White House Promotes Prizes for Open Government

03.11.10 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

Executive branch agencies should “increase the use of prizes and challenges as tools for promoting open government,” the White House Office of Management and Budget said in a memorandum to agency heads (pdf) this week.

“It is Administration policy to strongly encourage agencies to utilize prizes and challenges as tools for advancing open government, innovation, and the agency’s mission,” OMB said.

The memorandum, as promised in the December 2009 White House Open Government Directive (pdf), is intended to provide “a framework for how agencies can use challenges, prizes, and other incentive-backed strategies to find innovative or cost-effective solutions to improving open government.”

The substance of the desired improvements was not spelled out in the latest memo, but the earlier Directive said that “The three principles of transparency, participation, and collaboration form the cornerstone of an open government.”  None of these principles is instinctive or can be taken for granted, and the prize program is an evidently sincere effort to help overcome bureaucratic resistance to greater openness.

“A prize should not be an end in itself, but one means within a broader strategy for spurring private innovation and change,” the new OMB memo said.

See all publications
Nuclear Weapons
New Voices on Nuclear Weapons Fellowship: Creative Perspectives on Rethinking Nuclear Deterrence 

To empower new voices to start their career in nuclear weapons studies, the Federation of American Scientists launched the New Voices on Nuclear Weapons Fellowship. Here’s what our inaugural cohort accomplished.

11.28.23 | 3 min read
read more
Science Policy
Expected Utility Forecasting for Science Funding

Common frameworks for evaluating proposals leave this utility function implicit, often evaluating aspects of risk, uncertainty, and potential value independently and qualitatively.

11.20.23 | 11 min read
read more
Nuclear Weapons
Nuclear Notebook: Nuclear Weapons Sharing, 2023

The FAS Nuclear Notebook is one of the most widely sourced reference materials worldwide for reliable information about the status of nuclear weapons and has been published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists since 1987. The Nuclear Notebook is researched and written by the staff of the Federation of American Scientists’ Nuclear Information Project: Director Hans […]

11.17.23 | 1 min read
read more
Social Innovation
Community School Approach Reaches High of 60%, Reports Latest Pulse Panel

According to the National Center for Education Statistics’ August 2023 pulse panel, 60% of public schools were utilizing a “community school” or “wraparound services model” at the start of this school year—up from 45% last year.

11.17.23 | 4 min read
read more