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Introduction to Challenge.gov

Welcome to the official hub for federal prize and challenge competitions!

Challenge.gov is a listing of challenge and prize competitions, all of which are run by more than 100 agencies across federal government. These problem-solving events include idea, creative, technical and scientific competitions in which U.S. federal agencies invite the public’s help to solve perplexing mission-centric problems.

Challenge and prize competitions are one path that federal agencies take to drive innovation.

More than 740 challenges have been run in the federal government since Challenge.gov launched in 2010, but competitions date back several centuries. Did you know, for instance, that the 1927 Orteig Prize for fueled Charles Lindbergh’s famous transatlantic flight? An architectural competition conceived the U.S. Capitol’s landmark design, too. There are so many examples of competition spurring innovation.

To date, federal agencies have offered more than $250 million in prize money along with other valuable and unique incentive prizes. Check out our stats:

  • 250,000+ solvers participated
  • Over 180 congressional districts
  • More than 5 million site visits
  • Visitors from every country around the globe
  • Participants from every state in the USA
  • Meet winners and hear about why crowdsourcing works for both seekers and solvers in a three-minute video: Challenge.gov Celebrates Five Years

A Quick Timeline: Challenges in Government

The Strategy for American Innovation, announced by the White House in September 2009, urged agencies to increase their ability to promote innovation with tools such as prizes and challenges.

Within six months, the Office of Management and Budget issued a memorandum providing a policy and legal framework to guide agencies in using prizes to stimulate innovation to advance their core missions.

Within four years, Challenge.gov emerged as a winner of Harvard’s Innovations in American Government Award, earning the honor of being selected from more than 600 applicants. The prestigious award is given every two years by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard Kennedy School. According to the press release announcing the finalist selections, “winners are chosen based on novelty, effectiveness, significance, and the degree to which their innovations can inspire replication in other government entities.”

Challenge.gov: Good for You, Good for Government

Are you a civic-minded member of the public with an idea for government? Are you a federal agency in need of novel solutions? Challenge.gov is available at no cost to you both.

Members of the public can search and sort through hundreds of open competitions. Something catch your attention? Register for an account and participate at no cost. Simply create a username and password, and provide us with an email address — so we can verify your account and notify you with the status of your submissions — and submit your entry.

Some competitions are listed here, but direct you out to third-party, non-government sites. That’s OK. All federal agencies are strongly encouraged to list competitions on Challenge.gov, including those hosted on other platforms. So, clicking on some competitions will direct you to the host website.