As we face a worldwide pandemic of the novel coronavirus, never has creative thinking and innovation meant more. Now the very kind of inspired action that is needed to stem the spread of this disease will be not just encouraged but rewarded. George Mason University’s Mercatus Center, supported by the Stand Together community with the Charles Koch Foundation taking the lead, is offering prizes for innovative policy and healthcare solutions aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19, finding a treatment, and responding to the crisis.
“When it comes to fighting COVID-19, we don’t know where the critical advancements and breakthroughs are going to come from,” says Tyler Cowen, faculty director at Mercatus. “These prizes are a way to incentivize innovation.”
Emergent Ventures, the Mercatus Center’s philanthropy project, is offering:
- $500,000 and $200,000 prizes for the best efforts to find a good treatment rapidly
- $100,000 for best innovation in social distancing
- $100,000 for most important innovation or improvement for India
- $100,000 for the best blog or social media tracking/analysis of the virus
- $50,000 for the best investigative journalism on coronavirus
- $50,000 for best coronavirus policy writing
There is no application process for the prizes. Emergent Ventures will make awards when it sees a significant success.
Additionally, anyone can apply for fast-tracked grant funding for COVID-19 projects through the Emergent Ventures portal.
For those interested in contributing to the prize pool to encourage and support more ideas, please contact the Mercatus Center directly by e-mailing Ashley Schiller (email@example.com). Tyler said, “I would love to be able to offer more second and third prizes for these efforts, and also to increase the amounts on offer, and perhaps cover more countries too.”