Lots of prize-related activity in DC today. This morning the$10 Million Progressive Automotive X PRIZE was awarded at the Historical Society to three teams: $2.5M to X-Racer Team Switzerland for the alternative tandem class; $2.5M to Li-On Motors for the alternative side-by-side class; and $5M to the mainstream class winner, Edison2 and the “Very Light Car #98.” The awards ceremony participants included Representative Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives; Progressive Insurance President and CEO Glenn Renwick; Representative Edward Markey, Chairman, House Energy and Environment Committee; Cathy Zoi, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy; Dr. John P. Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; and Senator Mark R. Warner, U.S. Senator from the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Congratulations to all the winners and participants of the Automotive X PRIZE. As with all well-designed challenges, the awarding of the prize is often just the beginning. A whole new generation of clean, super efficient vehicles is just what we need to break our addiction to oil, so I for one hope to see more options on the road in the coming years.

And just as one competition ends, another is born. President Obama announced today the National STEM Video Game Challenge as part of the expansion of the White House’s “Educate to Innovate” campaign.  The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop and E-Line Media are the competition organizers, along with AMD Foundation, the Entertainment Software Association and Microsoft as sponsors.  Also involved are Founding Outreach Partners the American Library Association, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the International Game Developers Association and BrainPOP. Oh, and let’s not forget the White House:

“Our success as a nation depends on strengthening America’s role as the world’s engine of discovery and innovation,” said President Obama. “I applaud partners in the National STEM Video Game Challenge for lending their resources, expertise, and their enthusiasm to the task of strengthening America’s leadership in the 21st century by improving education in science, technology, engineering and math.”

We are proud to support the Joan Ganz Cooney Center for yet another inspiring and all-important challenge: The Developer Prize which challenges emerging and experienced game developers to design original games for young children (grades pre-K through 4) that teach key STEM concepts and foster an interest in STEM subject areas. The Challenge will feature a special prize for developers actively enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program in the U.S. Special emphasis will be placed on technologies that have high potential to reach underserved communities, such as games built for basic mobile phones that address urgent educational needs among at-risk youth. Developers will be competing for a grand prize of $50,000. Two prizes of $25,000 each will be awarded to the top entry submitted on the collegiate level, as well as the top entry for reaching underserved communities.

The National STEM Video Game Challenge will accept entries from October 12, 2010 through January 5, 2011. Complete guidelines and details on how to enter are available at www.cooneycenterprizes.org and at www.stemchallenge.org/youthprize.

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