United States Code
USC most recently checked for updates: Jun 03, 2023
The term “agency” means a Federal agency.
The term “Director” means the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy.
The term “Federal agency” has the meaning given under section 3703 of this title, except that term shall not include any agency of the legislative branch of the Federal Government.
The term “head of an agency” means the head of a Federal agency.
Each head of an agency, or the heads of multiple agencies in cooperation, may carry out a program to award prizes competitively to stimulate innovation that has the potential to advance the mission of the respective agency.
In selecting topics for prize competitions, the head of an agency shall consult widely both within and outside the Federal Government, and may empanel advisory committees.
The head of an agency shall widely advertise each prize competition to encourage broad participation.
An individual or entity shall not be deemed ineligible under subsection (g) because the individual or entity used Federal facilities or consulted with Federal employees during a prize competition if the facilities and employees are made available to all individuals and entities participating in the prize competition on an equitable basis.
In this paragraph, the term “related entity” means a contractor or subcontractor at any tier, and a supplier, user, customer, cooperating party, grantee, investigator, or detailee.
Registered participants shall be required to agree to assume any and all risks and waive claims against the Federal Government and its related entities, except in the case of willful misconduct, for any injury, death, damage, or loss of property, revenue, or profits, whether direct, indirect, or consequential, arising from their participation in a prize competition, whether the injury, death, damage, or loss arises through negligence or otherwise.
An agency may waive the requirement under paragraph (2).
The Director shall include a list of all of the waivers granted under this paragraph during the preceding fiscal year, including a detailed explanation of the reason for granting the waiver.
The head of an agency may not require a participant to waive claims against the administering entity arising out of the unauthorized use or disclosure by the agency of the intellectual property, trade secrets, or confidential business information of the participant.
The Federal Government may not gain an interest in intellectual property developed by a participant in a prize competition without the written consent of the participant.
As appropriate and to further the goals of a prize competition, the Federal Government may negotiate a license for the use of intellectual property developed by a registered participant in a prize competition.
For each prize competition, the head of an agency, either directly or through an agreement under subsection (l), shall appoint one or more qualified judges to select the winner or winners of the prize competition on the basis described under subsection (f). Judges for each prize competition may include individuals from outside the agency, including from the private sector.
The heads of agencies who carry out prize competitions under this section shall develop guidelines to ensure that the judges appointed for such prize competitions are fairly balanced and operate in a transparent manner.
Chapter 10 of title 5 shall not apply to any committee, board, commission, panel, task force, or similar entity, created solely for the purpose of judging prize competitions under this section.
The head of an agency may enter into a grant, contract, cooperative agreement, or other agreement with a private sector for-profit or nonprofit entity or State or local government agency to administer the prize competition, subject to the provisions of this section.
Support for a prize competition under this section, including financial support for the design and administration of a prize competition or funds for a cash prize purse, may consist of Federal appropriated funds and funds provided by private sector for-profit and nonprofit entities. The head of an agency may request and accept funds from other Federal agencies, State, United States territory, local, or tribal government agencies, private sector for-profit entities, and nonprofit entities, to be available to the extent provided by appropriations Acts, to support such prize competitions. The head of an agency may not give any special consideration to any agency or entity in return for a donation.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, funds appropriated for cash prize purses or non-cash prize awards under this section shall remain available until expended. No provision in this section permits obligation or payment of funds in violation of section 1341 of title 31.
No prize competition may be announced under subsection (f) until all the funds needed to pay out the announced amount of the cash prize purse have been appropriated or committed in writing by a private or State, United States territory, local, or tribal government source.
No prize competition under this section may offer a cash prize purse or a non-cash prize award in an amount greater than $50,000,000 unless 30 days have elapsed after written notice has been transmitted to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology of the House of Representatives.
No prize competition under this section may result in the award of more than $1,000,000 in cash prize purses or non-cash prize awards without the approval of the head of an agency.
Not later than 180 days after
The Federal Government shall not, by virtue of offering a prize competition or providing a cash prize purse or non-cash prize award under this section, be responsible for compliance by registered participants in a prize competition with Federal law, including licensing, export control, and nonproliferation laws, and related regulations.
Nothing in this section affects the prize authority authorized by any other provision of law.
Not later than March 1 of every other year, the Director shall submit to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology of the House of Representatives a report on the activities carried out during the preceding 2 fiscal years under the authority in subsection (b).
A description of the proposed goals of each prize competition.
An analysis of why the utilization of the authority in subsection (b) was the preferable method of achieving the goals described in subparagraph (A) as opposed to other authorities available to the agency, such as contracts, grants, and cooperative agreements.
The total amount of cash prize purses or non-cash prize awards awarded for each prize competition, including a description of amount of private funds contributed to the program, the sources of such funds, and the manner in which the amounts of cash prize purses or non-cash prize awards awarded and claimed were allocated among the accounts of the agency for recording as obligations and expenditures.
The methods used for the solicitation and evaluation of submissions under each prize competition, together with an assessment of the effectiveness of such methods and lessons learned for future prize competitions.
A description of the resources, including personnel and funding, used in the execution of each prize competition together with a detailed description of the activities for which such resources were used and an accounting of how funding for execution was allocated among the accounts of the agency for recording as obligations and expenditures.
A description of how each prize competition advanced the mission of the agency concerned.
A description of crosscutting topical areas and agency-specific mission needs that may be the strongest opportunities for prize competitions during the upcoming 2 fiscal years.