XPRIZE Encourages Congress to Include Incentivized Prizes in U.S. Innovation Toolkit

XPRIZE Encourages Congress to Include Incentivized Prizes in U.S. Innovation Toolkit

By Christopher Frangione
Vice President of Prize Development, XPRIZE

The power of prizes to find solutions to the biggest problems facing our nation today was recognized in Washington earlier this month. As XPRIZE Vice President of Prize Development, I testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on Research and Technology at the “Prizes to Spur Innovation and Technology Breakthroughs” hearing.

Members of Congress, including Committee Chairman, Larry Bucshon (R-IN), and Ranking Member, Dan Lipinski (D-IL), held the hearing to examine the benefits of prizes for innovation and technological advancement. They asked for advice on ways that Congress can encourage such competitions as they look to create supporting legislation for agencies to utilize the incentivized prize model, such as the prize provisions of the Frontiers in Research, Science and Technology Act of 2014 (the “FIRST Act”) recently passed by the House Subcommittee on Research and Technology.

"Today, scientific prize challenges still play an important role in spurring innovation, and the federal government and private sector are crucial to sustaining these challenges," said Rep. Bucshon.

Everyday, incentivized prize competitions, like those created at XPRIZE, are democratizing American innovation by drawing on the talent and ingenuity of everyday people that the more traditional levers of Washington contracts and even venture capital networks can't tap. XPRIZE shared success stories and best practices on Capitol Hill alongside other witnesses, including Donnie Wilson, Founder and CEO, Elastec/American Marine and Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup XCHALLENGE winner, Narinder Singh, Co-Founder/ Chief Strategy Officer, Appirio and TopCoder President, and Dr. Sharon Moe, President, American Society of Nephrology (ASN).

This commitment to prizes, by legislators in Washington, DC, as a means for revolutionary breakthrough sends an important signal not only to federal agencies, but also to the private sector and innovation community. The federal government believes in the power of prizes to bring about dramatic breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity.

At XPRIZE, we know that the private and public sectors must work together to utilize every tool available to facilitate meaningful innovation that drives economic growth. Prizes are one of these tools. XPRIZE has seen remarkable progress through critical public-private partnerships like the the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE and the Progressive Insurance Automotive XPRIZE. We look forward to continuing to bridge the chasm between innovators and policymakers to spur revolutionary advances that benefit society.

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