Products & Releases


Developing Prize Competitions to Engage Citizen Scientists in Public and Private Sectors

WASHINGTON – The Department of Homeland Security announced today a partnership with the NASA Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation (CoECI) to develop new technology solutions through publicly crowdsourced prize competitions.  

Crowdsourcing and incentive prizes across industry have led to the successful creation of advanced technologies, such as autonomous vehicles and improved data analytics. The DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is expanding its efforts to solicit innovations like these through its partnership with NASA. 

“This is a different way to do business,” said DHS Under Secretary for Science and Technology Dr. Reginald Brothers. “We are a research and development organization, and constantly need innovative ideas for the solutions to our ever-changing challenges. We’re creating opportunities for everyone from companies to college students to bring their passion to bear in service of national security.”

Driven by the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science (COMPETES) Reauthorization Act of 2010, the DHS S&T prize program inspires the use of ground-breaking approaches and solutions to homeland security research and development by challenging entrepreneurs, innovators, students and others in the private sector to submit solutions in response to well-formed problem statements.  The program also provides an avenue for DHS to reach non-traditional performers, those who do not normally participate in government contracts and announcements.

NASA formed CoeCI to mature the crowdsourcing strategy and also to assist other federal agencies in using crowdsourced challenges to solve tough, mission-critical problems in 2011 at the request of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. S&T’s partnership with NASA’s CoECI will provide access to end-to-end solutions on all aspects of implementing challenge-based prize competitions from problem definition to challenge design and administration.

For more information about DHS S&T’s prize competitions program visit  To find out more about federal agency challenges and competitions check out GSA’s official federal agency challenge website at