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The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is Congressionally-mandated to report on prize competitions and crowdsourcing and citizen science activities every two years, as authorized by the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act (i.e. COMPETES Act) and Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science Act (Section 402, American Innovation and Competitiveness Act).

The OSTP is working with the General Services Administration (GSA) and Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI) to collect and report on fiscal year 2019-2020 activities.

This report will be the 7th report on the use of prize competitions and challenges conducted by federal agencies to spur innovation, engage citizen solvers, address tough problems, and advance their core missions. It also represents the 2nd report on crowdsourcing and citizen science activities conducted by federal agencies.

Submission Details

By no later than November 20, 2020, please report to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) all crowdsourcing and citizen science (CCS) activities the agency conducted during Fiscal Years 2019 and 2020 under the Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science Act. Please note that the Implementation of Federal Prize and Citizen Science Authority Fiscal Years 2019-20 Report will be submitted to Congress and made publicly available. Reporting information for crowdsourcing and citizen science activities conducted or otherwise supported under other authorities provides visibility for the effort, and can be valuable for the overall Federal CCS community, as well as the public, to see how CCS activities can be used to advance agency missions. Agencies are highly encouraged, but not required, to complete this survey for all Federal CCS activities conducted under authorities other than the Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science Act during this reporting period.


The Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science Act (15 U.S.C. 3724) requires all crowdsourcing and citizen science activities carried out under this authority to be included as a component of the biennial report on Federal Prizes and Challenges, specified under Section 24 (15 U.S.C. 3719) of the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act of 1980 (commonly referred to as the COMPETES Act authority). OSTP is leading the data collection for the final consolidated report. The Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI) is a Federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) created by Congress to provide the OSTP with technical support and analysis. STPI is working with OSTP to support this data collection and analysis effort.


The following terms and definitions are defined as follows by the Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science Act:

Citizen Science—a form of open collaboration in which individuals or organizations participate voluntarily in the scientific process in various ways, including— Enabling the formulation of research questions; Creating and refining project design; Conducting scientific experiments; Collecting and analyzing data; Interpreting the results of data; Developing technologies and applications; Making discoveries; and Solving problems.

Crowdsourcing—a method to obtain needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting voluntary contributions from a group of individuals or organizations, especially from an online community.

Participant—an individual or other entity (e.g., a team) that volunteered in a crowdsourcing or citizen science project.

Full-Time Equivalent (FTE)—refers to the total amount of effort put forth by employees of the sponsoring Federal agency; one FTE represents the hours worked by one employee on a full- time basis over one year. The concept provides a means of allocating the effort of an employee among different responsibilities and summing the efforts of multiple employees, both part-time and full-time, who spend part of their time working on the project. On an annual basis, an FTE is considered to be 2,080 hours (8 hours per day x 5 work days per week x 52 weeks per year = 2,080 hours per year). In this context, FTE is intended to convert the total number of hours contributed by all employees to a standard scale, which may not be the equal to the total number of full-time agency employees who contributed to the activity if it was only a part of their total responsibilities.

Related Resources

Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science Act of 2016
See Section (E) Report for details on the information required in the report.

U.S. Government Open Innovation Summit: Transformation through Citizen Science and Prize Competitions
GSA and OSTP Event on June 14, 2019 to announce the release of the FY17-18 Report.

The Trump Administration Supports Fostering Innovation by Leveraging Prizes and Challenges

FY17-18 Federal Prize and Citizen Science OSTP Report

Implementation of Federal Prize and Citizen Science Authority Progress Fiscal Years 2017-2018 OSTP Report

CSV Data File of Appendix C and Appendix D in Report

PDF Version of OSTP Report

FY17-18 Citizen Science Projects in Report

The following are DOI Bureau projects that Sophia helped to obtain agency clearance for FY17-19 OSTP Report:

  • Project eTrout (USGS) - Used CCS Authority

  • Did You Feel It? (USGS)

  • NPN Nature's Notebook (USGS)

  • The National Map Corps (USGS)

  • iCoast - Did the Coast Change? (USGS)

  • Aquatic Insect Monitoring in Grand Canyon (USBR)

  • Battle of Atlantic Expedition (BOEM)

New Online Data Collection Survey Process Using Qualtrics

  • Projects that explicitly used the Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science Act or the COMPETES Act are required to fill out this survey and report on their activities based on the use of these authorities.
  • Each project will receive a unique Qualtrics Survey URL sent to the Project POC and/or the Agency Coordinators.
  • The projects are identified based on the FY17-18 report and those that appear on Catalog and
  • The survey responses must be reviewed and cleared by agency leadership before clicking SUBMIT in the Qualtrics survey. We recommend using the Word Doc version and the Track Changes feature to edit the survey responses and have it reviewed by leadership before editing and submitting the Qualtrics survey.
  • If you have a new project that would like to be included in this report, send an email with the Subject Line "OSTP Prize and Citizen Science Report" to: and



FY19-20 DOI Bureaus (USGS) Citizen Science and Prize Projects to Include Coordinated by Sophia B Liu

Projects Confirmed to Include in Report

FY19-20 Federal Citizen Science Congressional Reporting Survey

PDF Version of Survey for Crowdsourcing & Citizen Science Projects

Word Doc Version of Citizen Science Survey to Use Track Changes

FY19-20 Federal Prize Competition Congressional Reporting Survey

PDF Version of Survey for Prize Competition Projects

Word Doc Version of Prize Survey to Track Changes

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