Finalists for the £250,000 Wolfson Economics Prize unveiled

Full details on each of the finalists can be found here

A shortlist of five finalists for the 2017 Wolfson Economics Prize, the second largest economics prize in the world after Nobel, has been unveiled today, 27th April 2017.

The shortlisted entries aim to solve one of the greatest infrastructure challenges of modern times – making roads better, safer and more reliable in a way that is fair to road users and good for the economy and the environment.

A recent study by Inrix, the global traffic data company, revealed Britain’s roads are the most congested in Europe.

The switch to electric and autonomous vehicles, growing congestion, and the need to improve air quality add to the pressure for change.

Shortlisted finalists include a recent graduate from UCL; an Australian start-up firm; a former lawyer; an economist and her husband, the President of the Automobile Association (the AA); and a major multinational engineering firm. Each shortlisted finalist will be asked to expand their submissions before the final and if they do so will be awarded £10,000.

The judges also recognised two entries with “Lightbulb Awards” for originality. These went to Edward Glaeser, a Professor at Harvard and David Williams, a Research Associate from the University of the West of England.

The five finalists and two Lightbulb Awards were chosen by a  senior panel of judges including Lord Darling (the former Chancellor of the Exchequer), Sir John Kingman (Group Chairman, Legal & General and the former Second Permanent Secretary at HM Treasury), Isabel Dedring (Global Transport Leader, Arup, and previously London’s Deputy Mayor for Transport), Lord Finkelstein (Associate Editor at The Times) and Bridget Rosewell OBE (leading economist).

The Prize was founded by Lord Wolfson of Aspley, CEO of Next. This year’s prize was directed by former Transport and Downing Street Special Adviser, Julian Glover.

The 2017 prize received over 120 entries from 7 countries including the UK, US, Australia, Finland, Romania, Turkey and India.

The finalists are now being challenged to refine their submissions in the second round of the completion before the final and award of the £250,000 prize in July.

The founder of the Prize, Lord (Simon) Wolfson of Aspley Guise, said:

“Road congestion is a source of daily misery for millions of people: undermining our quality of life, environment and economy. As the political parties put together their programs for government, they would do well to turn their attention to the plight facing users of Britain’s road network.

“The creativity and enthusiasm demonstrated by the entrants to the 2017 Prize has been inspiring. I would like to thank everyone who took the time to enter and our team of expert judges. I look forward to the final in July.”

Sir John Kingman, the Chairman of the Judges, said:  

“The judges have faced a very difficult choice narrowing down over 120 entries to just five finalists from a fantastic array of submissions. The finalists are now in a tough race to win £250,000, to find a politically deliverable way to pay for better roads.

“On behalf of the Judges I’d like to thank every single entrant for their creativity and dedication in entering the 2017 Wolfson Economics Prize.”

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