Baron Peter Piot joins the Longitude Committee

29 Sep 2014

Written by Longitude Prize Team

We are excited to announce that world renowned expert microbiologist Baron Peter Piot has joined the Longitude Committee.

Chaired by Astronomer Royal Lord Martin Rees, the Longitude Committee provides overall governance for the Prize, bringing together the greatest minds in science, technology and engineering. The Committee’s members are notable champions for progress and innovation, bringing some of the most pressing global issues into the public consciousness.

The Committee takes inspiration from the Board of Longitude, which was formed in 1714 to oversee the open challenge to solve the problem of finding out how to measure longitude at sea. The new Longitude Committee will ultimately approve the winner of the Longitude Prize.

After a public vote, the Longitude Prize 2014 is focused on helping battle the problem of antibiotic resistance. Currently it can be a difficult and lengthy process to identify what is causing an infection or illness and often antibiotics are incorrectly prescribed, contributing to increasing resistance to antibiotics. The Prize will encourage competitors to create accurate, easy-to-use and affordable tests to help ensure appropriate antibiotics are given to a patient to at the right time.

Given his extraordinary career working within the field of disease and infection, Lord Piot is a fantastic addition to the Committee, bringing with him decades of experience. On joining the Committee, he said:

“I’m delighted to be joining the Longitude Committee. The Longitude Prize is a unique incentive to accelerate innovation to overcome the growing challenge of antimicrobial resistance.”

– Professor Peter Piot, MD, PhD, FMedSci  (Baron Piot)

Lord Piot is a distinguished expert in microbiology and epidemiology, and has played key roles in understanding some of the deadliest diseases affecting the world today. As well as co-discovering Ebola in 1976, he has made a huge contribution to bringing HIV/ AIDS to the forefront of global agendas; as well as time as President of the International AIDS Society he was the founding Executive Director of UNAIDS, and Under Secretary-General of the United Nations.

More recently, Professor Piot has become an invaluable figure in medical research and higher education in the UK as Director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, where he is a Professor of Global Health.