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MGI Essay Prize

The McKinsey Global Institute has launched a global essay contest aimed at crowdsourcing solutions to one of Europe’s biggest political and economic conundrums: how to implement a pro-growth economic strategy that is both effective and that appeals to voters and policy-makers.

The essay prize is a follow-up to the MGI June 2015 report, A Window of Opportunity for Europe, which identified policy measures that could double GDP growth in Europe in a sustainable manner and create more than 20 million jobs in Europe. While that report identified the “why” and the “what,” it did not focus on the “how.”

The contest is being held under the patronage of European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker. Juncker, a former Prime Minister of Luxembourg, himself articulated the dilemma that the essay is hoping to resolve, when he said back in 2007 “we all know what to do, but we don’t know how to get re-elected once we have done it.”

MGI’s “Opportunity for Europe” Prize will award a prize pool of €100,000 to the best essays that answer the question: How could a pro-growth reform programme be made deliverable by 2020, and appeal to electorates and decision makers alike at the national and European level? Contributions should be original and not previously submitted essays of maximum 5,000 words in length. They should:

  • Propose tangible reform programmes, where the focus is on whether, how, and why they are politically feasible within three to five years and appeal to public opinion
  • Propose mechanisms, communications, packaging, institutions, or other ways that help build trust and avoid moral hazard.

The winner of the essay contest will receive a prize of €60,000. A prize of €25,000 will be awarded to the best essay written by an author under the age of 30. A further €15,000 will be awarded to runners-up at the discretion of the panel of judges, which is chaired by Pascal Lamy, a former European Trade Commissioner and ex-director general of the World Trade Organization.  Submissions are due by July 31 and the awards will be presented at a dinner ceremony in Brussels in October. The rules and conditions can be found below.


José Ángel Gurría, Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), encourages creativity, and fresh ideas to meet the challenges facing Europe.

Jyrki Katainen, Vice President of the European Commission for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness calls for new ideas for Europe as he announces his support for the prize.
Pascal Lamy, chairman of the judging panel, on why the MGI Essay Prize matters in today’s Europe.


Resources for applicants

Interested in submitting your ideas? Here's where you can download the report, executive summary, and application to enter the contest:

Contest rules

Learn more about how to enter the contest and submission guidelines.

Resources for institutional partners

For more information, contact us to request additional materials for distribution.

MGI Prize Q&A

Do you want to check your eligibility to enter the MGI Essay Contest, know if you can make a submission as a group, find out how the judging will take place, or how to submit an application? All your questions are answered in our Q&A.


The judging panel for the MGI Essay Prize: An Opportunity for Europe will be chaired by Pascal Lamy, president emeritus of the Jacques Delors Institute, former director general of the World Trade Organization, and former EU Commissioner. Our judging panel is drawn from across Europe from academia, civil society, and the policy-making and business worlds. As of March 2016, members of the judging panel include:

Pascal Lamy
President emeritus, the Jacques Delors Institute; former director general, the World Trade Organization

Andrew Palmer
Business affairs editor, The Economist

Geneviève Pons-Deladrière
Director of the WWF European policy office in Brussels

Reiner Hoffmann
President of the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB)

Join the conversation

Tweet #EssayForEurope to share your ideas for European economic growth.