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Beyer Innovation Bill Passes with Bipartisan Support

Prize Competition Act Will Incentivize STEM Innovation

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Washington, May 20, 2015 | comments

U.S. Representative Don Beyer's Science Prize Competition Act, H.R. 1162, passed the House with bipartisan support last night.  The bill will encourage federal agencies to use prize competitions to incentivize innovative scientific research and development.

“It is thrilling to pass my first bill, especially with support from both sides of the aisle. Prize competitions can be the catalyst for the new and unorthodox solutions that have always been at the heart of our greatest American achievements,” said Rep. Beyer.

“The bipartisan Science Prize Competition Act is a victory for American innovation, emerging entrepreneurs, STEM scholars, and our shared future,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said.  “Thanks to Congressman Beyer’s forward-looking leadership, we can inspire a new generation of innovators, and cultivate the research and development needed to meet the challenges of the 21st century.”

“One hundred years ago, the Orteig Prize spurred Charles Lindbergh’s first transatlantic flight. I cannot help but wonder how different the world one hundred years from now might be because of a prize offered today. I truly hope this bill will support our federal agencies facilitate future successes in ways we cannot possibly imagine,” Beyer added.

“I congratulate Rep. Beyer on passage of his Science Prize Competitions Act, which received support from both sides of the aisle today, and I thank him for his commitment to research and innovation,” said House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer.

Prize competitions date back more than 300 years and have proven valuable to accelerating technological development in space exploration, public health, automobiles, and more. Their goal is to incentivize problem solving and reward cash prizes for the most successful solution, often from new and unorthodox ideas or approaches.

The 2010 COMPETES Reauthorization granted all federal agencies the authority to hold prize competitions as an incentive for scientific and technological innovations. However, different interpretations of the 2010 authority across different agencies created unnecessary hurdles to several agencies’ ability to make full use of prizes to promote innovation.

"Incentivized prize competitions are a powerful tool for change,” said Peter Diamandis, Chairman and CEO of XPRIZE. "We applaud the leadership of Congressmen Beyer and Johnson for working in a bipartisan way to introduce and bring this bill across the finish line in the House of Representatives. If made law, the bill will send a signal to federal agencies, the private sector and the innovation community that prizes are an economically efficient way for the Federal government to incentivize innovation, catalyze industries and create solutions to some of our nation's biggest problems.”

 XPRIZE is a non-profit organization founded by Mr. Diamandis in 1995 that has designed and managed high-profile public prize competitions that motivate individuals, companies and organizations across all disciplines to develop innovative ideas and technologies that help solve the grand challenges that restrict humanity’s progress. They have partnered with NASA, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Transportation.

To learn more about the Science Prize Competition Act, click here

To learn more about current federal prize competitions being offered, go to Challenge.gov.

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Tags: Economy