A top British businessman is offering a £250,000 reward for an individual to come up a plan for how the euro could be safely dismantled.
The one-off prize is sponsored by Lord Wolfson, chief executive of High Street clothing chain Next and a Conservative party donor, and organised by the Policy Exchange, a think-tank.
The prize is targeted at 'top academic economists'.
Neil O'Brien, Policy Exchange director, said: 'The Wolfson Economics Prize is an exciting and important academic project.
'The prize will help answer some of the many important - yet unanswered - questions from over a decade ago when the EMU (European Monetary Union) was first set up.
'While there's been a lot of speculation about countries leaving the euro, there has been too little detailed research on the many complex questions this would raise.'
Lord Wolfson said: 'There is now a real possibility that political or economic pressure may force one or more states to leave the euro. If this process is mismanaged it could threaten European savings, employment and the stability of the international banking system.
'This prize aims to ensure that high quality economic thought is given to how the euro might be restructured into more stable currencies.
'Consideration will need to be given to what a post-euro eurozone would look like, how transition could be achieved and how the interests of employment, savers, and debtors would be balanced. Importantly, careful consideration must also be given to managing the potential impact on the international banking system.'
The Policy Exchange says that since its launch in 1999 the euro has become the second most important currency in the world, with 15-20 per cent more euros than dollars in global circulation.
Lord Wolfson added: 'The stakes are enormous. The future of the world economy will, in large part, be governed by what happens over the next few years in Europe. I, along with most European businessmen, hope that the eurozone will stabilise, but in the event it does not Europe must not sleepwalk into a policy vacuum.
'This prize aims to incentivise the world's brightest economic minds to help fill that policy void: their endeavours may well prevent Europe from descending into a financial chaos that would destroy savings, jobs, and social cohesion.'
The notion of offering prizes for solutions is one that has gathered popularity in recent years, especially with behavioural economists who see it as an efficient and effective way of solving problems.
In 2006, a prize fund was created to reward African leaders who shun corruption and show true leadership. The Mo Ibrahim Foundation earlier this month handed the 2011 prize - $5million award paid over 10 years and $200,000 annually for life thereafter - to President Pedro Verona Pires of Cape Verde.
But the notion of rewarding innovation is not new. The Nobel Prizes have been dished out for more than a century. In 1895, a year before his death, Swedish scientist, inventor and entrepreneur Alfred Nobel signed over 31million kronor (£2.94m) of his wealth (SEK 1,688 million in today's money) to provide an income for paying prizes each year to innovators. It pays SEK10million (£950,000) for each full prize.
The Wolfson Economics Prize, which is a one-off prize, will be the second biggest cash prize to be awarded to an academic economist after the Nobel Prize.
Economists have until January 31 to submit proposals.