Press Releases

Beyer’s Science Prize Competitions Act Passes, Set To Become Law

Text of bill, included in America COMPETES Reauthorization, passes in final days of 114th Congress

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Washington, December 20, 2016 | comments

As the 114th Congress drew to a close last week, the House and Senate passed the America COMPETES reauthorization which included text from Rep. Don Beyer’s Science Prize Competitions Act. The measure encourages federal agencies to use prize competitions as incentives for innovation in scientific research. The President is expected to sign the larger bill, including Rep. Beyer’s provision, into law before the end of the year.

“I’m so pleased that we ended this Congress on a bipartisan note, passing a bill which will encourage scientific research and development,” said Rep. Don Beyer. “Prize competitions have a centuries-old history of motivating exploration and innovation. Some of America’s best moments, including the Space Race and Charles Lindbergh’s flight across the Atlantic, were motivated by competition. When we reach new frontiers of science and technology, all of us win. I would like to thank Senator Udall for his tremendous support and recognize his efforts to push the legislation over the finish line in the final days. ”

“Successful prize competitions attract innovators and entrepreneurs who apply American ingenuity to solve problems,” said Sen. Tom Udall, sponsor of the Senate version of the bill. “Past competitions hosted in New Mexico, for instance, helped develop commercial spaceflight and improve water desalination technology. Prizes are often a cost-effective way to spur innovation, and I am proud to have worked with Congressman Beyer to see this visionary measure enacted.”

Prize competitions date back centuries and have a successful track record accelerating technological development in many fields. Their goal is to incentivize problem solving and reward cash prizes for the best solution, often from new and unorthodox ideas.

“Prize competitions allow federal agencies to crowdsource creative solutions and tap into both traditional and non-traditional sources of innovation,” said Chris Frangione, Vice President of Prize Development for XPRIZE. “We applaud the bipartisan, bicameral effort on the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act, and believe the bill’s updates to federal prize authority will deepen existing public-private partnerships and result in more effective public prize competitions. In particular, we commend Senator Udall, Congressman Beyer, and Congressman Johnson for their tireless leadership on federal prize policy in Congress, which will help keep our nation at the forefront of innovation and exploration for years to come.”

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