Bridging the Word Gap Competition Challenge, 55861-55864 [2015-23358]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 180 / Thursday, September 17, 2015 / Notices Obesity Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network (CoIIN) to spread evidence-based practices, and to translate knowledge into practice by the University of Washington, the awardee who serves as the Centers of Excellence in MCH, during the budget period of June 1, 2015, through May 31, 2016. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Intended Recipient of the Award: University of Washington Amount of Each Non-Competitive Award: $40,000 Period of Supplemental Funding: 6/1/ 2015—5/31/2016 CFDA Number: 93.110 Authority: Social Security Act as amended, Title V, Section 501(a)(2) (42 U.S.C. 701(a)(2)) Justification: The purpose of the Centers of Excellence in MCH program is for the training of graduate and postgraduate public health professionals in an interdisciplinary MCH setting. The Centers of Excellence in MCH program supports HRSA’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau’s (MCHB) mission to provide national leadership and to work, in partnership with states, communities, public-private partners, and families to strengthen the MCH infrastructure and build the knowledge and human resources in order to assure continued improvement in the health, safety, and well-being of the MCH population, which includes all U.S. women, infants, children, youth and their families, including fathers and children with special health care needs (CSHCN). It does so by training current and future workforce in applied research and state-of-the-art public health management, planning, and leadership principles to promote healthier children, families, and communities and in the identification and solution of current MCH problems while anticipating the challenges of the future. It assures a prominent focus on MCH content and competencies such as inter-professional practice, systems integration, and quality improvement within schools of public health. In the summer of 2014, MCHB initiated a CoIIN on Pediatric Obesity in collaboration with the University of Washington and the Association of State Public Health Nutritionists (ASPHN). The work on this project (by the University of Washington) was funded through an administrative supplement in fiscal year (FY) 2014 to a previous grant, and the amount provided only allowed the grantee and its subcontractor to engage a limited number of steps in the CoIIN process. This supplement will allow the University of Washington, in 55861 collaboration with ASPHN, to complete the final phases of the evaluation component for the previously initiated Pediatric Obesity CoIIN. The goal of this CoIIN project is to apply quality improvement methodologies through a CoIIN framework to support state Title V agencies and others leverage for state MCH program capacity to reduce childhood obesity rates on a population level. Specifically, state teams are working to affect systems changes through the adoption of policies and practices in early care and education settings that support healthy weight behaviors and are using the CoIIN model to gather best practices, promote evidence-based strategies, and increase nutrition resources provided to young children and their families. A rigorous evaluation of this CoIIN is a critical and essential component in order to spread evidence-based practices—including qualitative and quantitative process and outcome measures—and translate knowledge into practice. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Denise Sofka, RD, MPH, Division of Maternal and Child Health Workforce Development, Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration, 5600 Fishers Lane, Room 18W55, Rockville, Maryland 20857; DSofka@hrsa.gov. Grantee/organization name Grant number State FY 2015 authorized funding level FY 2015 estimated supplemental funding University of Washington ........................ T76MC00011 ......................................... WA ......................... $350,000 $40,000 Dated: September 11, 2015. James Macrae, Acting Administrator. [FR Doc. 2015–23356 Filed 9–16–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4165–15–P DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Health Resources and Services Administration Bridging the Word Gap Competition Challenge Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES AGENCY: ACTION: Notice. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), announces the funding SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:30 Sep 16, 2015 Jkt 235001 opportunity for the Bridging the Word Gap Incentive Prize Challenge. MCHB is sponsoring the Word Gap Challenge (Challenge) to spur innovative solutions to promote the early language environment and address the ‘‘word gap,’’ the large difference in exposure to language for children from low-income families as compared to children from higher-income families. This Challenge will reward the development and testing of scalable innovations that drive behavior change among parents and caregivers. The goal of the Challenge is to develop a low-cost, scalable technologically-based intervention that drives parents and caregivers to talk and engage in more back-and-forth interactions with their young children (ages 0–4). This