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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy
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Increasing Incentives and Removing Disincentives for Innovation

Innovation Inducement Prizes at the National Science Foundation: STEP’s blueprint for NSF innovation prize competitions served as a framework for government-wide prize authority incorporated into the reauthorization of the COMPETES Act in 2010., an online portal that facilitates public-sector prize competitions, is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year. Many of the federal agencies now use prize competitions to spur innovation, and have found that this incentive-laden approach increases cost-effectiveness, encourages risk-taking, and reaches participants beyond a typical scope.

To build on momentum around the use of prizes to address identified challenges, the Obama administration will hold an event this fall to highlight the role that these incentives play in solving critical issues in the U.S. and around the world. The event will showcase public- and private-sector relevant commitments from federal, state, and local agencies, companies, foundations, universities, and nonprofits.