Hultgren, Lipinski launch Congressional Prize Caucus to spur innovation
The new Congressional Prize Caucus was launched recently at an event hosted in conjunction with XPRIZE by U.S. Reps. Randy Hultgren (R-Dist. 14) and Dan Lipinski (D-Dist. 3).
The House duo developed the caucus to increase awareness and support further action for prize competitions, a crucial tool to spur innovation, engage citizen solvers, address tough problems and advance core missions. The event featured demonstrations from current and former XPRIZE competition teams, as well as NASA, USAID and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).
“I’m a firm believer in enlisting the private sector to innovate in all areas of discovery, such as space exploration and health care, and prize competitions are one way to spur research and excitement around the big issues facing our nation,” Hultgren said. “Private foundations have been able to tackle problems in ways the government can’t always do. What’s exciting about these competitions is how they knock down the barriers to entry, like applying for grants, which can discourage the participation of underrepresented groups, inhibiting innovation and a broader participation in our high-tech economy. The government can learn much from these competitions and share best practices to further leverage federal investments in R&D.
"Prize competitions facilitate great collaborations involving high school teams and scientists at the beginning of their careers," Hultgren said. "Young people can take the reins and see how their hard work can pay off and improve lives.
XPRIZE is a leading organization solving the world’s Grand Challenges by creating and managing large-scale, high-profile, incentivized prizes in the areas of learning, exploration, energy and environment, global development, and life sciences."
“Prizes are a win-win for Washington: They drive American innovation by coupling unique government resources with the everyday ingenuity and entrepreneurship of citizen innovators,” Christopher Frangione, XPRIZE's vice president of prize development, said. “We thank Rep. Hultgren and Rep. Lipinski for their leadership in the formation of the Congressional Prize Caucus to leverage the power of prizes and encourage their fellow legislators, and federal agencies, to utilize the prize model as a solution to some of our nation’s toughest problems. XPRIZE has undertaken an educational effort in Washington to work with policy makers on the important role policy plays in spurring innovation and sharing best practices. We are committed to ensuring prizes thrive as a tool to incentivize disruptive ideas to bring about dramatic breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity.”