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Project Information

Project Information

The Role of Inducement Prizes

Project Scope:

An expert committee under the auspices of the Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy (STEP) will assemble and analyze evidence about the role of inducement prizes in the American innovation process. A series of committee meetings and one public workshop will be convened to assist the committee to produce a consensus report that answers the following questions:

1. Are inducement prizes effective, and how can we measure their effectiveness? What are the appropriate metrics for tracking effectiveness of prizes?

2. For biomedical prizes, what is the appropriate metric or metrics of effectiveness for prize competitions? These metrics may include improvements in quality-adjusted life-years or reductions in other federal government expenditures (such as Medicare and Medicaid expenditures).

3. How effective are inducement prizes compared to grants or contracts?

4. What are the benefits of holding prize competitions, and are there benefits beyond the technology that is developed? For example, do prizes help play a role in creating communities of interest? Are there other spillover benefits?

5. How do prizes fit into other federal support for innovation?

6. What are the characteristics of prize winners and competitors, and are the demographics different than for other federal funding mechanisms? Further, as the gig economy grows, are prizes more attractive than other funding?

7. Under what conditions are prizes most effective for the federal government? And how can we measure whether a prize topic is consistent with congressional intent?

In addition to a consensus report with findings and recommendations, a proceedings of the public workshop presentations and discussions may be prepared by a designated rapporteur in accordance with institutional guidelines.

Status: Current


Project Duration (months): 24 month(s)

RSO: Cohen, Gail


Policy for Science and Technology

Geographic Focus:
North America

Committee Membership

Committee Post Date: 01/09/2019

Karim R. Lakhani - (Chair)
Karim R. Lakhani is the Charles Edward Wilson Professor of Business Administration and the Dorothy and Michael Hintze Fellow at the Harvard Business School. Dr. Lakhani is the founder and co-director of the Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard University, the principal investigator of the NASA Tournament Laboratory at the Harvard Institute for Quantitative Social Science, and the faculty co-founder of the Harvard Business School Digital Initiative. His research examines crowd-based innovation models and the digital transformation of companies and industries. Dr. Lakhani is known for his pioneering scholarship on how communities and contests can be designed and managed to achieve innovative outcomes. He has partnered with NASA, Topcoder, and the Harvard Medical School to conduct field experiments on the design of crowd innovation programs. His research on digital transformation has shown the importance of data and analytics as drivers of business and operating model transformation and as sources of competitive advantage. He serves on the Board of Directors of Mozilla Corporation and Local Motors.

Dr. Lakhani received a Ph.D. in management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2006.
Alph Bingham
Alph Bingham is a startup founder, advisor, and consultant. He specializes in portfolio management, systems modeling and design, evolving innovation systems, transition state theory and economics, leadership strategy, innovation, uncertainty and value, and risk management. Dr. Bingham co-founded InnoCentive, Inc., an open innovation and crowdsourcing platform, along with co-founding or incubating other ventures that create the advantages of open and networked organizational structures, including YourEncore, Inc., Coalesix, Inc., Maaguzi, Inc., Indigo Biosystems, Seriosity, Chorus, and Collaborative Drug Discovery, Inc. He has over 28 years of experience with Eli Lilly and Company in pharmaceutical research and development, research acquisitions and collaborations, portfolio management, and R&D strategic planning. Among other things, he served as vice-president of e.Lilly (a unit for business innovation) and vice-president of R&D strategy. He was instrumental in creating and developing Eli Lilly's portfolio management process as well as in establishing the divisions of Research Acquisitions, the Office of Alliance Management, and e.Lilly.

Dr. Bingham received his Ph.D. in chemistry from Stanford University in 1977.
M. Diane Burton
M. Diane Burton is an associate professor of human resource studies at the ILR School of Cornell University. Dr. Burton is an organizational sociologist interested in innovation and entrepreneurship studying how management systems affect firms and individuals. Her primary research is a major study of high-tech start-ups in Silicon Valley including the study of entrepreneurial teams and executive careers. Dr. Burton has also studied R&D teams, leadership in the non-profit sector, and employment practices in law firms. She is affiliated with Cornell’s Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies and has led industry working groups on HR and innovation.

Dr. Burton received a Ph.D. in sociology from Stanford University in 1996.

