Competition Seeks New Ideas For Protecting Crowded Places From Terrorist Threats

The Global Security Challenge (GSC) and Secure Futures, a national security innovation firm, announced recently a commitment to an initiative designed to help bring fresh thinking to the problem of protecting the general public from the threat of terrorism in crowded urban environments.

Secure Futures will provide financial and advisory support for a new award category in the internationally recognized Global Security Challenge competition to reward the most innovative ideas and improve the prospect of successful concept development.

At present, governments and industry are looking for more effective ways to respond to the huge challenges posed by securing crowded places. The Global Security Challenge is advancing a theory that proposes competitions can be the most effective method of reaching a broad audience of innovators.

"Making everyday crowded places more secure for us all is an aspiration we can all share. The world's best innovators, whether in universities, start-ups or established companies, have a critical contribution to make . Our mission is to find the most exciting ideas and help turn them into practical solutions," said Fiona Strens, a director of Secure Futures Ltd.

The "Crowded Places" category in the Global Security Challenge differs in one key area from the main competition -- it will involve people who have ideas but no product or prototype yet.

"Secure Futures chose to sponsor the Crowded Places award at the 2008 Global Security Challenge because the GSC has been so successful at accelerating the success of their past entrants," Strens said.

Top-contenders from the last two GSC competitions have raised $20 million in new venture capital, grants and angel investments. They have also secured large contracts with government clients, such as the US Department of Energy, U.S. Navy and the U.S. Department of Defense, as well as industry behemoths, such as Bayer AG from Germany.

“Previously, we have found that 71 percent of entrants in Global Security Challenges originated from universities and entrepreneurs,” said Simon Schneider Co-President of the Global Security Challenge. “Obviously we can see that there are a lot of good ideas in academic institutions and we believe what they need is a little help to make them a reality. This is the rationale behind the Crowded Places category."

Entrants can be start-ups and spin-outs, large and small companies, laboratories, universities, projects, entrepreneurs and individuals. Prizes include $10,000 in cash and a mentorship program for the winner in taking their idea forward. More information can be found at

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