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Using Challenges to Find Solutions

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What is a Challenge Competition?

A challenge competition poses a problem or question to the public and requests a practical solution; rewards are offered for solutions that meet the criteria set out by the sponsoring agency. Challenges can serve as an alternative to the traditional grant-making process and a means to advance the cutting edge of research.

Why Use Challenges?

When used effectively, challenges can save an agency money (an agency pays only for successful solutions) and might produce solutions to problems that have proven difficult to solve through other means. Like other means of supporting research, they have the potential to advance the state of knowledge and technology or streamline the delivery of market-ready solutions.

Challenges at NIJ

Before posting a challenge, NIJ addresses several key issues to ensure that a challenge is the right vehicle to support a research and development effort. These include clearly defining the problem or research question to be addressed, identifying the target audience of potential participants, defining the criteria and processes for judging and selecting challenge winners, and anticipating any intellectual property concerns.

NIJ has issued a number of challenges. Select a title below to learn more.

 Current Challenges

NIJ has no open challenges at this time.

Visit Challenge.gov to see a full list of available Challenges from across the government.

Passed Challenges

Date Published: June 1, 2023