Anne L. Fayard
Anne-Laure Fayard is associate professor of management in the Department of Technology Management and Innovation and associate professor of Innovation, Design and Organization Studies in the Department of Technology, Culture and Society at the New York University Tandon School of Engineering. She is also an affiliate faculty with the Department of Management and Organizations at the NYU Stern Business School. Her expertise is in sociology and management, specializing in qualitative methods in innovation, technology, and organizational theory. Dr. Fayard’s research interests involve communication including discourse analysis, discursive practices, and technology-mediated communication. She is also interested in collaboration and sociomaterial pratices including the affordances of material artifacts. Dr. Fayard’s work has been published in several leading journals such as Administration Science Quarterly, Organization Science, Harvard Business Review, Organization Studies, the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, and The European Management Journal. Her book, The Power of Writing in Organizations (with Anca Metiu), was published by Routledge in August 2012. She teaches courses in organizational behavior, design thinking, leadership, and qualitative research methods in graduate and executive programs. Dr. Fayard received a Ph.D. in cognitive science from the Ecole de Hautes Etudes en Science Sociales in 1998.
Alberto Galasso
Alberto Galasso is an associate professor of strategic management in the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. He specializes in innovation and technology transfer. Dr. Galasso’s research at the University of Toronto is primarily focused on the determinants of innovative activity, the management of innovation, and the functioning of markets for technology. His recent paper “A theory of grand innovation prizes” (co-authored by Matthew Mitchell and Gabor Virag) appeared in Research Policy in March 2018.

Dr. Galasso received a Ph.D. in economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2007.
Jack Hughes
Jack Hughes is the founder, chairman, and chief executive officer at TopCoder, Inc. His expertise is in entrepreneurship and has specialty in personnel management and computer science. TopCoder’s mission is to create objective ratings to help identify talent in the programming industry, and build opportunity and community for programmers through ongoing programming tournaments and employer connections. Mr. Hughes is also a co-founder of Tallán Inc, a company providing technology and business process consulting. Under his tenure as the chairman at Tallan, the company was recognized for its outstanding performance by Inc. magazine and as one of the fastest-growing technology companies in North America four years in a row by Deloitte & Touche.

Mr. Hughes received a B.S. in computer science from Boston College in 1984.
Hila Lifshitz-Assaf
Hila Lifshitz-Assaf is an assistant professor of information, operations, and management Sciences at the Leonard N. Stern School of Business at New York University. Professor Lifshitz-Assaf’s research focuses on developing an in-depth empirical and theoretical understanding of the micro-foundations of scientific and technological innovation and knowledge creation processes in the digital age. She explores how the ability to innovate is being transformed, as well as the challenges and opportunities that result for R&D organizations, professionals, and their work. She investigates new forms of organizing for the production of scientific and technological innovation such as crowdsourcing, open source, Wikipedia, hackathons, makeathons, and artificial intelligence. She conducted an in-depth three-year longitudinal field study of NASA’s experimentation with open innovation online platforms and communities. This study received the best dissertation Grigor McClelland Award at the European Group for Organizational Studies (EGOS) 2015. Her studies follow a field research approach, deeply engaging with the industry, leading her to receive the Industry Studies Association Frank Giarrantani Rising Star award (2017). Prior to academia, Professor Lifshitz-Assaf worked as a strategy consultant for seven years, specializing in growth and innovation strategy in telecommunications, consumer goods, and finance.

Professor Lifshitz-Assaf received a Doctor of Business Administration in management from Harvard University in 2014.
Fiona Murray
Fiona Murray is the associate dean of innovation at the MIT Sloan School of Management, William Porter Professor of Entrepreneurship, and co-director of MIT’s Innovation Initiative. She is also the faculty director at the Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at MIT. Dr. Murray serves on the British Prime Minister’s Council on Science and Technology and has been awarded for her services to innovation and entrepreneurship in the United Kingdom. Dr. Murray is an international expert on the transformation of investments in scientific and technical innovation into innovation-based entrepreneurship that drives jobs, wealth creation, and regional prosperity. She has a special interest in the commercialization of science from idea to impact and the mechanisms that can be effectively used to link universities with entrepreneurs, large corporations, and philanthropists in that process.