Challenge, structured in three phases, with a narrowing of applicants through each phase to result in one final winner, will reach a diverse population of innovators and solvers, including PO 00000 Frm 00036 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 coders, public health experts, individuals affiliated with academic institutions, research and development communities in the private sector, and others. All submissions will be evaluated; separate prizes will be awarded for each of the three phases below. Phase 1: Design Phase 2: Development and Small Scale Testing Phase 3: Scaling The statutory authority for this challenge competition is Section 105 of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 (COMPETES Act, Pub. L. 111–358). Estimated dates for each phase are as follows: Phase 1: Effective on September 30, 2015 Phase 1 Submission ends: December 31, 2015, 11:59 p.m. ET Phase 1 Judging Period: January 1– January 31, 2016 E:\FR\FM\17SEN1.SGM 17SEN1 55862 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 180 / Thursday, September 17, 2015 / Notices Phase 1 Winners Announced: February 10, 2016 Phase 2 Begins: February 11, 2016 Phase 2 Submission Period Ends: July 11, 2016 Phase 2 Judging Period: July 12–August 12, 2016 Phase 2 Winners Announced: August 20, 2016 Phase 3 Begins: August 21, 2016 Phase 3 Submission Period Ends: February 21, 2017 Phase 3 Winner Announced: March 1, 2017 FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jessie Buerlein, MSW, 301–443–8931, or James Resnick, 301–443–3222. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Subject of Challenge Competition There is evidence that socioeconomic status (SES) is a strong indicator of school achievement, and that children from lower SES backgrounds exhibit a delay in early literacy skills, a slower vocabulary acquisition rate, and lower school readiness rates.1 Once American children enter kindergarten, there is a significant, prevalent gap between children from higher versus lower SES backgrounds in average oral language skills,2 referred to as the ‘‘word gap.’’ There is also growing evidence that early language exposure for children may not only have a significant influence on language development and school achievement, but on the overall trajectory of children’s lives, including later academic and occupation success.3 Existing literature reveals several key themes in addressing the language gap, including the significant role of the caregiver in the home, and the effectiveness of engaging parents in language interventions.4 A significant influence on children’s language development is the context of parenting and parent responsiveness to children’s early language acquisition.5 Research in 1 Suskind D., Kuhl, P., Leffel, K.R., Landry, S., Cunha, F., & Necherman, K.M. (2013). Bridging the early language gap: A plan for scaling up. (A White Paper prepared for the White House meeting on ‘‘Bridging the Thirty-Million-Word Gap).’’ 2 Rowe, M.L., Suskind, D., & Hoff, E. (2013) Early language gaps: Sources and solutions. (A White Paper prepared for the White House meeting on ‘‘Bridging the Thirty-Million-Word Gap).’’ 3 Suskind D., Kuhl, P., Leffel, K.R., Landry, S., Cunha, F., & Necherman, K.M. (2013). Bridging the early language gap: A plan for scaling up. (A White Paper prepared for the White House meeting on ‘‘Bridging the Thirty-Million-Word Gap).’’ 4 Roberts, M.Y., & Kaiser, A.P. (2011). The effectiveness of parent-implemented language interventions: A meta-analysis. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 20, 180–199. 5 Suskind D., Kuhl, P., Leffel, K.R., Landry, S., Cunha, F., & Necherman, K.M. (2013). Bridging the early language gap: A plan for scaling up. (A White Paper prepared for the White House meeting on ‘‘Bridging the Thirty-Million-Word Gap).’’ VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:30 Sep 16, 2015 Jkt 235001 this area shows that both the quality and quantity of speech spoken at home during daily interactions influences the relationship between SES and child language skills at school entry.6 However, research also shows that interventions engaging parents and increasing their knowledge of child development and the importance of child-directed talk may be an effective route to preventing and addressing the SES language gap.7 The research base has improved markedly over the last two decades, making a strong case that addressing the word gap is a critical social challenge that may help promote equitable opportunity for all children. The frequency and quality of child-directed talk and back and forth interactions between children and their parents have consequences for what is learned and is associated with significant disparities in vocabulary size, school readiness, and long-term educational outcomes. Technologies now exist to support low-cost, broadly scalable approaches to helping parents and caregivers focus on the early language environment, and the technical expertise exists to address the issue in creative ways. This challenge aims to cultivate an environment to attract a broad array of innovators from outside disciplines to propose inventive, creative, and effective ideas to address the word gap by encouraging higher frequency and higher quality interaction between parents/caregivers and children. This is an opportunity for applicants to