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Global Threat Identification Methods Sought in Challenge

Drought in East Africa

(Oxfam East Africa, Wikimedia Commons)

24 July 2015. A new challenge on InnoCentive is seeking techniques for identifying climatic events in one region that have direct or indirect impacts elsewhere in the world. The competition has a total purse of $30,000 and deadline for submissions of 17 September 2015.

InnoCentive in Waltham, Massachusetts conducts open-innovation, crowdsourcing competitions for corporate and organization sponsors. The sponsor in this case is the Skoll Global Threats Fund. Free registration is required to see details of the competition.

The challenge is seeking methods for policy makers, public health authorities, and emergency planners to identify and measure potential consequences of events triggered by climate change — e.g., flood or drought — and other natural disasters, resulting from the growing interconnected nature of modern life. Skoll Global Threats Fund believes these threats are non-linear, cannot be solved by any one country, require some sort of collective action, and only become much more difficult to manage if not addressed soon.

The consequences of climatic events have the potential to cause significant economic and social dislocations and paralysis, including widespread injuries and deaths. Among the projected impacts are large-scale human migration, infectious disease epidemics, food shortages, and social unrest.

Skoll Global Threats Fund is seeking answers to the question, “What are the ways in which we can identify early indications and/or patterns of complex events that can have triggering effects elsewhere in the world?” Solutions should encompass near-real-time monitoring and provide methods for triggering alerts when threats are identified. The sponsor expects solutions will contribute to the emerging disciplines of big data and forecasting.

InnoCentive calls this type of competition an ideation challenge, which requires a brief (two-page) proposal. Ideation proposals can contain ideas originating from the participants, ideas from the public domain where no restrictions are applied, or ideas from third-parties where participants have the rights to propose solutions with those ideas. Participants are asked not to submit confidential information in their proposals.

The competition has a total award purse of $30,000 with at least one award no smaller than $10,000 and no awards less than $2,000. The sponsor also indicates that submitting a proposal grants the sponsor a non-exclusive, perpetual, and royalty-free license to use any information in the proposal, including for promotional purposes. An exclusive transfer of intellectual property rights to the sponsor, however, is not required.

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