Charles Street Symposium

The Charles Street Symposium is an annual forum for the world’s leading young researchers. Its aim is to give younger people a voice, and to bring together the best and brightest young thinkers to address issues of relevance to public policy that are inadequately addressed and understood in existing research.


How can we ensure that ageing societies are more prosperous societies?

Organised in partnership with AIG


Since 2012 the Charles Street Symposium has been an annual essay competition for the world’s leading young researchers and policy-makers. The goal of the Symposium is to generate ideas for how people can lead more prosperous lives and how countries can become more prosperous.

In late 2015, the Legatum Institute issued a call for applications where entrants were invited to submit an essay for the 2015/16 Symposium that explained how changes to current policies can be enacted to help ageing societies prosper. Shortlisted entrants, to be announced on 22 February, will be invited to pitch their policy ideas to our panel expert judges in this year’s Charles Street Symposium (17-18 March 2016). At the Symposium judges will decide upon the winners based on their essay submission and presentation.


  • The AIG Legatum Prize: £3,000.
  • 2nd Prize: £1,500.
  • 3rd Prizes: £500.

All shortlisted entrants will also be offered the opportunity to have their work published in a volume produced by the Legatum Institute.

The Judges

The 2015/16 judges include Martyn Lewis CBE, broadcaster, journalist and Chairman of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), Julia Manning, founder and Chief Executive of 2020health, Rudi Westendorp, Professor of Old-Age Medicine at the University of Copenhagen, and Adam Winslow, Chief Executive Officer of AIG Life.

2015/16 Charles Street Symposium Poster [PDF]


The competition is now closed. Shortlisted entries will be announced on 22 February 2016.

Terms and Conditions

The competition is open to all individuals, 35 years or younger. The Legatum Institute encourages submissions from a range of disciplines from economics, history, political science, business, philosophy and beyond. Entrants are asked to submit a 2,000 word essay on one of the specific questions outlined above, or devise their own, however questions must relate to one of the three research areas. Please note, the word limit does not include footnotes, end notes or bibliography. Authors may use any referencing style they wish.

Ten shortlisted candidates will be selected. These candidates will need to prepare a presentation and pitch their policy idea(s) to the panel of judges at the Symposium, at which the three winners will be selected.

For those not based in London the Legatum Institute will reimburse accommodation and travel to the Symposium. The Institute is happy to discuss and advise shortlisted entrants on issues relating the accommodation and travel.

For enquiries, please contact

Follow updates about the 2015/2016 Charles Street Symposium on Twitter using #CharlesSt and @LegatumInst


  • Britain's Ageing Population Could Be An Opportunity—Not Just a Disaster, by Stephen Clarke, City A.M. [View]
Past Symposiums

2014 Charles Street Symposium

The 2014 Symposium addressed the question of, 'Why do societies prosper?'. Applicants were asked to reflect on the successes and failures of traditional economic models in explaining growth and prosperity; the role of the state in encouraging social and individual flourishing; and the relationship between prosperity and morality. Speakers included Martin Vander Weyer (The Spectator) and Victoria Bateman (University of Cambridge)

More information about the Symposium available here.

2013 Charles Street Symposium

The 2013 Symposium brought together leading young economists to discuss the relevance—or irrelevance—of Austrian economist Friedrich August von Hayek's thought for today. Prospective participants were invited to submit an essay discussing the links between Hayek’s scholarly work and contemporary policy. Speakers included Esca Hayek (daughter-in-law of the late economist), Pascal Salin (Université Paris-Dauphine) and David Skarbek (King's College London)

More information about the Symposium available here.

2012 Charles Street Symposium

The inaugural Charles Street Symposium focussed on issues of economic risk and uncertainty. The Symposium brought together an outstanding group of young scholars, who were joined by a selection of leading senior economists as keynote speakers and mentors: Tyler Cowen (George Mason University), Randall Kroszner (University of Chicago) and Peter Lewin (University of Texas).

More information about the Symposium available here.