Teachers with a cunning idea to improve the literacy or numeracy of disadvantaged pupils can win up to pound;15,000 each to make their project a reality.
The competition, launched by education charity SHINE and TES, will give up to 10 teachers funding so they can pilot their own project for a year in their own school.
If any of those projects prove particularly successful, they may then receive further, long-term funding to helped them expand and support more young people.
The competition is being organised by SHINE (Support and Help IN Education), a charity that funds and develops educational programmes for underachieving 6-18 year olds from disadvantaged areas. Since 2001, it has invested pound;14.5 million in projects helping almost 50,000 students from nearly 2,000 schools.
Projects it has backed range from a chess scheme in Lewisham, which has improvedprimary children's numeracy to a Latin initiative in Willsden which has resulted in pupils writing songs and raps in the ancient language and had a noticable impact on their grammar skills.
Paul Carbury, SHINE's Chief Executive, said it was entirely up to teachers to decide what kind of project they felt would make an impact. "This is the first in what will become an annual competition for innovative ideas to raise attainment among disadvantaged students and we're starting off by focusing on the most essential skills - literacy and numeracy," he said.
"We don't know what sort of ideas we'll get and we don't want to close down any possible avenues. In order to win, however, proposals will need to have clearly defined objectives, a sensible and transparent budget, the potential to be scaled up in future years - and they must be innovative. We are looking for genuinely fresh thinking."
Gerard Kelly, TES editor, said: "With the current government placing a renewed emphasis on the importance of good teachers, there has never been a more suitable time to launch a competition like this one. The TES website already enables teachers to share resources and we are a proud sponsor of our Schools Awards, so joining forces with SHINE to find some of the country's most exciting and innovative teachers is a natural next step."