DHS Prize Competitions

Other Funding
  • Program Type
    Other Funding
  • Industry Focus
    Open to all innovators: Companies of all sizes Entrepreneurs and start-ups Citizen inventors University students Communities

DHS Prize competitions incentivize innovation to address homeland security challenges through public crowd-sourcing

Challenge and Prize Spotlight Chat with National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

The Spotlight Chat is a moderated discussion with innovation leaders to highlight success stories and lessons learned. In this session, we will hear from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Innovation and Legal teams as they share how they worked together to establish a legal framework for prizes and challenges at NIST.

Following the discussion, the panelists will respond to your questions. Please register to submit your questions in advance.

At the end of the event, you will gain an understanding of how engaging and building relationships with legal counsel has benefited NIST’s open innovation challenges and prize competitions. Please join us for an inspiring discussion.

Challenge Details

U.S. government agencies constantly work to address issues that affect people, communities, and industries throughout the country and even the world. Sometimes, they need help. Since 2010, the U.S. government has run over 1,200 prize competitions - engaging public solvers ranging from students and hobbyists to small business owners and academic researchers.

Longitude and ship navigation, Lindbergh’s transatlantic flight, even initial designs for the U.S. Capitol and White House—all were the result of open prize competitions. More recently, challenges have produced concepts for the next “lunar loo” (space toilet), an improved digital wallet user interface, protecting fish from water infrastructure, opioid detection in international mail, and “getting out the count” for the census.

And yes, those self-driving vehicles got their start in federal prize competitions too!

Future Phases

Check out an overview of each competition phase below - complete rules for each phase will be released as the competition progresses.


Let’s Get Started.

To apply or join the program, please submit an application.