Showcase your inclusive R&D innovation ecosystem and design for the future.
The Lab-to-Market (L2M) subcommittee of the National Science and Technology Council’s Committee on the Science and Technology Enterprise is launching a $325,000 prize competition to highlight successful examples of innovation ecosystems, particularly existing resources that support underrepresented communities or remarkable responses to the pandemic environment. The prize competition will also recognize the most impactful ideas for using prize funds to develop strong connections and support within the research and development (R&D) innovation ecosystem.
The R&D innovation ecosystem describes the complex community of participants and resources needed to develop and commercialize technology. This ecosystem includes the people (students, faculty, industry researchers, investors, et al) that make up the institutional entities (universities, businesses, funding agencies, venture capital firms, state and local economic development organizations, entrepreneur support organizations, etc.), material resources (funding, equipment, facilities, etc.), and the relationships among these interconnected actors. These ecosystems may operate at different geographic levels (e.g. city, regional, national) and within multiple sectors (e.g. health, energy, agriculture).
Entrepreneurs may lack knowledge about available ecosystem resources or have difficulty navigating and finding them, posing significant barriers to entry, and keeping the best minds and ideas from reaching their full potential. Additionally, resources and capital are not reaching all Americans evenly, and the economic impacts of COVID-19 could increase this inequality.
Connectivity and coordination across R&D innovation ecosystems is even more critical today to support recovery from potential COVID-19 impacts on high growth startups.
Ensuring that access to resources and capital are available to all Americans is essential in creating a robust and dynamic workforce with inclusive growth, and ensuring the benefits of entrepreneurship accrue across the nation.
The goals of this competition are:
- to highlight successful examples of R&D innovation ecosystems, particularly those that include underrepresented communities;
- to surface the most innovative practices or solutions to mitigate secondary impacts of COVID-19 on high growth startups; and
- to enhance the connection and integration of Federal resources that support innovation ecosystems.
Total Cash Prize Pool
- “Super Connector” – Prizes of $10,000 for current efforts successfully including networks of underrepresented communities in the R&D innovation ecosystem.
- “Ecosystem Responder” – Prizes of $10,000 for timely and effective responses to the pandemic environment.
- “Visionary” – Prizes of $25,000 for the most creative and actionable ideas that build an inclusive R&D innovation ecosystem.