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GSA seeks more faculty, college students to participate in government challenges

| GSA Blog Team
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GSA’s Challenge.Gov is sponsoring a crowdsourcing campaign – ReachU Challenge – to attract more people from academia to funding and prize competitions that foster innovation in the federal government. 

The ReachU Challenge is eager to encourage university and college students, researchers, faculty, and staff to participate in federal challenges — where now, just 10 percent of participants come from the academic community. 

The ReachU Challenge is an initiative of Challenge.Gov and CitizenScience.Gov—the federal government’s central hubs for engaging directly with the public to problem solve and innovate through crowdsourcing, citizen science, and prize competitions. 

This particular Challenge wants to promote future challenges by asking the public directly: What are the best digital channels or platforms to reach higher education audiences about federal prize competitions?

With your ideas and feedback, we will expand awareness of competitions and solutions that benefit the American public. And, by broadening the innovation process, we can increase overall public engagement and reduce barriers to participation. 

The ReachU Challenge is just one of many GSA Technology Transformation Services programs and products that focus on transparency, open sharing, accessibility, and an improved customer experience. 

This kind of direct citizen engagement to solve problems isn’t new. In 1792, the design for the U.S. Capitol building was selected via a prize competition. Contests have advanced innovations in autonomous vehicles, navigation at sea, food preservation, trans-Atlantic flight, oil spill clean-up, and much more. 

In 2010, the reauthorization of the America COMPETES Act gave every federal agency authority to conduct prize competitions to incentivize innovation. Since then, over 100 agencies and departments have run more than 1,800 prize competitions and have awarded well over $500 million in prizes. 

Soliciting ideas from the public enhances accessibility and democracy, involving a wider group of citizens by offering opportunities to contribute to the public good. 

Participate now in the ReachU Challenge. Submissions are open until September 8 at 6 PM EST.