get national visibility, by the leading experts and organizations in the field, for new ideas on solving this problem of national importance. This is also an opportunity for applicants to access testing environments and design expertise as they move forward through the Challenge phases. When developing submissions, participants should consider the context of the user. The submission should be easily utilized by those of diverse cultural, socioeconomic, and literacy level backgrounds, including parents and children who are dual language speakers. Eligibility Rules for Participating in the Competition To be eligible to win a prize under this challenge, an individual or entity— (1) Shall have registered to participate in the competition under the rules 6 Hoff, E. (2009) Do vocabulary differences explain achievement gaps and can vocabularytargeted interventions close them? (Prepared for the National Research Council workshop on the Role of Language in Education.) 7 Ibid. PO 00000 Frm 00037 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 promulgated by the Health Resources and Services Administration and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2) Shall have complied with all the requirements under this section. (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) May not be employees of HRSA or any other company, organization, or individual involved with the design, production, execution, judging, or distribution of the Challenge and their immediate family (i.e., spouse, parents and step-parents, siblings and stepsiblings, and children and stepchildren) and household members (i.e., people who share the same residence at least 3 months out of the year). (7) In the case of a federal grantee, may not use federal funds to develop COMPETES Act challenge applications unless consistent with the purpose of their grant award. (8) In the case of a federal contractor, 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) Shall not be deemed ineligible because the individual or entity used federal facilities or consulted with federal employees during a competition if the facilities and employees are made equitably available to all individuals and entities participating in the competition. (10) Must 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 my participation in this prize contest, whether the injury, death, damage, or loss arises through negligence or otherwise. (11) Must also agree to indemnify the federal government against third party claims for damages arising from or related to competition activities. (12) Shall not be currently on the Excluded Parties List (https:// www.epls.gov/). E:\FR\FM\17SEN1.SGM 17SEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 180 / Thursday, September 17, 2015 / Notices Registration Process for Participants Participants can find out more information at https:// www.challenge.gov/list/. Evidence base The first stage of the prize competition aims to attract a large set of ideas and innovators. The target product of the first stage will be the conceptualization of the most promising innovations to help support parental and caregiver behavior change around the early language environment. The submissions should aim to demonstrate that the proposed intervention will be accessible across diverse backgrounds and easily implemented by users. The Phase 1 Submission shall include: 1. A comprehensive description of the proposed intervention in 5 pages or less, including: a. A one-paragraph executive summary that clearly states the question to be solved; b. Background information linking the evidence to support the intervention; c. A descriptive analysis of how the applicant arrived at their idea; d. Descriptions of the methods and technologies involved in implementation of the intervention; and 2. An assessment describing the applicant’s ability to execute the proposed solution in Phase 2 and 3. Prizes • Total: Up to $300,000 in Prizes Æ Phase 1: 7–10 winners, up to $10,000 each Æ Phase 2: 3–5 winners; up to $25,000 each Æ Phase 3: 1 winner; up to $100,000 Sustainability Phase 2—Development and Small Scale Testing Accessibility • Is the proposed intervention able to be easily utilized by parents of diverse economic, social, and cultural backgrounds? Is it functional across disciplines/users? Submission Requirements The Challenge has three phases. Phase 1—Design The winners of Phase 1 of the prize competition will then advance to a second stage focused on prototyping the intervention, and testing the effectiveness of the intervention. Using support from the Phase 1 prize funding, intervention developers will test the efficacy of their models to show that the proposed intervention demonstrates an impact on the outcomes of interest for children and families. The applicants should demonstrate both the evidence base for the intervention and its usability. Mentors will be made available to help solvers design appropriate testing methodologies and learn more about the evidence base. Phase 3—Scaling tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 55863 The winners of Phase 2 will move to the final phase of the Word Gap Incentive Prize, which will involve testing the most promising models at greater scale through rollout at the program or community level. This will test the scalability of the device at lowcost, the feasibility of implementation, and the impact on the intended outcomes. Applicants will be assisted in matching their submission with a community or program. