Small Business Administration (SBA)
National Science and Technology Council Lab-to-Market Subcommittee
Due date
October 14, 2020
Project funding
Super Connector Prizes $10,000, Ecosystem Responder Prizes $10,000, Visionary Prizes of $25,000
Program funding
Funding size
Below $1M

Lab-to-Market Inclusive Innovation Ecosystem Prize Competition

RFP Summary provided by the agency

Inclusive R&D innovation ecosystem and design for the future

The Lab-to-Market (L2M) subcommittee of the National Science and Technology Council’s Committee on the Science and Technology Enterprise is launching a $325,000 prize competition to highlight successful examples of innovation ecosystems, particularly existing resources that support underrepresented communities or remarkable responses to the pandemic environment. The prize competition will also recognize the most impactful ideas for using prize funds to develop strong connections and support within the research and development (R&D) innovation ecosystem.

The R&D innovation ecosystem describes the complex community of participants and resources needed to develop and commercialize technology. This ecosystem includes the people (students, faculty, industry researchers, investors, et al) that make up the institutional entities (universities, businesses, funding agencies, venture capital firms, state and local economic development organizations, entrepreneur support organizations, etc.), material resources (funding, equipment, facilities, etc.), and the relationships among these interconnected actors. These ecosystems may operate at different geographic levels (e.g. city, regional, national) and within multiple sectors (e.g. health, energy, agriculture).

Prize Breakdown

  • “Super Connector” – Prizes of $10,000 for current efforts successfully including networks of underrepresented communities in the R&D innovation ecosystem.
  • “Ecosystem Responder” – Prizes of $10,000 for timely and effective responses to the pandemic environment.
  • “Visionary” – Prizes of $25,000 for the most creative and actionable ideas that build an inclusive R&D innovation ecosystem.

What is the mission and focus of the program: research, social, economic or others?

The goals of this competition are:

  1. to highlight successful examples of R&D innovation ecosystems, particularly those that include underrepresented communities;
  2. to surface the most innovative practices or solutions to mitigate secondary impacts of COVID-19 on high growth startups; and
  3. to enhance the connection and integration of Federal resources that support innovation ecosystems.

How do you submit to this opportunity?

The following items constitute the submissions package and must be uploaded at the submission platform at is external).There is no cost to submit.

  • Submission Summary Slides (not public)
  • 90-second video (to be made public)
  • Letters of Commitment or Support (optional)

Download the Submission Package Guide (PDF) and the Submission Package Template (PPT).

The Official Rules, Terms, and Conditions can be found here:

Submissions from the same applicant to multiple categories may be accepted, however, applicants are limited to receiving one prize award from this competition.

Who are the target applicants: cities, universities, companies, small business, nonprofits, or others?

  • The competition is open to:
    • Private entities (for-profits and non-profits), non-federal government entities such as states, counties, tribes, and municipalities, academic institutions, and individuals subject to the following requirements:
    • Private entities must be incorporated in and maintain a primary place of business in the United States with majority domestic ownership and control.
    • Academic institutions must be based in the United States.
    • An individual prize Competitor (who is not competing as a member of a group) must be a United States citizen or a permanent resident and be 18 years old at time of submission.
    • A group of individuals competing as one team may win, provided they meet the eligibility requirements for individual competitors.

    The competition is not open to:

    • Federal employees and contractors acting within the scope of their employment.
    • Entities and individuals publicly banned from doing business with the U.S. government such as entities and individuals debarred, suspended, or otherwise excluded from or ineligible for participating in Federal programs.

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