Breaking Down Barriers to Craft-Trade Roles in Nuclear

Challenge details

Name: Breaking Down Barriers to Craft-Trade Roles in Nuclear
Challenge type: Student Challenge
Award: £3,000
Deadline: 20th April 2022

As a central pillar in the fight against climate change, the nuclear industry continues to gain momentum and support as the world moves towards a net-zero future. However, this growing demand for nuclear energy is placing an even bigger pressure on the future need for talent, particularly trade-based talent. As a result, the nuclear industry is experiencing a skills shortage of trades, which requires creative solutions to help enable the transfer and entry of trades-based talent into the nuclear sector.

As the Seeker for this Challenge, the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) is looking for student perspectives on what the barriers are that inhibit and/or deter students away from trades-based careers. They’re also looking to better understand how NNL can help overcome those barriers, with the goal of enticing and creating pathways for young talent to enter trades-based career paths.

This is an Ideation Challenge with a guaranteed award for at least one submitted solution.


For more than half a century, nuclear has been a reliable source of low-carbon energy that has kept homes and businesses running. As with so many trade industries, nuclear is experiencing a trades talent shortage. In order to harness nuclear as part of a green future, the current skills shortage of trades-based careers needs to be addressed: by identifying and dismantling the barriers to entering the sector.

NNL is a UK government owned nuclear services technology provider, that operates across seven sites in the UK. Their cutting-edge research in nuclear innovation aims to harness nuclear science to benefit society globally. Opportunities at NNL range from student-based internships to highly technical skills-based careers, hence their Challenges focus on expanding access to NNL and the nuclear industry.

Recognising that the best way to plan for the future is to ask the next generation for their ideas, NNL is running a Challenge aimed exclusively at students. They are seeking the perspectives of students throughout the UK in response to two key questions:

  1. What are the barriers preventing people from entering and getting trained in the nuclear industry? These could be practical, aspirational, geographical, or something else entirely.
  2. What creative approaches can NNL take to reduce and remove those barriers to recruit the talent needed to see nuclear fulfill its vast potential?

NNL is searching for these inputs from students to develop responses in order to: expand access to getting trained in the nuclear industry; increase opportunities in nuclear for those in trades-based careers; and widen opportunities to entice those without traditional academic backgrounds.

Not only will the awarded solution(s) be contributing to the future of the nuclear industry, your work will also contribute to three of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals: 10) Reducing Inequalities, 13) Climate Action, and 17) Partnership for the Goals.

This is an Ideation Challenge, which has the following unique features: 

  • There is a guaranteed award.  The award(s) will be paid to the best submission(s) as solely determined by the Seeker. The total payout will be $4,000, with at least one award being no smaller than $2,000 and no award being smaller than $500. 
  • The award(s) will be paid in pound sterling (GBP), at the exchange rate in effect at the launch of this Challenge, which equates the total payout of $4,000 (USD) to be £3,052 (GBP).
  • The Solvers are not required to transfer exclusive intellectual property rights to the Seeker.  Rather, by submitting a proposal, the Solver grants to the Seeker a royalty-free, perpetual, and non-exclusive license to use any information included in this proposal, including for promotional purposes. 

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 23:59 (GMT) on 20-04-2022.  

Late submissions will not be considered

After the Challenge deadline, the Seeker will complete the review process and make a decision with regards to the Winning Solution(s).All Solvers that submit a proposal will be notified on the status of their submissions; however, no detailed evaluation of individual submissions will be provided


This Challenge is open and offered solely to:

Registered UK-based students aged eighteen (18) years and/or with full legal capacity, who (i) is currently enrolled at a post-secondary institution in the UK or (ii) has recently graduated from a post-secondary institution in the UK less than one year before the current scholar year, with a student card and ( email to prove it. Each student may only participate once in each Challenge. If the participant is a minor, you must provide this authorisation signed by a parent or guardian in the name of the minor.

All the documents that may confirm the Participant’s eligibility will be required prior to awarding any prizes (e.g. identity document, student card, etc.).
Employees of the National Nuclear Laboratory or their relatives are ineligible to receive awards.


The National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) is a UK government owned and operated nuclear services technology provider. NNL leads the world in nuclear innovation and their staff are experts in the field. Working globally at the forefront of nuclear science, they provide knowledge, technology and cutting-edge facility access to partners and customers. NNL reinvests its profits to work towards their Focus Areas and the race for the UK to reach net zero.   

What is InnoCentive?

InnoCentive is the global innovation marketplace where creative minds solve some of the world’s most important problems for cash awards up to $1 million. Commercial, governmental and humanitarian organizations engage with InnoCentive to solve problems that can impact humankind in areas ranging from the environment to medical advancements.

What is an InnoCentive Ideation™ Challenge?

An InnoCentive Ideation™ Challenge is a broad question formulated to obtain access to new ideas, similar to a global brainstorm for producing a breakthrough idea or market survey which may include ideas for a new product line, a new commercial application for a current product, or even a viral marketing idea to recruit new customers. Ideation™ Challenge submissions are typically about two written pages, and Seekers receive a non-exclusive, perpetual license to use all submissions.

In an Ideation™ Challenge, Solvers may:

  • Submit ideas of their own
  • Submit third party information that they have the right to use and further the authority to convey that right and the right to use and develop derivative works to Seekers
  • Submit information considered in the public domain without any limitations on use

Solvers should not reveal any confidential information in their submissions. Often the Ideation™ Challenge will be followed by one or more of the other three Challenge types to further develop the ideas and gain Intellectual Property protection when the concept has been well-defined.


The Student Challenge consists of two rounds: 

Round One. Solutions will be accepted from [March 7th, 2022, at 8:00 GMT] to [April 20th, 2022 at 23:59 GMT]. At the end of this round, “Criteria based” voting will take place from [April 25th, 2022 at 8:00 GMT] to [April 29th, 2022 at 23:59 GMT]. The voters (Seeker employees) may evaluate and select the top [5] Participant Solutions that will proceed to round two. 

Round Two. Participants who have been selected to participate in round two will be notified directly by Wazoku. In the event a Participant does not answer after Wazoku has tried to contact them by email and by phone, Wazoku reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to disqualify this Participant. This disqualification shall not entitle the Participant to claim any kind of compensation from the Seeker.

Round two consists of an oral presentation by the Participants of the selected Solutions. Participants are not required to upload a Deliverable to the Challenge website before the second round. However, Participants must prepare a Deliverable which meets the specifications, which include: A document describing their Solution and presenting, for example, the problem it tackles, the proposed solution, and its impact. This document will be used as a presentation document during the oral presentation given by the Participants involved in the Challenge. At the end of the Second round, the jury will choose the winning Solutions and will rank the finalists.