IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
May 11, 2007
Mr. Pryor introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
To establish a program to award innovation prizes to individuals and entities for researching and developing innovative technologies, and for other purposes.
This Act may be cited as the
Reward Innovation in America
In this Act:
The term administering entity means an entity with which the Secretary enters into an agreement under section 4(e).
The term competition means a competition for an innovation prize under the program described in section 4(a).
The term innovation prize means a prize awarded to a participant who wins a competition.
The term participant means an individual or entity that participates in a competition.
The term Secretary means the Secretary of Commerce.
National Innovation Prizes Board
is established in the Department of Commerce a National Innovation Prizes Board
(referred to in this Act as the
The purposes of the Board are as follows:
To develop and administer the program described in section 4(a).
To select the research topics for competitions.
To establish the rules of the competitions and the criteria for winning innovation prizes.
To determine the amount of the innovation prize for each competition.
To certify the winners of the competitions.
To determine the annual funding requirement for each competition.
Number of members
The Secretary shall determine the number of members of the Board.
The Secretary, or a designee of the Secretary, shall serve as Chair of the Board.
From Federal agencies
The Secretary may appoint the heads of Federal agencies to serve as full members of the Board on a permanent basis.
The Secretary may appoint to the Board individuals who are not officers or employees of the Federal Government and who have national reputations in the private sector, policy sector, or academic institutions.
Except as provided in subparagraph (B), a member of the Board shall serve for a term of 3 years.
The initial terms of members described in paragraph (3)(B) shall be staggered.
A member of the Board described in paragraph (3)(B) appointed to fill a vacancy occurring other than by the expiration of a term shall be appointed for the remainder of the term of the former member.
Except as provided in paragraph (7), a member described in paragraph (3)(B) shall not be deemed to be an officer or employee of the United States for purposes of the laws or regulations of the United States.
A member described in paragraph (3)(B) shall be allowed travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, at rates authorized for employees of the Federal Government under subchapter I of chapter 57 of title 5, United States Code.
Innovation prizes program
The program described in this subsection means a program of competitions to award innovation prizes to eligible individuals and entities to advance the research, development, and commercial application of innovative technologies.
Eligible individuals and entities
The term eligible individual or entity includes an individual, university, or small or large business that complies with the requirements of paragraph (2).
An eligible individual or entity—
shall have complied with such eligibility requirements for participation in a competition as the Board may establish and publish in the Federal Register under subsection (d)(2);
in the case of a private entity, shall be incorporated in and maintain a primary place of business in the United States;
in the case of an individual, whether participating in the program singly or in a group, shall be a citizen of, or an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence in, the United States; and
may not be—
a Federal entity, such as a federally funded research and development center or a government-owned, contractor-operated laboratory;
a Federal employee acting within the scope of employment; or
an employee of a national laboratory acting within the scope of employment.
Consultation with Federal employees
An individual or entity shall not be deemed ineligible under this subsection because such individual or entity used Federal facilities or consulted with Federal employees during a competition if such facilities and employees are made available to all individuals and entities participating in the competition on an equitable basis.
Development of program
Not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall prepare and submit to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Science and Technology of the House of Representatives a plan for implementing the program described in subsection (a) that includes—
a description of how the research topics for competitions and the criteria for awarding the innovation prizes will be determined;
the terms and conditions of the competitions;
the time frame for the award of innovation prizes; and
a description of the plans of the Secretary to partner with nonprofit organizations or Federal agencies to sponsor competitions or to outsource administration of competitions to nonprofit organizations under subsection (e).
In developing the plan under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall include the following requirements:
There shall be 2 categories of innovation prizes as follows:
21st century innovation prizes
21st Century Innovation Prizes shall be awarded in multiple competitions in different research areas. The amount of each 21st Century Innovation Prize award may not exceed $2,000,000.
Innovate America grand challenge prizes
Innovate America Grand Challenge Prizes shall be awarded in large, highly complex, and expensive competitions that—
are held every 2 to 4 years; and
address research objectives well beyond the current state of the art and that are intended to become integral to major changes in complex socio-technological systems.
Amount of award
The amount of each Innovate America Grand Challenge Prize award shall be $5,000,000 or more, but not more than $30,000,000.
The Board shall determine the amount of each innovation prize for each competition and may elect to award only a first place prize or to award first, second, and third place prizes.
