Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Eligibility and Intellectual Property

Submission Requirements

Public Voting

General Questions

How do I follow the challenge?

Click "follow the challenge" on the home page to register. When you register for the challenge, you'll automatically be signed up to receive updates regarding the challenge.

How do I enter the challenge?

To enter the challenge, submit an idea responding to one of the three campaigns listed on the homepage. Submissions may include a written description of the idea of no more than 2,800 characters (including spaces), or may include a video describing the idea of no more than 2 minutes and 30 seconds in length. Before submitting an idea, new users will be prompted to register for the challenge and existing users will be prompted to login.

How will prizes be awarded?

Prizes will be awarded for the best ideas in each of the three campaigns described on the homepage. After the submission period ends, all ideas will be reviewed and the judges will select the best ideas using the criteria described in the rules section. The judges will award a First, Second and Third place prize in each campaign based on this criteria. See the prizes page for award amounts.

Additionally, there will be a "Public Choice" prize given in each campaign. This prize will be awarded to the idea which receives the most votes during the public voting period, from December 2 - 13, 2013. During this period, members of the public who visit the challenge home page will see all the ideas submitted, and may vote for ideas they think are good.

Who can I contact if I have questions about the American Energy Data Challenge?

For technical questions about submitting an idea, or if you're having problems with the website, email For general questions about the challenge, send an email to

Back to top

Eligibility and Intellectual Property

Who is eligible to enter the challenge?

The challenge is open to individuals and teams of individuals who are citizens or permanenet residents of the United States and who are over the age of 13 as of November 6, 2013. The contest is not open to individuals or organizations outside the United States.

We are an organization. Can we enter?

Organizations that are domiciled in the United States may enter and participate in the challenge.

I work for the U.S. Federal Government. Can I enter?

Employees of the National Institute of Standards (NIST) and the Department of Energy, as well as the immediate family members of these employees are not eligible to enter the contest. All other federal employees are eligible to join the contest.

Can I submit concept or an idea for a "Killer app" if I've already submitted it to another contest?

All submissions must be new ideas and may not have been entered in any other contest. Additionally, judges will favor original ideas in the evaluation process, so ideas that are not similar to an application or product already on the market will have a better chance of winning.

Can more than one person work on an idea and receive credit for it? And if we win, how will the funding be split among the creators?

Yes, teams are encouraged to enter the challenge. Teams should select a "team leader" to submit ideas on behalf of the team. If a team of individuals or an organization is selected as an award winner, the full funding amount will be sent to the individual who submitted the idea. It is up to this submitter to allocate the funding money among the team members.

Can I win in more than one category?

Yes, individual submitters may win in more than one category.

Do I retain intellectual property ownership?

No. Contest #1 is all about sharing and discussing good ideas, with the goal of others using those ideas to create new things. Therefore, ideas submitted in Contest #1 must be released to the public under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License

By making a Submission, a Contestant is deemed to have thereby granted to the Sponsor, Administrator, Promotion Entities, and any other third parties acting on the Sponsor's behalf, a royalty-free, non-exclusive, worldwide perpetual license to display publicly and use the Submission. This license includes posting or linking to the Public Submission on Sponsor's and Administrator's websites and applications, including the Challenge Website, Sponsor websites, and partner websites, and inclusion of the Submission in any other media, worldwide. The Non-Public Submission may be viewed by the Sponsor, Administrator, and Judges for purposes of the Challenge, including but not limited to screening and evaluation purposes. The Sponsor and Administrator, and any third parties acting on their behalf will also have the right to publicize Contestant's name and, as applicable, the names of Contestant's team members, Organization, or Large Organization which participated in the Submission on the Challenge Website for a period of three years following the conclusion of the Challenge.

What will the Department of Energy do with my submission?

We will evaluate all ideas submitted as a part of the challenge, and use them to help direct our data initiatives. Additionally, submissions may be used to guide future campaigs in the American Energy Data Challenge.

The Department of Energy and other federal agencies have the right to publicly display or link to your submission on the challenge website and other websites. They will also be allowed to publicize your name in connection with the submission and the challenge during the competition and for 36 months after its conclusion.

Back to top

Submission Requirements

Where can I find a list of existing Department of Energy Datasets? Can I include reference to other APIs or datasets in my submission?

The Department of Energy has several online data catalogs that list multiple energy datasets. You can browse these catalogs to discover the datasets available to reference when you are submitting an idea for how to use an existing DOE dataset as a part of Contest #1. Visit the rules section to see a list of these data catalogs.

You are welcome to use datasets and APIs in addition to those listed in these catalogs as a part of your submission.

Do I have to upload a video?

No. Videos are optional, but may assist in helping explain your idea.

How do I upload my video?

Videos must be uploaded to YouTube. You can read about how to upload a video to YouTube using these instructions. Once the video is uploaded to YouTube, submit a link to the video as a part of your entry. Ensure that the video is no more than 2 minutes and 30 seconds in length. Videos longer than 2:30 will not be eligible for a prize.

Back to top

Public Voting

Do I need to register for the contest in order to vote for an idea or submission?

Yes. Before you can vote for a submission, please sign up or log in to your Ideascale account.

Do tweets and Facebook likes count as votes?

No, only votes cast through the Ideascale platform will be counted for the public choice award.

Can I create more than one account to vote?

No, the use of multiple email addresses or any form of automated vote processes will disqualify all votes from the person.

Can I pay people to vote for me?

You may not pay or otherwise compensate anyone or provide any other type of consideration in exchange for votes.

Are votes checked for eligibility before the People’s Choice award winner is determined?

We take the integrity of the competition extremely seriously, and verify all votes using a variety of methods before a People’s Choice award winner is determined.

What do I do if I think someone is cheating to get more votes?

Send us an email at and include a link to the submission in question.

NOTE: In the event of a discrepancy between these FAQs and the Official Rules, the Official Rules shall take precedent.