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:30 Sep 16, 2015 Jkt 235001 Payment of the Prizes Prize will be paid by HRSA’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau. Basis for Winner Selection The challenge entries will be deidentified and then will be judged by a review panel composed of HHS employees and experts in compliance with the requirements of the COMPETES Act and the Department of Health and Human Services judging guidelines: http://www.hhs.gov/idealab/ wp-content/uploads/2014/04/HHSCOMPETITION-JUDGINGGUIDELINES.pdf. The review panel will make selections based upon the following criteria: Phase 1 In Phase 1, proposed interventions to be judged on the following criteria: Measurability • How easily will the proposed intervention be evaluated in order to determine its efficacy (in both lab testing and in the real world)? Is the proposed intervention measurable among various audiences? Sustainability • Is the proposed intervention ‘‘sticky?’’ Does it fit into daily life? Is it fun to use? Impact • Does the applicant present a theory or explanation of how the proposed intervention would inspire behavior change? Phase 2 In Phase 2, interventions will be judged on the following criteria: Impact • How did the intervention impact target outcomes for parents/caregivers and children? What did the data show? PO 00000 Frm 00038 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 • Is the intervention grounded in existing science related to the word gap, behavior change, etc.? • Was the intervention ‘‘sticky’’ among users? Did users want to continuously engage with the program? Implementation • How feasible is the intervention? How much support for implementation will the intervention require (estimated financial and time commitment)? Phase 3 In Phase 3, interventions will be judged on the following criteria: Impact • How effective was the intervention when implemented at scale? Did the impacts on parents/caregivers from Phase 2 remain consistent? Implementation • How feasible was the intervention on a larger scale? How much support for implementation did the model require (financial and time commitment)? How challenging was the actual program implementation? Scalability • How costly was the intervention in a real-world setting? How likely are cost efficiencies for program delivery at greater scale? Can the device be used in existing platforms? In order for an entry to be eligible to win this Challenge, it must meet the following requirement: Additional Information General Conditions: HRSA reserves the right to cancel, suspend, and/or modify the contest, or any part of it, for any reason, at HRSA’s sole discretion. The interventions submitted across all phases should not use the HHS or HRSA logos or official seals in the submission, and must not claim endorsement. Intellectual Property • Each entrant retains full ownership and title 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 HRSA a limited, non-exclusive, royalty-free, worldwide license and right to reproduce, publically perform, publically display, and use the submission for internal HHS business and to the extent necessary to E:\FR\FM\17SEN1.SGM 17SEN1 55864 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 180 / Thursday, September 17, 2015 / Notices administer the challenge, and to publically perform and publically display the submission, including, without limitation, for advertising and promotional purposes relating to the challenge. • Record Retention and FOIA: All materials submitted to HRSA as part of a submission become HRSA records and cannot be returned. Any confidential commercial information contained in a submission should be designated at the time of submission. Submitters will be notified of any Freedom of Information Act requests for their submissions in accordance with 45 CFR 5.65. Dated: September 14, 2015. James Macrae, Acting Administrator. [FR Doc. 2015–23358 Filed 9–16–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4165–15–P DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed Meetings tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.), notice is hereby given of the following meetings. The meetings will be closed to the public in accordance with the provisions set forth in sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), Title 5 U.S.C., as amended. The grant applications and the discussions could disclose confidential trade secrets or commercial property such as patentable material, and personal information concerning individuals associated with the grant applications, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. Name of Committee: Cardiovascular and Respiratory Sciences Integrated Review Group; Electrical Signaling, Ion Transport, and Arrhythmias Study Section. Date: October 8, 2015. Time: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications. Place: The Dupont Hotel, 1500 New Hampshire Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20036. Contact Person: Chee Lim, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 4128, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301– 435–1850, limc4@csr.nih.gov. Name of Committee: Oncology 1-Basic Translational Integrated