FCDO Next Generation Economics 2024 competition

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) invites UK school students to write about big economic challenges by 28 June 2024.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) coordinates the UK’s diplomatic relationships, promotes UK interests abroad, and manages the UK’s overseas development budget.

The Next Generation Economics competition is managed by the FCDO in collaboration with the Hub for Equal Representation (HER) at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

Economics is important to our work, whether it is evaluating the sustainability of the UK’s international climate change commitments or analysing the contribution of the UK in reducing global poverty through aid programmes. Economics helps the FCDO make the most of each pound of taxpayer money.

The Next Generation Economics competition

The FCDO invites UK school students to write about the biggest economic challenges facing their generation. The competition is open until 28 June 2024.

We want:

  • to hear your ideas on one of the biggest economic challenges facing your generation. The FCDO represents UK interests across the world, and our economists work on finding and analysing solutions to global challenges

  • to inspire the next generation of economists. Our competition aims to demonstrate how economics is a vital tool for answering important, urgent policy questions

  • the next generation of economists to be even more diverse and open-minded than the current generation. We encourage you to enter the competition, whatever your background (and however much you know about economics). Find out more about diversity in the economics profession

Competition themes

To enter, submit your letter responding to 1 out of these 4 questions: 

  1. 2023 Nobel Prize laureate Claudia Goldin states that unequal division of caregiving and household responsibilities play a key role in gender pay gap. What policies could governments implement to increase female participation in the paid economy?  

  2. International efforts to reduce carbon emissions increase demand for clean energy technology and critical minerals. How could material rich developing countries capitalize on the demand for critical minerals to boost growth?  

  3. Climate change plus the impact of global conflict on international supply chains has enhanced risk on food security. What market intervention can governments across the world take to mitigate food security risk?  

  4. According to the UN, 3.3 billion people now live in countries where debt interest payments are greater than expenditure on health or education. What actions could governments globally take to ensure debt does not prevent investment towards development?

Writing tips and links to helpful sources can be found in the ‘Useful information’ section.

Email your completed FCDO Next Generation Economics Entry Template (ODT, 6.7 KB) to by 11:59pm on 28 June 2024.

We will announce the results on this webpage in July 2024.

Who can enter  

To enter, you must be: 

  • at least 14 years old 
  • studying in the UK at secondary school level (including sixth form and elective home education or home schooling), or at a British international school 

You do not need to be studying or have studied economics. 

Entering the competition is free.


We will announce the competition results in July 2024. There are several prizes on offer: 

  • the winner will receive a cash prize of £500 
  • 2 runners up will each receive 250  
  • 5 shortlisted entrants will receive £100 each 

The winner will present their essay to Adnan Khan, FCDO Chief Economist

The top 8 entrants will be offered a fully-funded visit to the FCDO and the London School of Economics in London. They will also meet with one of the co-directors of the Hub for Equal Representation at the LSE. Fully-funded visits are only available to UK-based entrants. 

We will publish the letters of the winner and runners up on the GOV.UK website and share them across the Government Economic Service.  

The top 25 entrants will each receive an economics book, chosen from a shortlist selected by the FCDO Chief Economist.

How to submit your entry   

Do not include any personal information in the main part of your letter. This allows us to mark entries anonymously and as fairly as possible. You should include this in the covering email instead. 

Your entry should: 

  • be formatted as a letter addressed to the FCDO’s Chief Economist Adnan Khan 
  • be 1,000 words or fewer 
  • clearly reference any evidence included. We recommend using the Harvard referencing style. References are not included in the word count 
  • not use applications such as ChatGPT or other forms of artificial intelligence (AI) 

Entries can include graphs and graphics, but these are not essential. 

You can ask an economics teacher for advice on the themes they plan to cover, economic concepts, recommended sources and writing styles.  

Find more information about writing like an economist and where to find useful sources.

The FCDO Next Generation Economics Entry Template (ODT, 6.7 KB) includes a table at the top with information including your name, age and school. Fill this in, remove it from the template and include it in your email to us.  

How to do this: 

1. Fill in the entry template

2. Select and cut completed template

3. Create email

4. Paste completed template into to email

5. Attach entry and email it to

If you don’t have an email account 

If you do not have access to email, you can post your letter. Send it this address, and include the information from the table at the top of the template on a separate sheet of paper:  

Next Generation Economics Competition Team
Room KG.18
Economics Directorate  
Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office  
King Charles Street  

How we mark entries 

A panel of FCDO economic advisors will read and mark your entry and agree a final shortlist of letters. The FCDO Chief Economist and co-directors of the Hub for Equal Representation at the LSE will review the shortlist and choose the winner and runners up.

The panel will consider these points when marking your entry:


All the competition questions address big economic challenges and have many possible answers. You should think about these questions with an open mind, and present, using evidence, your own ideas.

Economic concepts 

A great entry will use economic concepts to support the arguments it makes.

Using evidence 

Judges will be looking for effective use of evidence. Make sure you present your evidence clearly and explain the source.

Clear and concise writing 

You should structure your argument carefully to make every word count. Write clearly, concisely, and persuasively.

Useful information

To get inspiration, you can read the winning letters from last year’s competition.

These features will make your essay stand out, and are what we will look for when marking essays:

  • tell a story: create an engaging and convincing narrative, include an introduction and conclusion 

  • focus on economic analysis: discuss economic concepts that are relevant to the question 

  • focus on policy solutions: provide answers and solutions to the economic challenges of the question 

  • use evidence: use real world examples such as recent policy responses to support your arguments 

  • use visuals: use visuals, for example graphs, to help demonstrate your argument 

  • evaluate: provide critical analysis of proposed policies and focus on how efficient each policy solution is

Useful sources of information  

Question 1: Increasing female participation in the paid economy

Question 2: Material rich developing countries capitalising on demand

Question 3: Government market intervention to mitigate food security risk

Question 4: Actions governments could take to ensure debt does not prevent development

Find out more about the competition:

If you have any questions about the competition, email

Good luck! We look forward to reading your entries.

Your data 

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office is a data controller. This means that we are responsible for any of your personal data that we collect or use. We will treat all personal information in accordance with data protection legislation, including the UK General Data Protection Regulation and Data Protection Act 2018. Visit our website to learn more about how we handle personal information.

Published 19 January 2021
Last updated 26 February 2024 + show all updates
  1. Guidance reviewed and updated for 2024 competition.

  2. Link to 2023 competition winner and runners up added.

  3. The deadline for entering the competition is extended to 25 June 2023.

  4. Guidance reviewed and updated for 2023 competition. Submit your entry by 8 May 2023.

  5. The competition deadline has been extended to 18 February 2022.

  6. Updated with information on the new 2021 to 2022 competition.

  7. Next Generation competition deadline extended to 21 May 2021

  8. First published.