Agencies sponsor $12M IT innovation contest

NIH and NSF also backing "i6 Challenge"

The Obama administration is preparing to award $12 million in its “i6 Challenge” innovation competition administered by the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration, National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation.

Entrepreneurs, vendors, individuals, universities and organizations are being encouraged to form six teams to compete for a chance to win $1 million each by presenting the most innovative ideas, according to a May 3 news release. The agencies have scheduled a May 17 conference call to further publicize the contest.

NIH and NSF will award a total of up to $6 million in additional funding to NIH or NSF Small Business Innovation Research grantees associated with winning teams.

The i6 Challenge is looking for innovations that support job expansion and business expansion. They include projects in clean energy; green technologies; sustainable manufacturing; information technology infrastructure; automotive industry restructuring; natural disaster mitigation and resiliency; access to capital, and science, health care and alternative fuel technologies.

"This initiative promotes the priorities of the Obama administration by driving innovation and entrepreneurship, and cultivating strong public-private partnerships,” Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said in a statement. “The i6 Challenge is an exciting opportunity to highlight some of the nation’s best minds that are helping to move ideas from the lab into the marketplace."

The six teams must demonstrate matching share commitments of $500,000 each in cash or non-cash contributions. The deadline for applications is July 15.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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