Review Group; Cancer Genetics Study Section. Date: October 14, 2015. Time: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:30 Sep 16, 2015 Jkt 235001 Place: St. Gregory Hotel, 2033 M Street NW., Washington, DC 20036. Contact Person: Michael L. Bloom, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 6187, MSC 7804, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301–451– 0132, bloomm2@mail.nih.gov. Name of Committee: Brain Disorders and Clinical Neuroscience Integrated Review Group; Chronic Dysfunction and Integrative Neurodegeneration Study Section. Date: October 15, 2015–October 16, 2016. Time: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications. Place: Wyndham Grand Chicago Riverfront Hotel, 71 E Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL 60601. Contact Person: Alexei Kondratyev, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 5200, MSC 7846, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301–435– 1785, kondratyevad@csr.nih.gov. Name of Committee: Brain Disorders and Clinical Neuroscience Integrated Review Group; Brain Injury and Neurovascular Pathologies Study Section. Date: October 15–16, 2015. Time: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications. Place: Wyndham Grand Chicago Riverfront Hotel, 71 E Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL 60601. Contact Person: Alexander Yakovlev, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 5206, MSC 7846, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301–435– 1254, yakovleva@csr.nih.gov. Name of Committee: Oncology 1—Basic Translational Integrated Review Group; Tumor Cell Biology Study Section. Date: October 15–16, 2015. Time: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications. Place: Hilton Alexandria Old Town, 1767 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. Contact Person: Charles Morrow, MD, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 6202, MSC 7804, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301–408– 9850, morrowcs@csr.nih.gov. Name of Committee: Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Neuroscience Integrated Review Group; Biophysics of Neural Systems Study Section. Date: October 15–16, 2015. Time: 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications. Place: Hotel Monaco, 700 F Street NW., Washington, DC 20001. Contact Person: Geoffrey G. Schofield, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 4040–A, MSC 7850, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301–435– 1235, geoffreys@csr.nih.gov. Name of Committee: Center for Scientific Review Special Emphasis Panel; Member Conflict: Liver Pathobiology and Toxicology. Date: October 15, 2015. PO 00000 Frm 00039 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Time: 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications. Place: National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892, (Telephone Conference Call). Contact Person: Mushtaq A. Khan, DVM, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 2176, MSC 7818, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301–435– 1778, khanm@csr.nih.gov. Name of Committee: Center for Scientific Review Special Emphasis Panel; PAR Panel: SBIR/STTR Serious STEM Games. Date: October 19, 2015. Time: 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications. Place: National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892. Contact Person: Sergei Ruvinov, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 4158, MSC 7806, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301–435– 1180, ruvinser@csr.nih.gov. Name of Committee: Center for Scientific Review Special Emphasis Panel; Enabling Bioanalytical and Imaging Technologies. Date: October 20, 2015. Time: 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications. Place: Residence Inn Washington, DC Downtown, 1199 Vermont Ave NW., Washington, DC 20005. Contact Person: Kenneth Ryan, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 3218, MSC 7717, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301–435– 0229, kenneth.ryan@nih.hhs.gov. Name of Committee: Center for Scientific Review Special Emphasis Panel; Urologic and Urogynecologic Applications. Date: October 22, 2015. Time: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications. Place: Crowne Plaza Washington National Airport, 1489 Jefferson Davis Hwy, Arlington, VA 22202. Contact Person: Ryan G. Morris, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 4205, MSC 7814, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301–435– 1501, morrisr@csr.nih.gov. Name of Committee: Center for Scientific Review Special Emphasis Panel; Fellowship: Immunology. Date: October 22–23, 2015. Time: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications. Place: Embassy Suites at the Chevy Chase Pavilion, 4300 Military Road NW., Washington, DC 20015. Contact Person: Alok Mulky, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review (CSR), National Institutes of Health (NIH), 6701 Rockledge Dr, Room 4203, Bethesda, MD 20817, (301) 435–3566, alok.mulky@nih.gov. E:\FR\FM\17SEN1.SGM 17SEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 180 (Thursday, September 17, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 55861-55864]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-23358]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