Dr. Murray received a Ph.D. in applied sciences from Harvard University in 1996.
Zoe Szajnfarber
Zoe Szajnfarber is an associate professor of engineering management and systems engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Science at The George Washington University. She also holds a courtesy appointment in Space Policy in the Elliott School of International Affairs, also at GWU, and holds a research appointment in the Institute for Data Systems and Society at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She studies the design and development of complex systems, primarily in the aerospace and defense sectors. Her work is deeply empirical and considers both the organization and technical system architectures to “design-in” an ability to achieve performance goals across extended and highly uncertain operational lifetimes. Recent projects examine the nature and function of scientific and technical expertise in the design process, particularly in the context of open innovation. Dr. Szajnfarber serves as an associate editor for the journal Systems Engineering and is on the executive committee for the International Council of Engineering Systems Universities. Dr. Szajnfarber received a Ph.D. in engineering systems from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2011.

Christian Terwiesch
Christian Terwiesch is the Andrew M. Heller Professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He is a professor in Wharton’s Operations, Information, and Decisions department and co-director of Penn’s Mack Institute for Innovation Management. He also holds a faculty appointment in the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. Professor Terwiesch’s latest book, Innovation Tournaments (published by Harvard Business School Press) has led to innovation tournaments in organizations around the world. In the healthcare space, some of Professor Terwiesch recent projects include the design of patient-centered care processes in the VA hospital system, the impact of emergency room crowding on hospital revenues and the patient experience at Penn Medicine, and the usage of patient portals and remote patient monitoring.

Dr. Terwiesch received a Ph.D. in management from INSEAD in 1997.
Norman Whitaker
Norman Whitaker is a Microsoft Distinguished Scientist and managing director of Microsoft Research Special Projects. As managing director of Microsoft Research Special Projects, he provides a structure for projects with focused objectives aimed at altering and expanding what people imagine is possible with technology. Previously, Dr. Whitaker served as deputy director of the Information Innovation Office at DARPA. Dr.Whitaker also served as deputy director of the Transformational Convergence Technology Office, as special assistant to the DARPA director, and as program manager for the DARPA Urban Challenge autonomous-vehicle program. He also was centrally involved in planning DARPA’s 2005 Grand Challenge. Before his work at DARPA, Dr.Whitaker was CEO of the Escher Research Institute (which he co-founded in 2003), CTO of Puritan Research, and a program manager at DARPA. From 1986 to 1997, he was on the research staff at AT&T Bell Laboratories. He is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Dr.Whitaker received a Ph.D. in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1986.
Brian Wright
Brian Wright is a professor of agricultural economics at the University of California, Berkeley. He is also the director of the University of California’s Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics and an economist with the Agricultural Experiment Station. Dr. Wright’s research interests include economics of markets for storable commodities; market stabilization; agricultural policy; industrial organization; public finance; invention incentives; intellectual property rights including the comparison of patents, prizes, and research contracts as research incentives; intellectual property licensing; and the economics of conservation and innovation of genetic resources. He has co-authored or co-edited several books, including Storage and Commodity Markets; Reforming Agricultural Commodity Policy; Saving Seeds: The Economics of Conserving Genetic Resources at the CGIAR Centers; and Accessing Biodiversity and Sharing the Benefits: Lessons from Implementing the Convention on Biodiversity.

From 2004 to 2005, Dr. Wright served on the National Academies’ Committee on Intellectual Property Rights in Genomic and Protein Research and Innovation.

Dr. Wright received a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University in 1976.
Gail Cohen - (Staff Officer)

Committee Membership Roster Comments

Please note that there has been a change in the committee membership with the appointment of Dr. Anne-Laure Fayard.

Comment on Provisional Committee Appointments

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Please note that the appointments made to this committee are provisional, and changes may be made. No appointment shall be considered final until we have evaluated relevant information bearing on the committee's composition and balance. This information will include the confidential written disclosures to The National Academies by each member-designate concerning potential sources of bias and conflict of interest pertaining to his or her service on the committee; information from discussion of the committee's composition and balance that is conducted in closed session at its first event and again whenever its membership changes; and any public comments that we have received on the membership during the 20-calendar day formal public comment period. If additional members are appointed to this committee, an additional 20-calendar day formal public comment period will be allowed. It is through this process that we determine whether the committee contains the requisite expertise to address its task and whether the points of views of individual members are adequately balanced such that the committee as a whole can address its charge objectively.

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Keck Center
500 5th St NW, Washington, DC 20001
Event Type :  

Description :   

1st Meeting of the Committee on The Role of Inducement Prizes.

Registration for Online Attendance :   

Registration for in Person Attendance :   

If you would like to attend the sessions of this event that are open to the public or need more information please contact

Contact Name:  Fred Lestina
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Contact Phone:  (202) 334-3286

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