Awarding Bold Ideas

Things Are Only Impossible Until They’re Not

Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry envisioned a boldly better future, full of optimism, driven by exploration and strengthened by diversity. Yet urgent challenges today threaten humanity and the infinite possibilities of tomorrow.

In honor of the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, we launched a prize for daring ideas from innovative thinkers to achieve the future that Gene imagined, ideas that put humanity first, to benefit a large and diverse population; are feasible and replicable, with potential to scale the magnitude of their impact; and are strategic, to alter the status quo by addressing systemic needs for a boldly better future.

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Star Trek reminded us that we’ve only scratched the surface of our universe—all has not been discovered. Tomorrow promises challenges and adventures beyond our imagination. How will your solution help expand our understanding of each other or our universe? What idea do you have for pursuing equality for all, for championing diversity or teaching empathy?

Our most challenging problems deserve bold solutions. Whether it’s new ways to access water and sanitation, a vaccine that prevents Alzheimer’s, or an app that rapidly mobilizes people during a crisis, share your idea for addressing critical global issues.

Star Trek depicted a future where technology helped create a better life for all humanity. Your solution can make it a reality. Perhaps it’s further connecting global citizens, or advancing artificial intelligence to protect threatened ecosystems, or strengthening infrastructure in developing countries. Today’s unparalleled technological resources offer infinite possibilities.

Gene Roddenberry used storytelling to convey a powerful message—that humanity’s best days are ahead of us, not behind us. Use new platforms to tell meaningful stories, to shed light on an issue and inspire action. Maybe it’s a new media art piece that uses stem cells, or a virtual reality film that immerses you in the homeless experience and moves you to take action.

Our investment today determines how far we go tomorrow. Share your solution for helping all people achieve their potential, whether it’s providing Internet access to everyone, removing barriers to education, eradicating illiteracy or improving child nutrition.


The best five ideas for a boldly better future—whether rooted in art, science, technology or another domain of human ingenuity—were awarded a total prize of $1 million to implement their world-changing solution. View the Winners and Finalists.

November 2016

Application Period Closed

Over 600 applications from around the globe were submitted.

February 2017


Learn more about the winners and finalists here.

Eligibility & Criteria

Review the eligibility requirements and criteria of the inaugural Roddenberry Prize.



Whether you’re working on a solution independently or as part of a team, whether you’re a startup company or a nonprofit organization: everyone, worldwide, was invited to participate.

To be eligible for the prize, entrants had to:

  • Agree to all legal terms and conditions of the prize.
  • Be able to legally receive unrestricted grant funding.
  • Meet all submission deadlines.
  • Complete all required fields in the application.
  • Submit the application in English.
  • Provide three professional references.



We sought bold solutions on the cusp of achieving scale. Solutions could cover a range of topics and disciplines. A panel of judges and the prize administrator, who assessed the overall quality of the entry, reviewed applications. Entries were evaluated along three criteria: their potential for transformative and lasting impact, demonstration of a feasible and achievable path to implementation, and the boldness of their vision to benefit our shared future.

Transformative Impact

  • The solution strategically intervenes in a broader system to maximize impact.
  • The solution will yield significant and meaningful outcomes.
  • The solution will create transformative impact for its target community.
  • The solution is designed to scale the magnitude of its impact.

Path to Implementation

  • The entrant has the skills, capacity and partnerships to deliver on the solution.
  • The solution has a realistic and feasible plan to move forward.
  • Major risks are identified and effectively addressed.


  • The solution is substantially different from other efforts addressing similar issues or efforts in its field.

About the Foundation

The Roddenberry Foundation was created to build on Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry’s legacy and philosophy, to drive social change and improve the lives of people around the world. In honor of the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, the Roddenberry Foundation is launching a $1 million prize to award bold ideas that will achieve a boldly better future.

Learn more about the Roddenberry Foundation and its initiatives.