Health Resources and Services Administration


Bridging the Word Gap Competition Challenge

AGENCY: Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA, Department 
of Health and Human Services (HHS).

ACTION: Notice.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), 
Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), announces the funding 
opportunity for the Bridging the Word Gap Incentive Prize Challenge.
    MCHB is sponsoring the Word Gap Challenge (Challenge) to spur 
innovative solutions to promote the early language environment and 
address the ``word gap,'' the large difference in exposure to language 
for children from low-income families as compared to children from 
higher-income families. This Challenge will reward the development and 
testing of scalable innovations that drive behavior change among 
parents and caregivers.
    The goal of the Challenge is to develop a low-cost, scalable 
technologically-based intervention that drives parents and caregivers 
to talk and engage in more back-and-forth interactions with their young 
children (ages 0-4).
    This Challenge, structured in three phases, with a narrowing of 
applicants through each phase to result in one final winner, will reach 
a diverse population of innovators and solvers, including coders, 
public health experts, individuals affiliated with academic 
institutions, research and development communities in the private 
sector, and others.
    All submissions will be evaluated; separate prizes will be awarded 
for each of the three phases below.
Phase 1: Design
Phase 2: Development and Small Scale Testing
Phase 3: Scaling
    The statutory authority for this challenge competition is Section 
105 of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 (COMPETES Act, 
Pub. L. 111-358).
    Estimated dates for each phase are as follows:
Phase 1: Effective on September 30, 2015
Phase 1 Submission ends: December 31, 2015, 11:59 p.m. ET
Phase 1 Judging Period: January 1-January 31, 2016

[[Page 55862]]

Phase 1 Winners Announced: February 10, 2016
Phase 2 Begins: February 11, 2016
Phase 2 Submission Period Ends: July 11, 2016
Phase 2 Judging Period: July 12-August 12, 2016
Phase 2 Winners Announced: August 20, 2016
Phase 3 Begins: August 21, 2016
Phase 3 Submission Period Ends: February 21, 2017
Phase 3 Winner Announced: March 1, 2017

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jessie Buerlein, MSW, 301-443-8931, or 
James Resnick, 301-443-3222.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Subject of Challenge Competition

    There is evidence that socioeconomic status (SES) is a strong 
indicator of school achievement, and that children from lower SES 
backgrounds exhibit a delay in early literacy skills, a slower 
vocabulary acquisition rate, and lower school readiness rates.\1\ Once 
American children enter kindergarten, there is a significant, prevalent 
gap between children from higher versus lower SES backgrounds in 
average oral language skills,\2\ referred to as the ``word gap.'' There 
is also growing evidence that early language exposure for children may 
not only have a significant influence on language development and 
school achievement, but on the overall trajectory of children's lives, 
including later academic and occupation success.\3\ Existing literature 
reveals several key themes in addressing the language gap, including 
the significant role of the caregiver in the home, and the 
effectiveness of engaging parents in language interventions.\4\ A 
significant influence on children's language development is the context 
of parenting and parent responsiveness to children's early language 
acquisition.\5\ Research in this area shows that both the quality and 
quantity of speech spoken at home during daily interactions influences 
the relationship between SES and child language skills at school 
entry.\6\ However, research also shows that interventions engaging 
parents and increasing their knowledge of child development and the 
importance of child-directed talk may be an effective route to 
preventing and addressing the SES language gap.\7\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ Suskind D., Kuhl, P., Leffel, K.R., Landry, S., Cunha, F., & 
Necherman, K.M. (2013). Bridging the early language gap: A plan for 
scaling up. (A White Paper prepared for the White House meeting on 
``Bridging the Thirty-Million-Word Gap).''
    \2\ Rowe, M.L., Suskind, D., & Hoff, E. (2013) Early language 
gaps: Sources and solutions. (A White Paper prepared for the White 
House meeting on ``Bridging the Thirty-Million-Word Gap).''
    \3\ Suskind D., Kuhl, P., Leffel, K.R., Landry, S., Cunha, F., & 
Necherman, K.M. (2013). Bridging the early language gap: A plan for 
scaling up. (A White Paper prepared for the White House meeting on 
``Bridging the Thirty-Million-Word Gap).''
    \4\ Roberts, M.Y., & Kaiser, A.P. (2011). The effectiveness of 
parent-implemented language interventions: A meta-analysis. American 
Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 20, 180-199.
    \5\ Suskind D., Kuhl, P., Leffel, K.R., Landry, S., Cunha, F., & 
Necherman, K.M. (2013). Bridging the early language gap: A plan for 
scaling up. (A White Paper prepared for the White House meeting on 
``Bridging the Thirty-Million-Word Gap).''
    \6\ Hoff, E. (2009) Do vocabulary differences explain 
achievement gaps and can vocabulary-targeted interventions close 
them? (Prepared for the National Research Council workshop on the 
Role of Language in Education.)
    \7\ Ibid.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The research base has improved markedly over the last two decades, 
making a strong case that addressing the word gap is a critical social 
challenge that may help promote equitable opportunity for all children. 
The frequency and quality of child-directed talk and back and forth 
interactions between children and their parents have consequences for 
what is learned and is associated with significant disparities in 
vocabulary size, school readiness, and long-term educational outcomes.
    Technologies now exist to support low-cost, broadly scalable 
approaches to helping parents and caregivers focus on the early 
language environment, and the technical expertise exists to address the 
issue in creative ways. This challenge aims to cultivate an environment 
to attract a broad array of innovators from outside disciplines to 
propose inventive, creative, and effective ideas to address the word 
gap by encouraging higher frequency and higher quality interaction 
between parents/caregivers and children. This is an opportunity for 
applicants to get national visibility, by the leading experts and 
organizations in the field, for new ideas on solving this problem of 
national importance. This is also an opportunity for applicants to 
access testing environments and design expertise as they move forward 
through the Challenge phases.
    When developing submissions, participants should consider the 
context of the user. The submission should be easily utilized by those 
of diverse cultural, socioeconomic, and literacy level backgrounds, 
including parents and children who are dual language speakers.

