An Indian Civilizational Perspective

Prizes for Social Improvement

Interesting story on how Prizes are being used these days to bring about a social difference!  I believe this is the oldest and most time-tested way to foster innovation and improve the mankind! 

Prize-based Grand Challenges continue to spring up:

• The Clay Mathematics Institute in Cambridge, Mass., is offering seven $1 million prizes for the solutions to seven classic problems in mathematics. The institute, founded in 1998, issued its challenge in May 2000. So far, no prizes have been awarded.

• Inspired by the X PRIZE’s success, NASA has created its Centennial Challenges Program, funding a number of $250,000 challenges aimed at speeding space exploration. They include finding a way to extract oxygen from moon rocks and making advanced explorer robots.

• The Methuselah Mouse Prize will award more than $3 million to the first researcher who can extend the lifespan of a certain species of mouse from about three years to five years. “It’s analogous to the sword in the stone. Whoever pulls it out gets the money,” says David Gobel, cofounder of the Methuselah Foundation, which sponsors the prize, first offered in 2003.

But a successful grand challenge involves more than money, Omenn says. It needs to be clearly stated, socially worthy, and difficult but not impossible to achieve. It’s misleading to assume “if you put a big enough amount of money on a stump every problem is solvable,” he says.

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Also read:  India vs Pakistan: through Pakistani eyes

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