The Roddenberry Prize

At the heart of The Roddenberry Prize is a belief that scientific and technological innovation will help us lead better, healthier, and more productive lives while helping the planet and our environment flourish.

This year’s Roddenberry Prize is focused on AI and machine learning. As AI becomes more powerful and ubiquitous, we call for its use in service of a more equitable and prosperous world in which all of us – regardless of our background – can thrive.

A grand prize of $1 million in non-dilutive financing will be granted to an early-stage venture that is using AI to improve the world.

How it works

Participation in The Roddenberry Prize is available by nomination only.

If you are a foundation, impact investor, venture capitalist, accelerator, academic institution, or a similar type of organization please nominate ventures by June 14, 2024. If you think you qualify to apply for the Prize please ask a current investor or funder to nominate you.

Nominate Now

1

All eligible applicants will be asked to submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) via our online portal on a rolling basis through July 12, 2024.

2

A select number of applicants will be invited to submit a second round application between August 5, 2024 – August 23, 2024.

3

Five finalists will be invited to share their work and vision during a one hour meeting with the foundation in October and November, 2024. One finalist will receive a $1 million USD grant. All finalists will be recognized publicly as “Roddenberry Prize Finalists”

We’re looking for

The Roddenberry Prize focuses on early stage ventures – nonprofit and mission-driven for-profit entities – that meet the following broad criteria:

Ethical

Any use of AI or machine learning must be fair, transparent, respectful of individual rights and privacy, and should explicitly design against bias or discrimination against individuals, communities, or groups.

Early Stage

We seek early stage ventures that have successfully raised Seed Rounds through Series A financing.

World Changing

We’re looking for solutions that have the potential to further one or more of the 17 United Nation Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

AI Driven

The venture’s solution/s must be largely if not exclusively powered by AI or machine learning.

Scalable

We’re looking for an audacious, far-reaching, and scalable vision to solve a global challenge.

Our North Star

From starships to communicators, replicators to tricorders, the technologies depicted in Star Trek are harnessed for the betterment of humanity— a future where science, exploration, and cooperation propel us to new heights of achievement and understanding.

As we enter the AI era, we find ourselves at a critical juncture in human history, poised on the brink of profound technological transformation. The rapid advancement of AI promises to revolutionize virtually every aspect of society, from the way we work and communicate to how we navigate the complexities of the modern world.

In focusing this year’s Roddenberry Prize on AI, we are doubling down on Gene’s unrelenting confidence in humanity’s wisdom and creativity to build a better future. The Prize is an invitation to demonstrate that AI can benefit society towards a more equitable, sustainable, and inclusive world.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much is the Prize award?

One applicant will receive a $1 million USD grant.

Are the awards unrestricted?

The award is an “equity free”, unrestricted grant for charitable purposes.

Why do I have to be nominated?

We want to save everyone time and effort by leveraging the expertise and insight of recognized institutions who are intimately familiar with their nominees.

Who can make a nomination?

Nominators must be globally recognized foundations, impact investors, venture capitalists, accelerators, academic institutions, or similar funders with a portfolio of organizations that are post-seed, through series A and meet the criteria above.

How do I make a nomination?

Foundations, impact investors, venture capitalists, accelerators, academic institutions, or similar type of organizations can nominate ventures by June 14, 2024.

Is there a deadline for making nominations?

Yes, the deadline to make a nomination is June 14, 2024

How do I apply for the Roddenberry Prize?

To apply to the Roddenberry Prize you must be nominated by a foundation, impact investor, VC, accelerator, academic institution, or other similar type of organization.

What do you mean by early-stage?

Ventures must have raised seed funding and not exceeded series A. Nonprofit organizations must have an annual budget of less than $5 million.

Can only for-profit organizations apply?

The Prize is open to nonprofit and mission-driven for-profit entities, including 501(c)3 and its non-US equivalents, C corporations, B corporations, and hybrid organizations.

Who is eligible to apply for the Prize?

  • Nonprofit and mission-driven for-profit entities, including US 501(c)3 and its non-US equivalents, C corporations, B corporations, and hybrid organizations.
  • Located anywhere in the world, as allowed by US law.
  • A member referred to us by one of our referring Partners.
  • Leverages AI or machine learning to tackle one or more of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Early stage: we consider organizations from the post-seed through series A funding stage. Nonprofit organizations must have an annual budget of less than $5 million.
  • Have submitted an application in English
  • Complete responses to all required application questions and submitted materials by the deadline
  • Agree to all legal terms and conditions of the Prize grant program
  • Be able to legally receive grant funding from a US nonprofit foundation

Who is not eligible to apply for the Prize?

  • Idea, pre-seed, or pre-pilot staged ventures.
  • Nonprofits with annual budgets that exceed $5 million or for-profit ventures that have received series B funding or beyond.
  • 501(c)4 or organizations promoting religious or ideological doctrine
  • Individuals
  • Pass-through entities
  • Film or arts financing
  • Endowments, cash reserves, or deficit reductions
  • Public schools and school districts
  • Government agencies
  • Event sponsorship
  • Political campaigns
  • Emergency/disaster relief, humanitarian support
  • Awareness building initiatives

Who are you looking for?

  1. Innovative technology or scientific breakthrough: innovativeness of a new technology, discovery, invention, or scientific breakthrough.
  2. Potential for real-world impact: we’re interested in solutions that have potential for radical, game-changing impact.
  3. Scalability: we’re looking for a venture that has the potential to be scaled to affect the lives of millions (if not billions) of people.
  4. Relevance: the solution is aligned with one or more of the SDG’s and addresses a recognized and urgent issue that affects a significant population.
  5. Feasibility: leadership has a realistic, practical and financially feasible plan for achieving impact.
  6. Track Record: though early stage, applicant/s has demonstrated some success, achieved tangible milestones, proven expertise in their field.

Do I have to be based in the US?

No. Applicants can be based anywhere in the world, as permitted by US law.

What are the United Nation SDGs?

The UN Sustainable Development Goals, adopted in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly, are 17 interlinked global outcomes to advance peace and prosperity for all by 2030.

Who are the previous Prize awardees?