UPDATE: The winning entry has been chosen: antibiotics.
Sometimes major discoveries need a nudge. 300 years ago the ships of the royal navy had mastered latitude (North-South) navigation using sun, moon and sextants. Going East-West was the problem, especially after America was discovered. Failed longitude navigation has cost a lot of lives.
To accelerate the discovery of a solution the government tendered the Longitude Prize in 1714. It led to the development of precision watches that were not influenced by the movements of a ship and allowed the seafarers to accurately measure the time difference between London and their current position. Problem solved.
300 years later, the UK is doing it again and are preparing the tender for the Longitude Prize 2014. The GBP10m prize matches the 1714 award and will be given within 5 years to the winner of the selected topic.
The topics are currently out for voting and include:
I have cast my vote already and encourage you to do so as well to nudge our joint future into the right direction. Whatever you feel that is.