Eligibility Rules for Participating in the Competition

    To be eligible to win a prize under this challenge, an individual 
or entity--
    (1) Shall have registered to participate in the competition under 
the rules promulgated by the Health Resources and Services 
Administration and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
    (2) Shall have complied with all the requirements under this 
section.
    (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) May not be employees of HRSA or any other company, 
organization, or individual involved with the design, production, 
execution, judging, or distribution of the Challenge and their 
immediate family (i.e., spouse, parents and step-parents, siblings and 
step-siblings, and children and step-children) and household members 
(i.e., people who share the same residence at least 3 months out of the 
year).
    (7) In the case of a federal grantee, may not use federal funds to 
develop COMPETES Act challenge applications unless consistent with the 
purpose of their grant award.
    (8) In the case of a federal contractor, 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) Shall not be deemed ineligible because the individual or entity 
used federal facilities or consulted with federal employees during a 
competition if the facilities and employees are made equitably 
available to all individuals and entities participating in the 
competition.
    (10) Must 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 my participation in this prize contest, 
whether the injury, death, damage, or loss arises through negligence or 
otherwise.
    (11) Must also agree to indemnify the federal government against 
third party claims for damages arising from or related to competition 
activities.
    (12) Shall not be currently on the Excluded Parties List (https://www.epls.gov/).

[[Page 55863]]

Submission Requirements

    The Challenge has three phases.

Phase 1--Design

    The first stage of the prize competition aims to attract a large 
set of ideas and innovators. The target product of the first stage will 
be the conceptualization of the most promising innovations to help 
support parental and caregiver behavior change around the early 
language environment. The submissions should aim to demonstrate that 
the proposed intervention will be accessible across diverse backgrounds 
and easily implemented by users.
    The Phase 1 Submission shall include:
    1. A comprehensive description of the proposed intervention in 5 
pages or less, including:
    a. A one-paragraph executive summary that clearly states the 
question to be solved;
    b. Background information linking the evidence to support the 
intervention;
    c. A descriptive analysis of how the applicant arrived at their 
idea;
    d. Descriptions of the methods and technologies involved in 
implementation of the intervention; and
    2. An assessment describing the applicant's ability to execute the 
proposed solution in Phase 2 and 3.

Phase 2--Development and Small Scale Testing

    The winners of Phase 1 of the prize competition will then advance 
to a second stage focused on prototyping the intervention, and testing 
the effectiveness of the intervention. Using support from the Phase 1 
prize funding, intervention developers will test the efficacy of their 
models to show that the proposed intervention demonstrates an impact on 
the outcomes of interest for children and families. The applicants 
should demonstrate both the evidence base for the intervention and its 
usability. Mentors will be made available to help solvers design 
appropriate testing methodologies and learn more about the evidence 
base.

