“Using Prizes to Spur Open Innovation”: The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Explore Potential Approaches

This week’s NIH conference “Crowdsourcing: The Art and Science of Open Innovation” could be a hint that the research agency is seriously considering new ways to take advantage of the “processing power of lots of willing brains”.

ScienceInsider published a summary report that states:

NIH Director Francis Collins would soon sign papers that would ensure NIH is compliant with the America COMPETES Act, which gives federal agencies the authority to offer cash incentives for researchers to tackle high-risk, high-reward research questions that have eluded more traditional funding platforms, such as grants and sponsored research.

The America COMPETES Act was first passed in 2007 and was reauthorized in December. Under its authority, federal agencies outline a problem they’d like solved on Challenge.gov, then open the competition to individuals or teams, evaluate the results, and award a money prize to whoever turns in the best solution.


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