42 U.S. Code § 16396 - Prizes for achievement in grand challenges of science and technology
The Secretary may carry out a program to award cash prizes in recognition of breakthrough achievements in research, development, demonstration, and commercial application that have the potential for application to the performance of the mission of the Department.
The program under subsection (a) may include prizes for the achievement of goals articulated by the Secretary in a specific area through a widely advertised solicitation of submission of results for research, development, demonstration, or commercial application projects.
The Secretary, in cooperation with the Freedom Prize Foundation, shall support a program of awarding prizes, to be known as Freedom Prizes, to encourage and recognize the development and deployment of processes and technologies that serve to reduce the dependence of the United States on imported oil.
The program under subsection (a) may be carried out in conjunction with or in addition to the exercise of any other authority of the Secretary to acquire, support, or stimulate research, development, demonstration, or commercial application projects.
As part of the program under this section, the Secretary shall carry out a program to competitively award cash prizes in conformity with this subsection to advance the research, development, demonstration, and commercial application of hydrogen energy technologies.
The Secretary shall widely advertise prize competitions under this subsection to encourage broad participation, including by individuals, universities (including historically Black colleges and universities and other minority serving institutions), and large and small businesses (including businesses owned or controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged persons).
The Secretary shall announce each prize competition under this subsection by publishing a notice in the Federal Register. This notice shall include essential elements of the competition such as 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 prize, and the criteria for awarding the prize.
Prizes under this subsection shall consist of Federal appropriated funds and any funds provided by the administering entity (including funds raised pursuant to subparagraph (C)(ii)) for such cash prize programs. The Secretary may accept funds from other Federal agencies for such cash prizes and, notwithstanding section 3302(b) of title 31, may use such funds for the cash prize program under this subsection. Other than publication of the names of prize sponsors, the Secretary may not give any special consideration to any private sector entity or individual in return for a donation to the Secretary or administering entity.
To the extent permitted under paragraph (1)(E), the prizes authorized under subparagraph (A)(i) shall be awarded biennially to the most significant advance made in each of the four subcategories described in subclauses (I) through (IV) of subparagraph (A)(i) since the submission deadline of the previous prize competition in the same category under subparagraph (A)(i) or December 19, 2007, whichever is later, unless no such advance is significant enough to merit an award. No one such prize may exceed $1,000,000. If less than $4,000,000 is available for a prize competition under subparagraph (A)(i), the Secretary may omit one or more subcategories, reduce the amount of the prizes, or not hold a prize competition.
To the extent permitted under paragraph (1)(E), prizes authorized under subparagraph (A)(ii) shall be awarded biennially in alternate years from the prizes authorized under subparagraph (A)(i). The Secretary is authorized to award up to one prize in this category in each 2-year period. No such prize may exceed $4,000,000. If no registered participants meet the objective performance criteria established pursuant to subparagraph (C) for a competition under this clause, the Secretary shall not award a prize.
To the extent permitted under paragraph (1)(E), the Secretary shall announce one prize competition authorized under subparagraph (A)(iii) as soon after December 19, 2007, as is practicable. A prize offered under this clause shall be not less than $10,000,000, paid to the winner in a lump sum, and an additional amount paid to the winner as a match for each dollar of private funding raised by the winner for the hydrogen technology beginning on the date the winner was named. The match shall be provided for 3 years after the date the prize winner is named or until the full amount of the prize has been paid out, whichever occurs first. A prize winner may elect to have the match amount paid to another entity that is continuing the development of the winning technology. The Secretary shall announce the rules for receiving the match in the notice required by paragraph (1)(B)(ii). The Secretary shall award a prize under this clause only when a registered participant has met the objective criteria established for the prize pursuant to subparagraph (C) and announced pursuant to paragraph (1)(B)(ii). Not more than $10,000,000 in Federal funds may be used for the prize award under this clause. The administering entity shall seek to raise $40,000,000 toward the matching award under this clause.
The Federal Government shall not, by virtue of offering or awarding a prize under this subsection, be entitled to any intellectual property rights derived as a consequence of, or direct relation to, the participation by a registered participant in a competition authorized by this subsection. This paragraph shall not be construed to prevent the Federal Government from negotiating a license for the use of intellectual property developed for a prize competition under this subsection.
The Secretary may require registered 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 the registered participants’ participation in a competition under this subsection. The Secretary shall give notice of any waiver required under this subparagraph in the notice required by paragraph (1)(B)(ii). The Secretary may not require a registered participant to waive claims against the administering entity arising out of the unauthorized use or disclosure by the administering entity of the registered participant’s trade secrets or confidential business information.
The Federal Government shall be named as an additional insured under a registered participant’s insurance policy required under clause (i)(I), and registered participants shall be required to agree to indemnify the Federal Government against third party claims for damages arising from or related to competition activities under this subsection.
Funds appropriated for prize awards under this subsection shall remain available until expended, and may be transferred, reprogrammed, or expended for other purposes only after the expiration of 10 fiscal years after the fiscal year for which the funds were originally appropriated. No provision in this subsection permits obligation or payment of funds in violation of section 1341 of title 31 (commonly referred to as the Anti-Deficiency Act).
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