Trial & Error Prize

Thomas Edison tried two thousand different materials in search of a filament for the light bulb. When none worked satisfactorily, his assistant complained, “All our work is in vain. We have learned nothing.” Edison replied very confidently, “Oh, we have come a long way and we have learned a lot. We know that there are two thousand elements which we cannot use to make a good light bulb.”

The current research community tends to publish scientific studies with ‘significant’ results and ignores studies that seem uneventful. Nevertheless, we can learn as much from ‘negative’ results as we can from ‘positive’ ones. Lessons learned from research help to minimize the duplication of experiments and narrow down pathways of innovation. It may also lead to the generation of novel ideas to tackle the same problem. The goal of this platform is to foster the publication of research in an easily accessible format, which scientists would have been hesitant to reveal in normal circumstances. This will help ensure that the total amount of money allocated to SCI research, both inside and outside the Challenge Program, is more efficiently spent. The prize will also provide a good forum to facilitate improved information-sharing and collaboration, as researchers will be able to review and comment on each other’s research.


Prize fund:

    •There will be a total prize fund of $6,000 available for each round of prizes, with up to $3,000 available for the top application.

The deadline for the second round of applications for the Trial & Error Prize closed on 21st January 2016. To stay up to date with news about the Prize and when the next round of applications opens, please sign up to our newsletter here.