Advertising and notice to participants
The Board shall advertise each competition widely to encourage broad participation in each competition, including by individuals, universities (including historically Black colleges and universities and other institutions serving minorities), and large and small businesses (including businesses owned or controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged persons).
Federal Register notice
The Board shall announce each competition by publishing in the Federal Register a notice that includes the subject of the competition, the duration of the competition, the eligibility requirements for participation in the competition, the process for participants to register for the competition, the amount of the innovation prize, and the criteria for awarding the innovation prize.
The Board may enter into an agreement with a private, nonprofit organization to administer competitions. The duties of the administering entity under the agreement shall include—
advertising competitions and the results of competitions;
raising funds from private entities and individuals to pay for administrative costs of competitions and to contribute to cash innovation prizes;
working with the Board to develop the criteria for selecting winners in competitions, based on goals provided by the Secretary;
determining, in consultation with the Board, the appropriate amount of each innovation prize to be awarded;
selecting judges for competitions using criteria developed in consultation with the Board; and
preventing the unauthorized use or disclosure of the intellectual property, trade secrets, and confidential business information of participants.
Innovation prizes awarded under the program described in subsection (a) shall consist of—
funds authorized to be appropriated under section 6; and
any funds raised by the administering entity under subsection (e)(2).
The Secretary may accept funds from other Federal agencies for innovation prizes.
Funding from other entities
The Board is authorized to enter into agreements with other entities, including corporations, nonprofit organizations, and other government agencies, to offer joint innovation prizes if—
the joint innovation prize supports the purposes of this Act;
the entity offering additional funds agrees to deposit the funds into a designated escrow account; and
the Board retains full authority over the competition and the awarding of the cash innovation prizes.
Prohibition on special consideration in return for donations
The Secretary may not give any special consideration to any private sector entity or individual in return for a donation to the administering entity to fund a competition.
Announcement of innovation prizes contingent on funding
The Secretary may not publish the notice in the Federal Register required by subsection (d)(2) until all the funds necessary to pay the innovation prize have been appropriated or committed in writing.
Increases in amount of innovation prize
The Secretary may increase the amount of an innovation prize after an initial announcement is made under subsection (d)(2) if—
notice of the increase is published in the Federal Register; and
the funds needed to pay the amount of the increase have been appropriated or committed in writing.
Waiver of liability
The Secretary may require participants to waive claims against the Federal Government and the administering entity (except claims for willful misconduct) for any injury, death, damage, or loss of property, revenue, or profits arising from participation in a competition.
The Secretary shall give notice of any waiver required under subparagraph (A) in the notice published in the Federal Register under subsection (d)(2).
The Secretary may not require a participant to waive claims against the administering entity arising out of the unauthorized use or disclosure by the administering entity of the intellectual property, trade secrets, or confidential business information of the participant.
A participant shall be required to obtain liability insurance or demonstrate financial responsibility, in amounts determined by the Secretary, for claims by—
a third party for death, bodily injury, or property damage or loss resulting from an activity carried out in connection with participation in a competition; and
the Federal Government for damage or loss to Government property resulting from participation in a competition.
Federal government insured
The Federal Government shall be named as an additional insured under an insurance policy required under subparagraph (A). A registered participant shall be required to agree to indemnify the Federal Government against third party claims for damages arising from or related to participation in a competition.
Prohibition on the Government acquiring intellectual property rights
The Federal Government may not gain an interest in intellectual property developed by a participant for a competition.
The Federal Government may negotiate a license for the use of intellectual property developed by a participant for a competition.
Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act, and annually thereafter, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Science and Technology of the House of Representatives a report describing the activities of the program described in section 4(a), including—
a description of the methods used to select the research topics of competitions and the amounts of the innovation prizes;
a discussion of the features of competitions that contribute to the success or lack of success of the competitions;
the number of participants involved in the competitions;
the amount of private funds contributed to the program and the sources of such funds;
the effect of the program on public awareness of innovation; and
the effect of the program on the public image of the Department of Commerce.
Authorization of appropriations
There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary to carry out the provisions of this Act—
for each of fiscal years 2008 through 2012, $5,000,000 for awards described in section 4(c)(2)(A)(i); and
for fiscal year 2008, $30,000,000 for awards described in section 4(c)(2)(A)(ii).
In addition to the amounts authorized to be appropriated under paragraph (1), there are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary for each of fiscal years 2008 through 2012 $750,000 for the administrative costs of carrying out this Act.
Carryover of funds
Funds appropriated to carry out the provisions of this Act shall remain available until expended.