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DHS Prize Competitions

Prize competitions are a way to crowdsource and engage citizen inventors directly to find interesting ideas or solutions to some of the toughest homeland security challenges. In fact, the government has used prize competitions for hundreds of years. The White House and U.S. Capitol designs were results of prize competitions.

Clean Power for Hours Prize Challenge April 2023 - February 2024 S&T Seal

New Prize Competition: Clean Power for Hours Challenge!

In honor of Earth Day 2023, we announced a second prize competition on national climate resilience. The Clean Power for Hours Challenge is part of a DHS effort to implement a proactive approach to climate change adaptation and resilience. The Challenge is designed to find innovative solutions that can help facility providers of essential services to keep operating during a power outage. View press release.  

For full rules and to enter the Clean Power for Hours Challenge visit Challenge.gov.

Key Dates and Prizes

Opening date for submissions: Friday, April 21, 2023 - 03:00 PM ET

Closing date for submissions: Tuesday, August 8, 2023 - 08:00 PM ET

The total cash prize pool is $850,000. The Challenge is open to individuals who are over the age of 18 and are U.S. citizens, permanent legal residents, and businesses incorporated in the United States.

The Challenge will take place in two stages. In the first stage, up to 15 finalists will win $10,000 and advance to the second stage. The Finalists will be announced in August 2023 and automatically proceed to the second stage.

In the second stage, finalists will compete with their advanced solution for:

  • Grand Prize Winner: $400,000
  • Runner-up Winner: $200,000
  • Honorable Mentions: $50,000 (up to 2)

Prize Winners will be announced in February 2024. (All dates are subject to change.)


We are looking for innovative back-up power solutions that will help critical facilities continue to operate during electrical outages. Winning solutions will be affordable, easy-to-use, and environmentally friendly power sources that can provide on-site power generation for critical facilities that provide essential services to communities across the United States. This Challenge is seeking to identify and catalyze existing cutting-edge technologies with a Technical Readiness Level (TRL) of 6 or higher that can be used to continue essential facility operations in an event of a power failure or disruption lasting more than 36 hours. 

This is particularly important to National Critical Functions (NCFs) that support essential community lifelines services (such as emergency services, urgent healthcare, and food/water).

How to Apply

You must apply by submitting your solution on Challenge.gov

Find more information, follow, and ask questions about the Clean Power for Hours Challenge at Challenge.gov

White House Releases Federal Prize and Citizen Science Authority Report

Front Picture of Report with Presidential Seal: Executive Office of the President of the United States | Implementation of Federal Prize and Citizen science Authority: Fiscal Years 2019-20 | A Report by the Office of Science & Technology Policy | In Response to the Requirements of the American COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 and the Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science Act March 2022

Recently, the White House Office of Science and Technology released the Implementation of Federal Prize and Citizen Science Authority for Fiscal Years 2019-20 report. This biennial report to Congress details recent federal efforts to stimulate innovation and partnership and expand the American public’s participation in prize competitions and citizen science. Many exciting examples of prizes, challenges, crowdsourcing and citizen science projects are highlighted in the report. Find out how to access the report and learn more!

In celebration of Earth Day 2022, we’ve announced the 13 finalists in the Cooling Solutions Challenge. Each finalist received $5,000, and advanced to winning round for further consideration by the judges. The finalists were:

  • CalidGear: Wearable Thermoregulatory Device (Tayyaba Ali, Wilmette, IL)
  • Aspirator Assisted Cooling (Roland Bruyns, Madison, AL)
  • Improved Cooling Textiles for Clothing, Solar Shades, and Temporary Structures (Don Chernoff, Small World Sciences LLC, Morrisville, NC)
  • High-Efficiency Portable AC for Preventing Heat-Related Stress (Sorin Grama, CEO, Transaera Inc., Somerville, MA)
  • Radiative Cooling of Structures (Hal Greenberger, Better Stuff LLC, Natick, MA)
  • The Evaporation Enhancer (Team: SNJ, Corona, CA)
  • Hybrid Cooling Wrap (Team: Young Ko, Evelyn N. Wang, and Jeffrey C. Grossman, Cambridge, MA)
  • Continuous Bending-Mode Elastocaloric Cooling Loop (Barrow Green, LLC, Bethesda, MD)
  • Ultra-Efficient Air Conditioning via Liquid Desiccant Dehumidification and Evaporative Cooling (Jacob Miller, CTO, Zephyr Innovations, Inc., Somerville, MA)
  • TAC Jacket Cooling Solutions (Nanohmics, Inc., Austin, TX)
  • Fuel-Flexible Ultra-Efficient Air Conditioning System for Improved Resilience (Micro Nano Technologies, Gainesville, FL)
  • Wearable Air Conditioner Providing a Heat Solution for Today and Tomorrow (MiClimate, Phoenix, AZ)
  • Ultra-White Radiative Cooling Paints for Mitigating Extreme Heat for Households (Xiulin Ruan, West Lafayette, IN)

For details on past prizes visit the Past Prize Challenges page!

Visit Challenge.gov to learn more about all open challenges across the Federal Government.

For questions on the Department of Homeland Security’s Prize Competitions, contact the team at PrizeAuthority@hq.dhs.gov.

Last Updated: 05/23/2023
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