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Eligibility and Rules

Eligibility Rules

To be eligible to win a prize under this Challenge, an individual, team, or entity—

  • Shall have registered to participate in the Challenge under the rules promulgated by NIH as published in this Announcement;
  • Shall have complied with all the requirements set forth in this Announcement;
  • May not be the principal investigator on an NIH SBIR/STTR award that is active at the time of the Challenge submission period end date;
  • May not have been a finalist in previous versions of the NIA Start-Up Challenge;
  • In the case of a private entity, shall be incorporated in and maintain a primary place of business in the United States, and in the case of an individual, whether participating singly or in a group, shall be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States. However, non-U.S. citizens and non-permanent residents can participate as a member of a team that otherwise satisfies the eligibility criteria. Non-U.S. citizens and non-permanent residents are not eligible to win a monetary prize (in whole or in part). Their participation as part of a winning team, if applicable, may be recognized when the results are announced.
  • May not be a federal entity or federal employee acting within the scope of their employment;
  • May not be an employee of HHS (or any component of HHS) acting in their personal capacity;
  • Who is employed by a federal agency or entity other than HHS (or any component of HHS) should consult with their agency Ethics Official to determine whether the federal ethics rules will limit or prohibit their participation in the Challenge or acceptance of the Challenge; and
  • May not be a judge of the Challenge, or any other party involved with the design, production, execution, or distribution of the Challenge or the immediate family of such a party (i.e., spouse, parent, step-parent, child, or step-child).

Participation Rules

  • By participating in this Challenge, each individual (whether competing singly or in a group) or entity certifies that they have either formed a U.S.-owned and -operated small business or intends to form a U.S.-owned and -operated small business during or at the conclusion of the Challenge that meets the eligibility requirements to apply for SBIR/STTR funding.
  • An individual (whether participating singly or in a group) or entity shall not be deemed ineligible because the individual or entity used federal facilities or consulted with federal employees during the Challenge if the facilities and employees are made available to all individuals and entities participating in the Challenge on an equitable basis.
  • An individual (whether participating singly or in a group) or entity may not use federal funds from a grant award or cooperative agreement to develop their Challenge submissions or to fund efforts in support of their Challenge submissions unless use of such funds is consistent with the purpose, terms, and conditions of the grant award or cooperative agreement. Participants intending to use federal grant or cooperative agreement funds must register for and participate in the Challenge as an Entity on behalf of the award recipient institution, organization, or entity. If a participant uses federal grant or cooperative agreement funds and wins the Challenge, the prize must be treated as program income for purposes of the original grant or cooperative agreement in accordance with applicable Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (2 CFR § 200). Federal contractors may not use federal funds from a contract to develop their submissions or to fund efforts in support of their submission.
  • Multiple entries from each individual (whether participating singly or in a group) or entity are permitted. Each solution must be sufficiently novel and unique and not be a minor modification of a prior submission.
  • By participating in this Challenge, each individual (whether competing singly or in a group) and entity agrees to assume any and all risks and waive claims against the federal government and its related entities, except in the case of willful misconduct, for any injury, death, damage, or loss of property, revenue, or profits, whether direct, indirect, or consequential, arising from participation in this Challenge, whether the injury, death, damage, or loss arises through negligence or otherwise.
  • Based on the subject matter of the Challenge, the type of work that it will possibly require, as well as an analysis of the likelihood of any claims for death, bodily injury, property damage, or loss potentially resulting from Challenge participation, no individual (whether competing singly or in a group) or entity participating in the Challenge is required to obtain liability insurance or demonstrate financial responsibility in order to participate in this Challenge.
  • By participating in this Challenge, each individual (whether competing singly or in a group) and entity agrees to indemnify the federal government against third-party claims for damages arising from or related to Challenge activities.
  • By participating in this Challenge, each individual (whether participating singly or in a group) or entity warrants that they are the sole author or owner of, or has the right to use, any copyrightable works that the submission comprises, that the works are wholly original with the participant (or is an improved version of an existing work that the participant has sufficient rights to use and improve), and that the submission does not infringe upon any copyright or any other rights of any third party of which the participant is aware.
  • By participating in this Challenge, each individual (whether participating singly or in a group) and each entity grants to NIH an irrevocable, paid-up, royalty-free nonexclusive worldwide license to reproduce, publish, post, link to, share, and display publicly (e.g., on websites) the submission and abstracts on the web or elsewhere, and a nonexclusive, nontransferable, irrevocable, paid-up license to practice, or have practiced for or on its behalf, the solution throughout the world. Each participant will retain all other intellectual property rights in their submissions, as applicable. To participate in the Challenge, each individual (whether participating singly or in a group) or entity must warrant that there are no legal obstacles to providing the above-referenced nonexclusive licenses of their rights to the federal government. To receive a prize award, individuals (whether participating singly or in a group) or entities will not be required to transfer their intellectual property rights to NIH, but they must grant to the federal government the nonexclusive licenses recited herein.
  • Each individual (whether participating singly or in a group) or entity agrees to follow all applicable federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and policies.
  • Each individual (whether participating singly or in a group) or entity ensures that no confidential or proprietary material is submitted.
  • Each individual (whether participating singly or in a group) or entity participating in this Challenge must comply with all terms and conditions of these rules, and participation in this Challenge constitutes each such participant’s full and unconditional agreement to abide by these rules. Winning is contingent upon fulfilling all requirements herein.

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