Concerning Federally Sponsored Inducement Prizes in Engineering and Science

Report of the Steering Committee for the

Workshop to Assess the Potential for Promoting Technological Advance through Government-Sponsored Prizes and Contests

30 April 1999

Washington, D.C.

National Academy of Engineering
November 1999



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Concerning Federally Sponsored Inducement Prizes in Engineering and Science: Report of the Steering Committee for the Concerning Federally Sponsored Inducement Prizes in Engineering and Science Report of the Steering Committee for the Workshop to Assess the Potential for Promoting Technological Advance through Government-Sponsored Prizes and Contests 30 April 1999 Washington, D.C. National Academy of Engineering November 1999

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Concerning Federally Sponsored Inducement Prizes in Engineering and Science: Report of the Steering Committee for the Funding for this effort was provided by the National Science Foundation under grant no. EEC-9812672 and the National Academy of Engineering Fund. This publication has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a National Academy of Engineering report review process. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report: William F. Ballhaus, Jr., Lockheed Martin Corp.; Lewis M. Branscomb, Harvard University; Harold K. Forsen, National Academy of Engineering; John H. Gibbons, Office of Science and Technology Policy (retired); David M. Hart, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; Roger G. Noll, Stanford University; and Robert M. White, Carnegie Mellon University. While these individuals have provided constructive comments and suggestions, it must be emphasized that responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution. Available from: Program Office, NAS 315 National Academy of Engineering 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, DC 20418 Phone: (202) 334–1579 Copyright 1999 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America.

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Concerning Federally Sponsored Inducement Prizes in Engineering and Science: Report of the Steering Committee for the THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES National Academy of Sciences National Academy of Engineering Institute of Medicine National Research Council The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

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Concerning Federally Sponsored Inducement Prizes in Engineering and Science: Report of the Steering Committee for the Steering Committee Workshop to Assess the Potential for Promoting Technological Advance through Government-Sponsored Prizes and Contests ERICH BLOCH, Chair, President, The Washington Advisory Group PAUL G. KAMINSKI,Chairman and CEO, Technovation, Inc. DAVID C. MOWERY, Milton W. Terrill Professor of Business, Haas School of Business, University of California at Berkeley DANIEL M. TELLEP, Retired Chairman, Lockheed Martin Corp. ROBERT S. WALKER, President, The Wexler Group Staff ALAN H. ANDERSON, Consultant PENELOPE GIBBS, Administrative Assistant, NAE Program Office PROCTOR P. REID, Project Director, and Associate Director, NAE Program Office KARLA J. WEEKS, Editor PATRICK H. WINDHAM, Consultant, Windham Consulting

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Concerning Federally Sponsored Inducement Prizes in Engineering and Science: Report of the Steering Committee for the Preface In response to a request from the National Economic Council, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) convened a workshop on 30 April 1999 to assess the potential value of federally sponsored prizes and contests in advancing science and technology in the public interest. A five-member steering committee1 was appointed by NAE President Wm. A. Wulf to organize the workshop and prepare a brief summary report to sponsors. Funding was provided by the National Science Foundation (NSF). To help prepare participants for the workshop, the steering committee commissioned a background paper on prizes and contests.2 The 41 participants—from government, industry, and academia3—were asked to consider the following questions: Is there a case to be made for adding prizes and contests to the federal science and technology policy portfolio? What are the potential advantages and disadvantages of prizes and contests relative to other policy instruments? What are the most appropriate objectives for such prizes and contests? How should such prizes and contests be designed and administered? At the workshop, discussion was organized around an initial presentation and the prepared remarks of two expert panels.4 The first panel included prize administrators and prizewinners, and discussed the history, design, administration, and impact of prizes and contests. The second panel included industry and agency leaders, and discussed the potential value of prizes and contests to agency missions and societal objectives, as well as legislative, administrative, and legal issues. The following report of the steering committee summarizes the workshop discussion, which explored the rationale for federally sponsored science and technology prize contests, potential objectives of such contests, and issues of prize contest design and administration. The report also includes a series of cautions and summary recommendations.

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Concerning Federally Sponsored Inducement Prizes in Engineering and Science: Report of the Steering Committee for the Contents     Executive Summary   1     Introduction   3     A Taxonomy of Prize Contests   4     Inducement Prizes and Existing Public Policy Instruments   5     Potential Objectives of Inducement Prize Contests   8     Design and Administration of Inducement Prize Contests   10     Some Areas for Caution   13     Conclusions and Recommendations   14  Appendix A,   A Taxonomy of Technology Prizes and Contests   21  Appendix B,   Workshop Participants, Prospectus, and Agenda   35

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