UK Youth Innovation Prize

What is the Youth Innovation Prize?

UCLPartners and Douglas Knowledge Partners are thrilled to announce the inaugural UK Youth Innovation Essay Prize. Young people between the ages of 18 and 30 are invited to write us a 1,500–2,000 word essay on the theme of “Innovations for health and climate change”. We want to hear your ideas for addressing the interlinked challenges of health and climate change in the UK and beyond. Finalists stand to gain development opportunities and cash prizes.

The Youth Innovation Prize began in South Africa in 2021 as a joint effort from Douglas Knowledge Partners and the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship. It is a competition designed to amplify the voices of young people and provide mentorship and development for innovators. When Douglas Knowledge Partners opened their offices in London in 2023, they joined forces with UCLPartners to launch the Youth Innovation Prize in the UK.


You need to be between
the ages of 18 and 30.
Your essay must be between
1,500 and 2,000 words.
You must read the 12 helpful
tips to entrants.
You must be living in the UK.

What can I gain from entering the competition?

This is more than a competition: it’s a development opportunity. Entrants with the most promising essays will receive coaching and mentorship from our writing and social innovation experts, who work with leading organisations across the world to shape and communicate ideas on the issues that matter most for humanity. This support will help you take your essay, and your writing skills, to the next level.

Shortlisted entrants will also have the opportunity to gain access to expertise at Douglas Knowledge Partners, and other organisations in our network—all of which are interested in engaging with talented people. This exposure could help you in your career development and progression.

£2,000 in cash prizes will be split amongst the winners!

Essay theme

“Innovations for health and climate change”

Our environment is changing—from rising global temperatures, pandemics and natural disasters, to biodiversity loss and wide scale pollution.

We are now in an era characterised by human impacts on Earth’s conditions, and everything is connected. Environmental changes affect the quality of the air we breathe, the availability of water and food resources, our exposure to infectious diseases, the ways in which we travel, and even the habitability of the places where we live – this in turn, impacts public health and wellbeing.

Understanding and acting upon these interlinked challenges of health and climate calls for collaboration across sectors to safeguard our future, with a particular focus on vulnerable groups. Send us an essay outlining an innovative and implementable idea to address these challenges. Your essay should go into detail with a single innovation, mentioning concrete and relevant examples.

You might describe a new business that stewards our biodiversity and natural resources, a non-profit or public sector innovation that addresses local or national pollution or climate-related risks to health, an innovation to reduce the environmental impact of healthcare, or reflect on your own role in driving innovation and progress—for example through research, advocacy, entrepreneurship, movement-building, or mobilising networks.

We are looking for ideas that recognise the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration and creative thinking in fostering sustainable and equitable solutions for a healthier future. Be creative, even surprise us—but also be pragmatic, showing us in detail the interconnection of health and climate change, and how the idea could really work in the context of the UK and beyond.

How the competition works

Stage 1: Competition open for entries
(8 August 2023 -
16 October 2023)
Entrants are invited to submit their essays. The most promising essays will then be selected for the next stage of the competition.
Stage 2: Mentorship and development
(16 October 2023 -
3 November 2023)
The top entrants will be given practical tips and coaching on how to improve their essay.
Stage 3: Round two of submissions
(13 November 2023)
The shortlisted participants will submit their final essays by 13 November 2023.
Stage 4: Top three finalists chosen
(14 November 2023 -
24 November 2023)
A diverse, high-powered judging panel will review the entries and select the winners and commended entries.
Stage 5: Celebration for the finalists
(December 2023)
At a glittering, awards ceremony, £2000 in prizes will be awarded to the top three winners.

Advice to entrants

Send us an essay outlining an innovative and implementable idea for how to tackle the environmental changes and improve planetary health. It should go into detail with a single innovation, mentioning concrete and relevant examples, and how it can help  both in the UK and across the globe.

Click on the icons below to review our 12 helpful tips for writing your essay.

12 helpful tips for
your essay
State the problem early
on in your essay.
Focus on editing your essay
a few times once it is complete.
Don’t leave writing to the
last minute.
Do not plagiarise.
We will not only be judging
the ideas you present, but also your writing. Please avoid bullet points
and lists in your essay.
Provide arguments, examples and data where possible to support your idea.
Try not to generalize if
you can be specific.
Remember that your conclusion should summarise what has already been said, and should not present any new ideas.
Make your first sentence eye catching.
Include vivid anecdotes and stories.
Write in a way which can be understood by those who are not necessarily experts
but are thoughtful and engaged.


For entries and queries: