The Opportunity Project Prize Challenge

Creating digital tools for the public with federal open data

Other Funding
  • Program Type
    Other Funding
  • Funding Award
  • Submission Deadline
    September 23: Submissions Open
  • Program Duration
    November 1: Submissions Due
  • Eligibilty Requirements (Y/N)

The Opportunity Project (TOP), a program run by the Census Open Innovation Labs (COIL) at the U.S. Census Bureau, brings together government, communities, and the technology industry to create digital tools that address our nation’s greatest challenges with open data. Through 12-week sprints, TOP challenges technologists outside of government – companies, non-profits, and universities – to create digital tools with Census and other federal open data to expand American economic opportunity.

TOP works with experts from the Census Bureau and other federal agencies to identify high-priority challenges facing the public, and then engages experts from the private and nonprofit sectors through technology development sprints. Each 12-week sprint results in new data-driven tools that directly serve families, local leaders, and businesses. This process helps to empower people with technology, make government data more accessible and user-friendly, and facilitate cross-sector collaboration to build new digital solutions with open data.

The Opportunity Project Demo Week 2020 (Day 1)

Showcase of innovative products to protect and restore the natural environment, lift voices from indigenous communities, and feature student innovators' perspectives. Welcome remarks from Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham and lightning talks by NOAA's Deputy CIO and renowned researcher and explorer Jenna Jambeck. Ten companies and universities present their new products to solve critical environmental challenges. Reactions and takeaways from community members and NGOs. Groundbreaking panel featuring three tribal community leaders about how we can all work to create technology and data that is more inclusive of indigenous people.

Challenge Goals and Categories

The Opportunity Project Prize Challenge is a new opportunity for teams who have participated in The Opportunity Project to compete for funding to expand their impact, deploy tools to end users, and begin to or continue to deliver impact on critical problems facing the public.

Because the challenges tackled in The Opportunity Project to date are so broad, COIL has identified five categories that capture a range of critical problems, described below. Teams applying for the prize must submit their product in at least one category, and can submit in up to 2 categories.

  • 2020 Census: Reaching Hard-to-Count Communities: e.g., products focusing on challenges such as increasing response rates in hard-to-count communities, bridging the digital divide, promoting online self-response through digital literacy, and promoting 2020 Census jobs;
  • Revolutionizing the Workforce: e.g., products focusing on challenges such as employment, training, education, supporting entrepreneurship, creating multiple pathways for careers, and developing regional talent pipelines for high growth development;
  • Building Thriving Communities: e.g., products focusing on challenges such as affordable housing, transportation information and infrastructure, public safety, investment in communities, and community infrastructure development;
  • Creating Resilient People and Places: e.g., products focusing on challenges such as disaster preparedness and response, environmental stewardship, and local address databases to support first responders and other community needs;
  • Creating the Future of Health: e.g., products focusing on challenges such as the opioid crisis, connecting patients with clinical trials, public health and disease prevention, emotional wellbeing, and tick borne diseases.
  • 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.