FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

WHAT TYPES OF IDEAS SHOULD I SUBMIT?

We are seeking ideas for technology-based interventions that reduce the Word Gap. These can be, but are not limited to, intervention programs, methodologies, educational technology, media and entertainment, enhanced diagnostic tools, data solutions, etc.

HOW CAN I PARTICIPATE IF I DON’T HAVE NEW IDEAS TO SOLVE THE WORD GAP?
  • Consider becoming a mentor (details to come during Phase 2, beginning March 11, 2016).
  • Join the conversation about Word Gap on social media (#WordGap).
  • Share information and links about the Challenge with your friends and colleagues.

We hope that the more people who are involved, the greater the conversation will be, and the sooner the Word Gap is reduced for all Americans.

WILL HRSA FUND NON-SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS?

Yes, we will. Winning submissions must be able to be tested for effectiveness and must be scalable.

CAN I COMPETE IN ANY PHASE OF THE WORD GAP CHALLENGE DIRECTLY?

The Word Gap Challenge is structured in such a way that you may not compete in Phase 2 or 3 directly without participating and winning Phase 1.

I HAVE ALREADY DEVELOPED A MINIMUM VIABLE PRODUCT AND I’M CURRENTLY ENTERING THE MARKET. IS IT POSSIBLE FOR MY STARTUP TO APPLY?

Yes. Although you have an MVP or prototype, you still must apply to Phase 1 of the Challenge to be considered for subsequent phases.

CAN I APPLY WITH AN EXISTING INTERVENTION?

The goal of the Challenge is “to develop a low-cost, scalable technologically-based intervention that drives parents and caregivers to talk and engage in more back-and-forth interactions with their young children (ages 0–4).”

Likewise, looking at the submission requirements, participants are required to provide the judges with “a description of how you arrived at your idea.”

This means that there needs to be something innovative and original in the application; it is not enough to merely “take an off-the-shelf app, provide it to a sample population, and see how things go.”

While the Challenge language is broad enough to encompass the use of an existing app as a part of a participant’s entry, there still needs to be clear innovation (such as, using the app in a creative way or modifying how the app is used to make it ‘stickier’). 

The purpose of the Challenges is to drive innovation, so there has to be a clearly innovative offering in your submission for it to successfully compete.

HOW WILL PRIZES BE AWARDED FOR PHASE 1?

Following the Phase 1 close date, compliant submissions will be reviewed according to the Phase 1 selection criteria by the Challenge advisors. Based on the feedback of the advisors, a federal selection committee will choose the winning submissions that move on to Phase 2. 

CAN A SUBMISSION WIN MORE THAN ONE PRIZE?

Yes, individuals or teams that were selected as winners at the end of Phase 1 are eligible to win Phase 2 and 3.

CAN I MAXIMIZE MY ODDS FOR WINNING A PHASE 1 PRIZE BY PROVIDING MULTIPLE SUBMISSIONS?

Multiple submissions are allowed, but each one must be a unique approach, sufficiently differentiated, and in compliance with the Challenge Requirements. Although you may have a greater likelihood of selection, only one prize will be awarded per team.

DO I RETAIN INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OWNERSHIP?

Yes, each entrant retains full ownership and title in and to their submission. As an entrant, you reserve all intellectual property rights not expressly granted under the Challenge agreement.

However, by participating in the Challenge, you, as an entrant, irrevocably grant HRSA a limited, non-exclusive, royalty-free, worldwide license and right to reproduce, publically perform, publically display and use the submission for internal HHS business, and to the extent necessary to administer the Challenge, and to publically perform and publically display the submission, including, without limitation, for advertising and promotional purposes relating to the Challenge.

WHAT POTENTIAL BENEFITS DO I GET FROM MAKING A SUBMISSION TO THE WORD GAP CHALLENGE?

The HRSA Word Gap Challenge is a platform. It is an opportunity to get expert validation on your idea, access to brilliant mentors, exposure to a wide audience, and possibly cash incentives to deploy your solution at scale.

WHERE DO I UPLOAD MY SUBMISSION?

Phase 1 is now closed. Only Phase 1 winners will advance to the next phase.

CAN MORE THAN ONE PERSON WORK ON A SUBMISSION AND RECEIVE CREDIT? AND IF THE SUBMISSION WINS, WILL THE PRIZE MONEY BE SPLIT AMONG THE CREATORS?

Yes, more than one individual is permitted to complete a submission package during all phases of the Challenge. Team members are solely responsible for allocating the value of services, awards, or prizes to be granted by HRSA as described in the Terms & Conditions. HRSA will not arbitrate, intervene, advise on, or resolve any matters between entrants. Unresolved conflicts among team members may impact the team’s ability to compete in subsequent phases of the program.

WHO CAN I CONTACT IF I HAVE QUESTIONS?

Please email wordgapchallenge@hrsa.gov. In fairness to all potential contestants, we may post the answer to your question(s) online on our FAQ page. Many questions can be easily answered by reviewing the Requirements, Eligibility Rules, and Terms & Conditions.