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Official Rules

This Competition Closed 20 November 2020. Thank you to all participants.

With the goal of finding executable ideas that will make it easier for organizations to meet the requirements for reporting their inventions that were federally funded, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Technology Partnerships Office is conducting the Partners Engaged in Extramural Reporting (PEER) competition.

Does your organization receive federal funding to conduct research and development (R&D)? If so, your organization is responsible for letting the Government know about inventions that come from federally funded R&D.  In exchange for proper reporting to the Government, your organization gets the right to retain the title to the invention and the chance to realize the commercial opportunity from a patented invention. Hundreds of innovations that have secured our nation and enriched our economy have been made possible because of the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980, including the retention of rights to the invention by the funding recipient in exchange for reporting.

The Government needs to have the information on the outcomes of research spending to provide an accurate accounting of R&D programs and outcomes back to the taxpayers. There are some indications that, unfortunately, there is a significant amount of under reporting of inventions by recipients of R&D funding. With more accurate data, the Government can improve its planning and advance the Nation’s innovation pathways!

That’s where you come in. We need your insights and ideas. What are the major obstacles that get in the way of reporting to the Government on federally funded inventions? Do you have ideas that can be enacted by funding agencies to incentivize organizations to report their federally funded inventions?

This competition is open to all; however, not all participants are eligible to win cash prizes. If you have an idea, please enter the competition. You don’t have to be a sponsored research professional or federal R&D laws and regulations expert to compete. If you can help the Federal Government clear the way for greater compliance with reporting requirements, we need your participation.

Dates of the Competition

Competition Opening Date: October 28th, 2020

Accepting Submissions Through: November 20th, 2020

Expert Preliminary Review Through: November 27th, 2020            

Judging Round Through: December 11th, 2020                               

Announcement of Cash Prize Winners: Mid-December 2020 event website

The Official Rules are posted at the Event Website.


  • 1st place - $6,000
  • 2nd place - $3,000
  • 3rd place - $1,000

Up to three winners will be selected. The Prize Purse for the PEER Prize Competition is a total of $10,000. The number of winners will be fewer than three if there are fewer than three Participants that qualify for the competition and are eligible to win a prize. The Prize Purse may increase but will not decrease. Any increases in the Prize Purse will be posted. NIST reserves the right to announce additional winners of non-cash prizes.

Winning submissions will be published publicly.


Participation in the PEER Prize Competition is open to ALL; however, not all participants are eligible to win cash prizes.

To be eligible for a cash prize:

  • A Competition Participant (whether an individual, team, or legal entity) must comply with all of the requirements under section 3719 of title 15, United States Code as contained therein.
  • At the time of entry, the Official Representative (individual or team lead, in the case of a group project) must be age 18 or older and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the United States or its territories.
  • In the case of a private entity, the business shall be incorporated in and maintain a primary place of business in the United States or its territories.
  • Competition Participants may not be a Federal entity or Federal employee acting within the scope of their employment. NIST employees are not eligible to participate. Non-NIST Federal employees acting in their personal capacities should consult with their respective agency ethics officials to determine whether their participation in this Competition is permissible.
  • A Competition Participant shall not be deemed ineligible because the Competition Participant consulted with Federal employees or used Federal facilities in preparing its submission to the PEER Prize Competition if the Federal employees and facilities are made available to all Participants on an equitable basis.

Multiple entries are permitted.  Each entry will be reviewed independently.  Multiple individuals and/or legal entities may collaborate as a group to submit a single entry and a single individual from the group must be designated as an Official Representative for each entry. That designated individual will be responsible for meeting all entry and evaluation requirements. Participation is subject to all U.S. federal, state and local laws and regulations.  Individuals entering on behalf of or representing a company, institution or other legal entity are responsible for confirming that their entry does not violate any policies of that company, institution or legal entity.


Submissions should:

  1. Contain an introductory written section summarizing the submission and how it meets the judging criteria;
  2. Introduce solution or solutions that are implementable to incentivize recipients of federal R&D funds to comply with Bayh-Dole reporting requirements,
  3. Indicate how the solution(s) will measurably increase Bayh-Dole reporting and propose methods for measuring the impact of the proposed solution(s).

Submissions may include, but are not limited, to any one or combination of the following: research papers, essays, promotional material, slideshows, music, videos, mobile or web apps, and other multimedia projects. Concepts or prototypes are encouraged.

Eligible formats must be in commonly accessible forms such as

  • Word
  • PDF 
  • PowerPoint
  • Excel
  • Movie (.mov file)
  • Audio (.mp3 file)

Multimedia submissions may also be submitted by providing a link to an online platform (YouTube, Vimeo, google play store, website, etc.) as part of your submission if the content is made freely accessible to NIST for evaluation and judging.

Submissions should convey a clear understanding of the problem and how the solution(s) will measurably increase Bayh-Dole reporting compliance. Participants should also take into account the cost-benefit of a proposed solution. Practical, effective solutions are the key to success for this Challenge.