Phase 3--Scaling

    The winners of Phase 2 will move to the final phase of the Word Gap 
Incentive Prize, which will involve testing the most promising models 
at greater scale through rollout at the program or community level. 
This will test the scalability of the device at low-cost, the 
feasibility of implementation, and the impact on the intended outcomes. 
Applicants will be assisted in matching their submission with a 
community or program.

Registration Process for Participants

    Participants can find out more information at https://www.challenge.gov/list/.

Prizes

     Total: Up to $300,000 in Prizes
    [cir] Phase 1: 7-10 winners, up to $10,000 each
    [cir] Phase 2: 3-5 winners; up to $25,000 each
    [cir] Phase 3: 1 winner; up to $100,000

Payment of the Prizes

    Prize will be paid by HRSA's Maternal and Child Health Bureau.

Basis for Winner Selection

    The challenge entries will be de-identified and then will be judged 
by a review panel composed of HHS employees and experts in compliance 
with the requirements of the COMPETES Act and the Department of Health 
and Human Services judging guidelines: http://www.hhs.gov/idealab/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/HHS-COMPETITION-JUDGING-GUIDELINES.pdf. The 
review panel will make selections based upon the following criteria:

Phase 1

    In Phase 1, proposed interventions to be judged on the following 
criteria:
Accessibility
     Is the proposed intervention able to be easily utilized by 
parents of diverse economic, social, and cultural backgrounds? Is it 
functional across disciplines/users?
Measurability
     How easily will the proposed intervention be evaluated in 
order to determine its efficacy (in both lab testing and in the real 
world)? Is the proposed intervention measurable among various 
audiences?
Sustainability
     Is the proposed intervention ``sticky?'' Does it fit into 
daily life? Is it fun to use?
Impact
     Does the applicant present a theory or explanation of how 
the proposed intervention would inspire behavior change?

Phase 2

    In Phase 2, interventions will be judged on the following criteria:
Impact
     How did the intervention impact target outcomes for 
parents/caregivers and children? What did the data show?
Evidence base
     Is the intervention grounded in existing science related 
to the word gap, behavior change, etc.?
Sustainability
     Was the intervention ``sticky'' among users? Did users 
want to continuously engage with the program?
Implementation
     How feasible is the intervention? How much support for 
implementation will the intervention require (estimated financial and 
time commitment)?

Phase 3

    In Phase 3, interventions will be judged on the following criteria:
Impact
     How effective was the intervention when implemented at 
scale? Did the impacts on parents/caregivers from Phase 2 remain 
consistent?
Implementation
     How feasible was the intervention on a larger scale? How 
much support for implementation did the model require (financial and 
time commitment)? How challenging was the actual program 
implementation?
Scalability
     How costly was the intervention in a real-world setting? 
How likely are cost efficiencies for program delivery at greater scale? 
Can the device be used in existing platforms?
    In order for an entry to be eligible to win this Challenge, it must 
meet the following requirement:

Additional Information

    General Conditions: HRSA reserves the right to cancel, suspend, 
and/or modify the contest, or any part of it, for any reason, at HRSA's 
sole discretion.
    The interventions submitted across all phases should not use the 
HHS or HRSA logos or official seals in the submission, and must not 
claim endorsement.

Intellectual Property

     Each entrant retains full ownership and title 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 HRSA a limited, non-exclusive, royalty-free, 
worldwide license and right to reproduce, publically perform, 
publically display, and use the submission for internal HHS business 
and to the extent necessary to

[[Page 55864]]

administer the challenge, and to publically perform and publically 
display the submission, including, without limitation, for advertising 
and promotional purposes relating to the challenge.
     Record Retention and FOIA: All materials submitted to HRSA 
as part of a submission become HRSA records and cannot be returned. Any 
confidential commercial information contained in a submission should be 
designated at the time of submission. Submitters will be notified of 
any Freedom of Information Act requests for their submissions in 
accordance with 45 CFR 5.65.

    Dated: September 14, 2015.
James Macrae,
Acting Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2015-23358 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4165-15-P