

The five-year race has begun to develop a point-of-care test that will identify when antibiotics are needed and — if they are — which ones to use. So far 156 teams have registered from 33 countries, including 15 from India, and are now working on ideas to win the prize.

The Longitude Prize has recently launched the Discovery Awards, small seed grants to help existing and new teams develop their ideas. With over three years to go, the prize, part funded by the UK government, would like to ensure that innovators from academia and industry, across Chennai, are aware of the prize and can take part. Last year, with the support of the BBC and Amazon, the UK public decided the focus of the new Longitude Prize to be antibiotic resistance.

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