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Nokia Bell Labs Prize 2021 – Call for Entries

We welcome applications from innovators from participating countries around the globe. If you have a 10x game-changing idea and are interested in developing it with leading Bell Labs researchers, you have come to the right place.

 A prestigious competition that aims to provide a unique opportunity for innovators to change the world with big ideas, following in the great tradition of Bell Labs.

The Bell Labs Prize is a competition for innovators from participating countries around the globe that seeks to recognize proposals that ‘change the game’ in the field of information and communications technologies by a factor of 10, and provides selected innovators the unique opportunity to collaborate with Bell Labs researchers to help realize their vision.

Categories: Web Applications, Cloud Services, Information Theory, Coding Theory, Computational Sciences, Cryptography, Distributed Systems, Data Privacy, Mathematics of Networks, Modulation Schemes, Optical Systems or Components, Communications Systems, Network Protocols, Security, Network Architecture, RF design, Sustainability, Wireless, Fixed Network technologies, Software-Defined Networks, Virtualization Technologies, Real-time Analytics, Search algorithms, Self-Optimizing Networks, Inference systems.

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About Nokia Foundation

Established as an initiative of Nokia Oyj in August 1995, the Nokia Foundation promotes and supports scientific development and education throughout Finland’s information and telecommunications technology sectors. Multidisciplinary research in these areas, in addition to approaches from other scientific fields, such as social, behavioral, business and service sciences, are also highly valued. To help achieve its mission, the Foundation offers annual grants and awards to most qualified applicants. Decisions are made by the Foundation’s Board Members, which include representatives... read more


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Nokia Bell Labs Prize


Aim and Benefits of Nokia Bell Labs Prize

  • Bell Labs will be awarding a 1st prize of $100K, 2nd Prize of $50K and 3rd prize of $25K.
  • All three winners will also be considered for the unique opportunity to work within the world-renowned Bell Labs to further explore their ideas, following the end of the competition.

Requirements for Nokia Bell Labs Prize Qualification

This prize is open to all eligible applicants who register and submit proposals in the general areas of information and communications technologies. Teams of up to four members are allowed to participate, provided each member of the team meets the eligibility requirements.

Participants must:

  • Own their ideas
  • Be 21 years of age or older
  • Possess a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree
  • Not be employed by Nokia or be a family member of Nokia employee
  • Reside in one of the following countries listed

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Interview date, Process and Venue for Nokia Bell Labs Prize

 Ideas will be evaluated by Bell Labs researchers based on the following 3 criteria:

  • 10x Innovation Potential – How is your proposal novel – what has not been done before, what is the “out of the box” thinking that could result in a 10x change in performance (e.g., speed/throughput, distance, latency, cost, energy efficiency or simplicity)?
  • Technical Merit – How technically sound is your proposal? On what current principles and capabilities does it depend versus further/future advancements and innovations?
  • Feasibility – Can a proof of concept, simulation or demonstration be built in the course of the competition? What is required to do so? In order to build a commercially viable (revenue and profit-generating) solution, what more would be required?

The finalists who present to the Judging Panel will also be evaluated on a 4th criterion, which focuses on the commercial value proposition:

  • Business Impact – What is the magnitude of the new ICT-related business created by the proposal? How soon could it be brought to market and how differentiated/unique is the proposition?

Application Deadline

May 14, 2021


How to Apply

Interested and qualified? Go to Nokia Foundation on bell-labs.smapply.io to apply

For more details, visit Nokia Bell Labs website



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