• Early prize topics should be selected with an eye toward their likely contribution to building NSF’s capabilities for mounting longer prize contests.

  • When a contest is being considered that would help fulfill the missions of other federal agencies, those agencies should be invited to participate in administering and funding the prize contest.

  • Contests should encourage entry by experts and practitioners in a variety of disciplines and fields.


The challenge to establish a program of innovation inducement prizes presents the NSF with an unusual opportunity to try a number of different approaches and designs for prizes, both to pursue the broad objective of stimulating innovation throughout a wide range of U.S. institutions and to develop a database of experience with such prizes that can inform policy makers and agency officials about their uses and limitations.

The committee believes that an ambitious, albeit in its early stages experimental, program of innovation inducement prize contests, carried out in close association with the academic community, scientific and technical societies, industry organizations, venture capitalists, and others, will prove to be a sound investment in strengthening the infrastructure for innovation in the United States.

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