Government Offering Prizes for Best Ideas to Stand Up GEAR Center

Jim Larkin/ is offering up to $300,000 to teams or individuals who submit the best proposals.

Last summer, the White House began considering a public-private partnership composed of experts from various technical disciplines that could help the federal government deal with some of its biggest technological challenges.

Called the Government Effectiveness Advanced Research, or GEAR, Center, the Office of Management and Budget and the General Services Administration is now asking the public for ideas on how useful public-private partnerships of cross-sector, multidisciplinary teams could be. Issued on, the challenge’s goal is “to test the feasibility of the model before further investment and will inform how the GEAR Center could work to deliver these impacts.”

Prizes of up to $300,000 each will be awarded to grand prize winners; initial concept papers are due by 5 p.m., May 24.

“Today’s digital economy has transformed how citizens interact with government. By leveraging technology and innovation, the GEAR Center will ensure our government connects to cutting-edge thinking and real-world solutions,” OMB’s Deputy Director for Management Margaret Weichert said in a statement.

White House officials last addressed the GEAR Center in December, providing an overview of industry responses to a previous request for information on the center. Officials included several resources for potential problem solvers, including all industry and public responses to the aforementioned RFI.

"The uniquely American research and development system that brings together universities, federal labs, private companies, and non-profits has made us a global leader in most fields,” said GSA Administrator Emily Murphy in a statement. “The GEAR Center provides a common ground to bring those same partnerships together to help solve the biggest challenges facing our government and improve how we serve citizens.”

According to the challenge, solvers may propose solutions that would:

  • Transform the way the federal workforce is recruited, developed, reskilled or deployed;
  • Empower external users to access and use government data for commercial and other public purposes;
  • Better connect federal programs with a quantitative and qualitative understanding of the people they serve, and capture the voice of the customer in order to continuously improve federal services;
  • Solvers can suggest their own ideas to address issues described in the President's Management Agenda.

GSA and OMB will host a webinar on May 13 to answer questions and allow interested solvers to connect with experts working on President’s Management Agenda challenges. Questions can be submitted to in advance.