Today, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released a report on the Implementation of Federal Prize and Citizen Science Authority for Fiscal Years 2019-20.  This new report details recent Federal efforts to stimulate innovation and partnership and expand the American public’s participation in science. These developments are aligned with Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to advancing equity in the science and technology ecosystem, including OSTP’s Time is Now Initiative, and recently released Equity Action Plan.

Many exciting examples of prizes, challenges, crowdsourcing and citizen science projects are highlighted in the report, including:

  • Climate change and environmental science: Across Colorado, in Rocky Mountain National Park local problem solvers are conducting field surveys to help the Forest Service assess how vulnerable the charismatic pika is to climate change. Neighbors of the Colorado River, in the Grand Canyon, help the US Geological Survey monitor aquatic insect populations to gauge and monitor the ecosystem’s health and measure climate impacts of these insects as an indicator of the health of the river.
  • COVID19: The Department of Defense rapidly deployed prize challenges to meet the need of increasing the capacity of federal agencies to ideate and innovate during the COVID-19 pandemic addressing the shortage of ventilators in hospitals. and the Department of Health and Human Services used prize challenges to explore technical solutions for older adults experiencing increased isolation as the result of the pandemic.
  • International partnership: US Agency for International Development continues to use the Grand Challenges for Development across diverse sectors, incubating innovations that combat outbreaks of diseases like Ebola and Zika and bring clean energy to farmers.

Over the next two years, prize competitions, challenges, crowdsourcing, and citizen science will play a key role in renewing and rebuilding relationships with diverse communities. They catalyze the reimagining of how federal agencies drive innovation, and are vehicles to center public participation in science, equity, inclusive knowledge production, and environmental justice. They are a powerful tool to advance President Biden’s mandate that all of America can fully participate in, contribute to, and benefit from science and technology.

The Implementation of Federal Prize and Citizen Science Authority for Fiscal Years 2019-20 can be found here.

Background on Implementation of Federal Prize and Citizen Science Authority for Fiscal Years 2019-20:

This Congressionally-mandated biennial report responds to reporting requirements outlined in the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 and the Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science (CCS) Act of 2017 and helps detail recent efforts in advancing citizen science. Specifically, the report highlights eighty-eight prize competitions & challenges and forty-two citizen science and crowdsourcing activities reported by Federal agencies through COMPETES authorities to OTSP. This report also outlines eighty-four prize competitions & challenges and fifty-five citizen science and crowdsourcing non-COMPETES activities that are voluntarily reported by federal agencies. Together these represent the most activities reported during any reporting period to date.


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