Saturday, April 10, 2010

Prizes for Innovative Amateurs at Innocentive

The only thing more satisfying than discovery is being paid for your discoveries, and Innocentive is here for you.

For the past nine years Innocentive has been publishing business and scientific challenges for the everyday public to solve.  Challenges range from developing innovative theories or ideas, to validating detailed solutions and building working prototypes.  Winners can receive cash awards from $5,000 to as much as $1,000,000 depending on the challenge and how successfully it's solved.

Innocentive has also done a good job of providing challenges at all levels with some requiring detailed scientific knowledge while others needing only the creativity of everyday people.  This helps level the playing field and teaches you  about the frontiers of current fields.  After signing up for a challenge you enter the "Challenge Room" where you can put together your ideas, read background materials provided by the challenge sponsors, and ask any questions you have on the contest or potential solutions.

Sponsors of the challenges, called "Seekers", include not just pharmaceutical companies and government agencies (like NASA) but also non-profit and civic groups looking for non-technical solutions to environmental and societal problems.  So you can enjoy the discovery, earn money for it, and feel good doing it.

Getting Involved is Easy:

  1. Visit Innocentive's web site at  Register as a new user and enter the site.
  2. Provide your areas of interest and expertise for the system to find challenges you might be interested in, or view the list of challenge areas.
  3. Find a challenge you're interested in and sign up by creating a "Project Room" for it.  
  4. Let all your knowledge and creativity loose on the problem!
And last, but certainly not least, submit your solution and earn your reward.  Enjoy!

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