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In keeping with the IEA’s core mission to “improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems”, the RICHARD KOCH BREAKTHROUGH PRIZE invites people from all around the world to put forward their ideas on how to resolve the big public policy questions of the day. With a first prize of £50,000, and a total prize pool of £59,400, this is one of the biggest economics essay prizes in the UK.

The 2019 competition had a two-stage entry process, with entrants initially expected to submit a short (500-1,000 word) précis of their breakthrough idea.

Authors of the most compelling ideas were then given feedback on their idea and asked to expand on it in order to submit an essay of 3,000-4,000 words, to be considered by the final judging panel.

The 2019 winners were announced at a prestigious awards ceremony and dinner in central London in October 2019.

The topic of each year’s essay question is formulated in conjunction with a prominent British MP, who identifies a policy area which they passionately believe is in need of new ideas. The 2019 question was developed in collaboration with the Rt Hon Dominic Raab MP.

Previous years’ questions, winners and subsequent activity

The RICHARD KOCH BREAKTHROUGH PRIZE is an annual essay competition run
by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) and generously sponsored by British businessman and author Richard Koch.

About Richard Koch

Richard Koch is a former management consultant, entrepreneur, and writer of several books on how to apply the Pareto principle (80/20 rule) in all walks of life. Richard has also used his concepts to make a fortune from several private equity investments made personally. Richard’s investments have included Filofax, Plymouth Gin, the Great Little Trading Company and Betfair. Previously he had been a consultant at Boston Consulting Group and later a partner at Bain and Company, before leaving to start management consulting firm L.E.K. Consulting with Jim Lawrence and Iain Evans.

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