The Biden Admin Holds $500,000 Contest to Improve Face Mask Designs

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has launched a $500,000 “Mask Innovation Challenge” to improve the design of face masks, CNN reports.

The contest launched last week and offers $500,000 in cash incentives for anyone willing to reinvent face masks. Participants have until April 21 to submit innovative ideas.

Acting assistant secretary for preparedness and response at HHS, Nikki Bratcher-Bowman, said in a press release, “We know that properly and consistently worn face masks help reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory infections, but many people are reluctant to wear them for a variety of reasons.”

“With this mask challenge, we want to get people across the country involved in developing new masks that are both effective and comfortable. This will help us control COVID-19 and be better prepared for future public health emergencies,” Bratcher-Bowman said.

Participants must be a US citizen or legal resident to receive a prize.

Up to 10 winners will be chosen in the first phase of the challenge and will split a $100,000 prize, with each person taking home up to $10,000, CNN reports.

According to CNN, “the mask prototypes will be tested to see if they meet filtration and airflow resistance criteria.” Five winners will be chosen to split a $400,000 prize.

About Catherine Smith

Catherine Smith is a newcomer to Washington D.C. She met and married an American journalist and moved to D.C. from the U.K. She graduated with a B.A. in Graphics, Media, and Communications and worked in design and retail in the U.K.

Photo: WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 24: U.S. President Joe Biden replaces his face mask following an Equal Pay Day event in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on March 24, 2021 in Washington, DC. Highlighting the gender pay gap, Equal Pay Day raises awareness that women in the United States earned $0.82 for every dollar men earned in 2019, according to the National Committee on Pay Equity. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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