Entry Criteria

Eligibility Requirements
General Submission Requirements
Intellectual Property Rights
Representation, Warranties, and Indemnification
Frequently Asked Questions
Contact Information


The submission period is completed. The Phase 2 winner will enter the pilot testing period.

Launch Date:

Submission Period Deadlines:

  • Phase 1 submission deadline: September 24, 2018 [deadline is past]
  • Phase 2 submission deadline: February 15, 2019*
  • Phase 3 pilot testing period: March 5, 2019–September 9, 2019

Select the following links to read the submission requirements, Challenge information, and judging criteria for each phase below:

Phase 1
Phase 2
Phase 3

Eligibility Rules for Participating in the Challenge

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

  1. Shall have registered to participate in the Challenge under the rules promulgated by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
  2. Shall have complied with all the stated requirements of the Step Up App Challenge
  3. 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.
  4. May not be a Federal entity or Federal employee acting within the scope of their employment.
  5. Shall not be an HHS employee working on their applications or Submissions during assigned duty hours.
  6. Shall not be an employee of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
  7. Federal grantees may not use Federal funds to develop COMPETES Act Challenge applications unless consistent with the purpose of their grant award.
  8. Federal contractors may not use Federal funds from a contract to develop COMPETES Act Challenge applications or to fund efforts in support of a COMPETES Act Challenge Submission.
  9. A product may be disqualified if it fails to function as expressed in the description provided by the Participant, or if it provides inaccurate or incomplete information.
  10. If applicable, the proposed application must be HIPAA compliant to be eligible for entry into the Challenge.
  11. All individual members of a team must meet the eligibility requirements.
  12. Shall not be currently under contract with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) to perform work related to electronic capture of patient-reported outcomes or be a subcontractor under such contract.

An individual or entity shall not be deemed ineligible because the individual or entity used Federal facilities or consulted with Federal employees during a Challenge if the facilities and employees are made available to all individuals and entities participating in the Challenge on an equitable basis.

By participating in this Challenge, Participants:

  1. Agree 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 their participation in this prize contest, whether the injury, death, damage, or loss arises through negligence or otherwise.
  2.  Agree to obtain liability insurance, or demonstrate financial responsibility, in the amount of $500,000, for claims by (a) a third party for death, bodily injury, or property damage, or loss resulting from an activity carried out in connection with participation in a Challenge, with the Federal Government named as an additional insured under the registered participant’s insurance policy, and (b) the Federal Government for damage or loss to Government property resulting from such activity.
  3. Agree to indemnify the Federal Government against third party claims for damages arising from or related to Challenge activities.

General Submission Requirements

In order for a Submission to be eligible to win this Challenge, it must meet the following requirements:

  1. No HHS or AHRQ logo—They must not use HHS' or AHRQ's logos or official seals and must not claim endorsement.
  2. Functionality/Accuracy—An application may be disqualified if it fails to function as expressed in the description provided by the participant, or if it provides inaccurate or incomplete information.
  3. Security—Submissions must be free of malware. Participant agrees that AHRQ may conduct testing on the application(s) to determine whether malware or other security threats may be present. AHRQ may disqualify the application(s) if, in AHRQ's judgment, the application may damage government or others' equipment or operating environment.

Intellectual Property (IP) Rights

Each entrant retains title and full ownership in and to their submission. Entrants expressly reserve all intellectual property rights not expressly granted under the Challenge agreement. By participating in the Challenge, each entrant hereby irrevocably grants to AHRQ a limited, non-exclusive, royalty-free, worldwide license and right to reproduce, publicly perform, publicly display, and use the submission to the extent necessary to administer the Challenge, and to publicly perform and publicly display the submission, including, without limitation, for advertising and promotional purposes relating to the Challenge.

Additionally, the grand prize winner will be required to post an open source version of the application’s code on the GitHub source code repository, made publicly available under the Creative Commons license, CCO 1.0 Universal (CCO 1.0, Public Domain Dedication). For a summary and full text of the CCO 1.0 Universal license, go to https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/. The GitHub source code repository is accessible at https://github.com.

Representation, Warranties, and Indemnification

By entering the Challenge, each Participant represents, warrants and covenants as follows:

  1. Participant is the sole author, creator, and owner of the Submission;
  2. The Submission is not the subject of any actual or threatened litigation or claim;
  3. The Submission does not and will not violate or infringe upon the intellectual property rights, privacy rights, publicity rights, or other legal rights of any third party; and
  4. The Submission, and Participants’ use of the Submission, does not and will not violate any applicable laws or regulations, including, without limitation, applicable export control laws and regulations of the U.S. and other jurisdictions.

If the Submission includes any third party works (such as third party content), Participant must be able to provide, upon request, documentation of all appropriate licenses and releases for such third party works. If Participant cannot provide documentation of all required licenses and releases, AHRQ reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to disqualify the applicable Submission. Participants must indemnify, defend, and hold harmless the Federal Government from and against all third-party claims, actions, or proceedings of any kind and from any and all damages, liabilities, costs, and expenses relating to or arising from Participant’s Submission or any breach or alleged breach of any of the representations, warranties, and covenants of Participant hereunder. AHRQ reserves the right to disqualify any Submission that, in their discretion, violates these Official Rules, Terms & Conditions.

AHRQ reserves the right to cancel, suspend, and/or modify the Challenge, or any part of it, for any reason, at AHRQ’s sole discretion.

Frequently Asked Questions

A PDF of the FAQs is available (93 KB).

Contact Information

For any questions about the challenge, please contact stepupappchallenge@sensisagency.com.

Page last reviewed March 2019
Page originally created August 2018
Internet Citation: Entry Criteria. Content last reviewed March 2019. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. https://www.ahrq.gov/stepupappchallenge/how-to-enter.html
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