American-Made Challenges

The American-Made Challenges are a series of prize competitions designed to accelerate and sustain American innovation through a diverse and powerful support network that leverages national laboratories, energy incubators, and other resources from a…
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The American-Made Challenges are a series of prize competitions, in partnership with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), that are designed to incentivize the nation's entrepreneurs to reenergize innovation and reassert American leadership in the energy marketplace.


These new challenges seek to lower the barriers U.S.-based innovators face by accelerating the cycles of learning from years to weeks, while helping to create partnerships that connect entrepreneurs to the private sector and the network of DOE's National Laboratories across the nation.


The American-Made Challenges brings together the world's best-in-class research base with an unparalleled entrepreneurial support system consisting of pioneering fabrication facilities, a broad network of energy incubators, and 17 national laboratories to create a sweeping portfolio of innovations primed for private investment and commercial scale up.


Why a prize model?

These challenges will support the Administration’s work to spur manufacturing, develop innovative solutions and products, and create new domestic jobs and opportunities through public-private partnerships. It will demonstrate a new way government can foster R&D to empower manufacturing and reassert national leadership in the marketplace.


The prize and challenge model will help to disrupt traditional thinking in this sector, and introduce, expand, and evolve what’s possible. They can enable Federal agencies to:


Who’s behind the prize?

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is the Prize Administrator for the American Made Challenges. In this capacity NREL works closely with the U.S. Department of Energy to administer the challenges, maintain the website platform, assist in building the network, and pay prize money to the winning teams.


NREL, along with 16 other national laboratories, will be serving as key technical partners who will work directly with teams to validate, build, and test products and solutions. The American Made Challenges Network consists of these national labs as well as other fabrication and manufacturing facilities that are willing to help teams turn ideas into real-world product solutions.


The DOE can leverage Secretary Perry’s authorization of Agreements for Commercializing Technology (ACT) for national laboratories (announced on November 13, 2017) which enables flexible and facile financial arrangements between industry and national labs.


What can you do right now?

Start a conversation in our forum to engage with the community, ask questions, or connect with other innovators.

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Make innovation easy, fast, and agile. Rapid innovation cycles will help boost competitiveness and accelerate the transition of inventions to industry.

Prizes and challenges is that it makes it easy for anyone to participate bringing people together from private sector and government to leverage resources.

Foster interdisciplinary collaboration and perspectives, reflective of the modern research environment.

Reach beyond the usual stakeholders to increase the number of perspectives working to develop solutions for a specific problem.

Establish ambitious goals without having to predict which team or approach is most likely to succeed.

Inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs to solve difficult and important problems.

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