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Informational Only

This challenge is no longer accepting new submissions.

Lowering the Cost of Continuous Streamflow Monitoring - Stage I

Can you help us lower the cost of continuous streamflow monitoring?

Department of the Interior - Bureau of Reclamation

Type of Challenge: Ideas
Partner Agencies | Federal: U.S. Geological Survey
Submission Start: 02/22/2019 12:00 PM ET
Submission End: 04/08/2019 11:59 PM ET

This challenge is externally hosted.

You can view the challenge details here: https://www.innocentive.com/ar/challenge/9933886

Description

The Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) and US Geological Survey (USGS) are seeking new and innovative methods to significantly reduce the cost of continuous streamflow monitoring compared to current methods.  The prize purse for this Stage I challenge is $75,000.   Future stages are envisioned including lab and field testing of prototype systems.

This Stage I challenge is a theoretical competition seeking a white paper submission detailing the proposed method for continuous streamflow monitoring, including a thorough description of the physical principles underlying the proposed method, all equipment and operation and maintenance (O&M) procedures required to implement the method, and estimated costs.

Water resources planning, management, and research rely extensively on accurate and reliable streamflow data. Long-term streamflow records, for example, are critical to the design of water supply and flood control projects, as well as infrastructure in and adjacent to stream channels. Similarly, water managers rely on real-time streamflow data to support water supply and flood control operations, including forecast and early warning systems for droughts and floods. Long-term and real-time streamflow data also support a broad range of water resources and environmental research.

Despite the importance of streamflow data, the existing network of continuous streamflow monitoring stations (also referred to as stream gages) in the United States has generally declined over the past several decades. The number of stream gages operated by the US Geological Survey peaked in the late 1960s and declined nearly 20% by the late 1990s. The primary driver of this decline is the cost of installing, operating, and maintaining stream gages. Between 2000 and 2009, additional funding was made available to reactivate approximately half of the deactivated gages; however, the cost of installing, operating, and maintaining stream gages remains a significant challenge to Federal, Tribal, State, and local water agencies.

This prize competition seeks new methods or technologies to significantly reduce the equipment and/or labor costs of continuous streamflow monitoring. Methods must be applicable to continuous monitoring of the volumetric flow rate of water in open channels, including natural channels (e.g., streams and rivers) and engineered channels (e.g., aqueducts, canals, and drainage channels). Methods should be applicable across wide range of flow rates, channel sizes, and channel geometries, and the accuracy and reliability of methods should be comparable or better than current methods.

A brief video describing this Challenge can be found here.

Challenge is set to launch Friday, February 22, 2019, 12:00 PM ET.  Submissions will be accepted for 45 days (concludes April 8, 2019 at 11:59 PM ET).

Rules

By the Challenge deadline, Solvers should submit a white paper submission detailing the proposed method for continuous streamflow monitoring, including a thorough description of the physical principles underlying the proposed method, all equipment and operation and maintenance (O&M) procedures required to implement the method, and estimated costs.  The total award for the Stage I Challenge is $75,000.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on April 8, 2019.  Late submissions will not be accepted.

If Stage I produces winning concepts and Reclamation determines future competitions would be beneficial, Reclamation may launch subsequent staged challenges contingent on the outcome of previous stages and on availability of funds.  A possible Stage 2 of this challenge is envisioned to be reduction-to-practice challenge seeking the development of prototype systems to be tested in a controlled environment such as a hydraulics laboratory, canal, regulated stream channel (e.g., stream channel below a dam), or other location where flow and measurement conditions can be well regulated. Testing will focus on verifying that the prototype system functions as intended and provides accurate measurements under controlled conditions.  A possible Stage 3 challenge would also be a reduction-to-practice challenge seeking the development of prototype systems to be tested in the field. Testing in Stage 3 will focus on evaluating the prototype systems under a broader range of flow and environmental conditions. The anticipated total award for Stages 2 and 3 is $450,000. Stage 2 and 3 would be shaped based on the outcome of the previous stage.  Participation in Stage 1 would not be required to be eligible to participate in future stages.

After the Challenge submission deadline, a Judging Panel of subject matter experts will evaluate the submissions and decide which Solvers are selected for an award in Stage 1 of this Challenge. The Judging Panel may be composed of Federal and/or Non-Federal scientists, engineers, and other technical experts, including subject matter experts from the listed collaborators for this Challenge.  All persons or entities that submit a proposal will be notified on the status of the submissions.  Decisions by Reclamation cannot be contested.

Eligibility

To receive an award in Stage 1 of this Challenge, the Solvers will not have to transfer their exclusive IP rights to Reclamation. Instead, Solvers will grant to Reclamation a non-exclusive license to practice their solutions. The Solver will not receive an Award if Solver cannot provide Reclamation with the non-exclusive license to the Solution IP on the terms set forth in the Challenge-Specific Agreement. Solvers who have transferred their IP rights in their solution to another party, or otherwise entered into any commercial exclusive arrangement with another for the exploitation of their IP rights in their solution prior to the end of the Challenge shall not be eligible for a Challenge award.  Please note that any proposal submitted will not be treated as confidential information.  Accordingly, Solvers should take whatever steps they deem necessary to protect their proprietary rights in their solutions prior to submitting their written proposal for consideration in the Challenge (e.g. filing provisional or full patent applications on the solution described in the written proposal submitted prior to submission).  See the Challenge-Specific Agreement for full details.

This Challenge is being conducted by Reclamation under the authority of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 (15 U.S. Code § 3719) as amended by the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act of 2017, which states that cash prize purse awards for this prize competition may only be given to an individual that is a citizen or permanent resident of the United States, or an entity that is incorporated in and whose primary place of business is in the United States, subject to verification before cash prize purses are awarded.

Cash prize purse payments:  Payments will be paid in full to the eligible registered individual, entity, or team selected as a winner.

Registering as a team:  Teams must register to compete by having the Team Leader form a Team Project Room.  The Team Leader must be a U.S. citizen, permanent U.S. resident, or representative of a U.S. entity eligible to receive a cash prize.  In the case of a team registration, the cash prize purse can be split and paid directly to eligible team members as directed by the registered eligible team leader.  The Reclamation will not make payment to team members that are not eligible under 15 USC 3719 to receive a cash prize.  Team Project Room requests must be made no later than 1 week prior to the Challenge deadline.

Participation by those not eligible for cash prizes:  Submissions can be entertained from all Solvers regardless of whether they are U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents, or U.S. entities.  Meritorious submissions from non-U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and entities are eligible to receive non-cash prize awards, if any, and will also be recognized in publications issued by the Reclamation announcing the results of the competition, such as press releases. Full eligibility details and other restrictions are detailed in the Challenge-Specific Agreement.

Participation in future stages: Participation in the Stage 1 theoretical competition (this challenge) is not required to be eligible to participate in Stage 2 or Stage 3 reduction-to-practice competitions (envisioned future challenges).

Judging Criteria

A Judging Panel of subject matter experts will evaluate the submissions and decide which Solvers are selected for an award in Stage 1 of this Challenge. The Judging Panel may be composed of Federal and/or Non-Federal scientists, engineers, and other technical experts, including subject matter experts from the listed collaborators for this Challenge.  All persons or entities that submit a proposal will be notified on the status of the submissions.  Decisions by Reclamation cannot be contested.


How To Enter

Visit the InnoCentive website for instructions on how to enter this competition.