What's the Latest Development?

The world faces a difficult task in brining energy to poor and growing populations while mitigating the effects of climate change, which is why creating innovative and renewable energy programs must be a global priority. While market solutions are often thought best, the global economic slump has stalled business hoping to make it big on renewable energy. Governments must pick up the slack. "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."

What's the Big Idea?

There is a lengthy historical precedent for government funded innovation, from establishing accurate oceanic navigation to preserving foods by canning. Today, the United Arab Emirates, thanks to its large energy resources, is offering prize money to innovators. "The UAE’s toolkit for creative solutions includes the Zayed Future Energy Prize, an annual award for achievement in developing and deploying renewable energy and sustainable technologies. Since its launch in 2008, nearly $10 million has been awarded for innovations that have changed the lives of people worldwide." The UAE's prize incentives could provide a model for other governments. 

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Read it at Project Syndicate