The Power of the Prize

For centuries, governments have used prizes to spur innovative research that yields creative solutions to global challenges. Now the world needs the same kind of inspired leadership to address the twenty-first century’s most pressing challenge: ensuring access to sustainable energy for all.

VIENNA – The world faces two looming, interconnected energy challenges: how to provide reliable access to modern energy services to the one in five people worldwide who do not have it, while minimizing the damaging impact of climate change by reducing carbon emissions. Surmounting these challenges requires finding more diverse, cleaner energy sources, which implies the need for expanded funding and incentives for research and development of clean technology.

Free-market incentives are often viewed as the main catalyst for such solutions. But, while market forces reward innovation and creativity, their impact is substantially weakened in a global economy plagued by slow, uneven growth. Given this, it is up to governments to stimulate and support the development of critical energy capabilities by rewarding innovation.

For centuries, governments have used prizes to spur innovative research that yields creative solutions to pressing global challenges. Such prizes reflect genuine global leadership: transforming a major challenge into an opportunity to facilitate progress toward a better future.

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