Problem areas in meeting Bayh-Dole reporting requirements that your solution might address include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Difficulty of educating and reaching all scientists, engineers, researchers, and other relevant employees on the Bayh-Dole reporting requirements;
  • Challenge of obtaining timely disclosures and other IP-related actions on technologies subject to Bayh-Dole reporting requirements from researchers and other relevant employees;
  • Difficulty convincing organization leadership to commit necessary attention and resource to meet the needs to fulfill Bayh-Dole reporting requirements;
  • Obstacles preventing coordination between different business units within an organization and preventing accurate and timely reporting, e.g. university technology transfer, grants management, and other administrative offices;
  • Difficulty tracking all publications and public disclosures relating to IP, in turn contributing to less accurate reporting to federal agencies; and
  • Obstacles to creating and maintaining an informed and responsive management and customer service operation to support Bayh-Dole compliance; or
  • Other ideas.

A complete Entry includes your submission, the email address of the Official Representative representing the Entry, and confirmation that the Official Representative has read and agreed to these Rules. Participants may provide submissions beginning at 9:00 AM ET on October 28, 2020, to the Event Email address.  Submission can be made no later than 5:00 PM ET on November 20, 2020, to the Event Email address. Event email address is nistpeerprize [at] (nistpeerprize[at]nist[dot]gov)

Submissions received before the start date and time, or after the end date and time, will not be evaluated or considered for award.  Entries sent to NIST in any manner other than through the Event Website will not be evaluated or considered for award.  Entries that do not comply with the formatting requirements set forth in this Notice will not be evaluated or considered for award.

Entries must be complete, must contain no confidential information, and must be in English.


Each Submission will be reviewed by at least two subject matter experts from a federal agency inside and/or outside of NIST with familiarity of technology transfer and Bayh-Dole requirements. The experts will perform a preliminary review of the submission for completeness (i.e. eligibility) and how well it meets the judging criteria.  The reviewer comments for eligible submissions will be shared with the Judging Panel.


The NIST Director will select a panel of three qualified judges to determine the Prize Winners. The Judges will determine winners according to the Judging Criteria described herein. The Judges may not have personal or financial interests in, or be an employee, officer, director, or agent of, any entity that is a registered Participant in the Competition and may not have a familial or financial relationship with an individual who is a registered Participant. In the event of such conflicts, conflicted Judges must recuse themselves and replacement Judges may be appointed.


The PEER Challenge calls on Participants to submit original ideas that will incentivize recipients of federal R&D funds to comply with the data submission requirements of the Bayh-Dole Act.

Eligible submissions will be judged and scored on four judging criteria, listed below.

Ideas submitted to this challenge that have previously been published or that have been prepared using Federal funds are not eligible (e.g., Federal agency reports, reports prepared by Federally Funded Research and Development Centers, or reports prepared by funded intermediaries on behalf of Federal agencies.)


Judges will evaluate and score eligible submissions using four judging criteria:

  1. Practicality in terms of being able to implement the proposed solutions (15 points)
    1. Participants should consider the ability of federal agencies and fund recipients to implement the incentives.
    2. Participants should consider realistic cost vs. benefit of proposed incentives.
    3. Participants should consider the applicable laws and regulations.
  2. Likelihood of increasing compliance with meeting Bayh-Dole reporting requirements (15 points): Participants should explicitly address how the incentive(s) will greatly increase compliance.
  3. Relevance of success metrics in terms of how the increase in compliance would be measured by the proposed solution, including cost-benefit (15 points).
  4. Creativity of the proposed solution (5 points)
    1. Participants may consider the creation of videos, posters, design concepts, and other creative products. Submissions should be professional, high-quality products.
    2. All submissions’ written reports should consider the novelty of the ideas proposed in their submissions.


Judges will review the submissions and the input from the subject matter expert reviews to evaluate and score the eligible submissions using the judging criteria herein to determine the winners.

NIST will announce on the Event Website the Participants that have been awarded a cash award (each, an "Award"). The anticipated number and amount of the Awards that will be awarded for this Competition are set forth in these rules; however, based on its sole discretion, NIST is not obligated to make all or any Awards, and reserves the right to award fewer than the anticipated number of Awards in the event an insufficient number of eligible Participants enter this Competition.

The winner verification process for being eligible to receive an Award includes providing the full legal name, tax identification number or social security number, routing number and banking account to which the prize money can be deposited directly. Return of any notification as "undeliverable" will result in disqualification. The verification form must be returned within seventy-two (72) hours of receipt. After verification of eligibility, Awards will be distributed in the form of electronic funds transfer addressed to the Official Representatives specified in the winning entries. That Official Representative will have sole responsibility for further distribution of any Award among Participants in a group entry or within a company or institution that has submitted an entry through that representative. The list of entries receiving Awards for the Competition, including the names of all members of a team, will be made public according to the timeline outlined on the Event Website.

Winners are responsible for all taxes and reporting related to any Award received as part of the Competition.

All costs incurred in the preparation of Competition entries are to be borne by Participants.


Questions about the PEER Prize Competition can be directed to Chuck Na, [at] (charles[dot]na[at]nist[dot]gov).

Created September 10, 2020, Updated August 23, 2023