Antimicrobial Resistance Diagnostic Challenge

The Antimicrobial Resistance Diagnostic Challenge is a $20 million federal prize competition seeking innovative, rapid point-of-care laboratory diagnostic tests to combat the development and spread of drug resistant bacteria. A rising public health problem, antibiotic resistant bacteria cause at least 2 million infections and 23,000 deaths each year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  The Challenge calls for new, innovative, and novel laboratory diagnostic tests that identify and characterize antibiotic resistant bacteria and/or distinguish between viral and bacterial infections to reduce unnecessary uses of antibiotics, a major cause of antibiotic resistance. With real-time detection, healthcare providers would be able to identify infecting pathogens and resistance factors within hours, rather than days, and use the knowledge to tailor treatment to each individual.

The Challenge is a joint effort between the National Institutes of Health and the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) in support of the National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria. NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and ASPR’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) are each contributing $10 million to the Challenge. The Challenge also was developed with technical and regulatory expertise from the CDC, Food and Drug Administration, and NIH Office of the Director.

For more information about the challenge or how to apply, please visit the challenge website.Exit Disclaimer


March 27, 2017
Antimicrobial Resistance Diagnostic Challenge selects 10 semifinalists in first phase of competition

October 3, 2016
Notice of Correction for Announcement of Requirements and Registration for "Antimicrobial Resistance Rapid, Point-of-Care Diagnostic Test" Challenge (NOT-OD-17-004)

September 8, 2016
Federal prize competition seeks innovative ideas to combat antimicrobial resistance
Announcement of Antimicrobial Resistance Rapid, Point-of-Care Diagnostic Test Challenge Competition (NOT-OD-16-137)

October 7, 2015
Public Consultation on Antimicrobial Resistance Rapid, Point-of-Care Diagnostic Test Challenge

September 18, 2014
NIH Director’s Statement on Prize for Diagnostic Devices to Identify Antimicrobial Resistant Bacterial Infections


Step One: Initial Concepts Submitted and Semifinalists Selected

From all submitted concepts, 10 semifinalists were selected, each receiving $50,000 to develop prototypes and analytical data for their diagnostic devices. More information about the concept submissions can be found here

Deadline for Letter of Intent: December 23, 2016
Deadline for submissions: January 9, 2017
Semifinalist selected: March 27, 2017

Step Two: Finalists Selected

Ten finalists will be selected to receive up to $100,000 each to develop and supply their prototypes for testing by two CLIA-certified independent laboratories.  

Deadline for submissions: September 4, 2018
Finalist selection: December 3, 2018

Step Three: Winners Selected

Up to three winners will share an amount equal or greater than $18 million to further develop and produce their prototypes.

Deadline for submissions: January 3, 2020
Winners selected: July 31, 2020

Additional Updates:

The letter of intent must be submitted by December 23, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. ET, for all “Solvers” planning to submit for the Step 1 (Theoretical) stage of the competition.

Submissions for Step 1 of the Challenge competition received after the deadline of January 9, 2017, at 11:59 p.m. ET will be disqualified and not evaluated by the Technical Evaluation Panel or Judging Panel.

Solvers may submit corrections or additional materials in support of their Step 1 submissions so long as the NIH receives the materials by the deadline of January 9, 2017, at 11:59pm ET.  Corrections or additional materials for Step 1 will not be accepted or evaluated by the Technical Evaluation Panel or Judging Panel if they are received after January 9, 2017 at 11:59pm ET. 

Any Appendix submitted for Step 1 of the Challenge competition must be limited to 5 pages or less in length.  If a longer Appendix is submitted, only the first 5 pages will be considered by the Technical Evaluation Panel and the Judging Panel. The September 8, 2016 announcement incorrectly stated that there was no page length for the Appendix material.

The NIH will perform an initial review of all submissions to ensure they are complete and within the scope of the Challenge competition.  Submissions that are incomplete will be administratively disqualified and will not be evaluated by the Technical Evaluation Panel or the Judging Panel.

The NIH and the ASPR/BARDA may determine that based on the number of submissions received for Step 1 that less competitive submissions will not be discussed by the Technical Evaluation Panel during the Panel’s meeting. 

The “Solver” needs to address the NIH Human Subjects Protections and Inclusion of Women, Children, and Minorities policies in their submissions for Step 1 of this competition.

Members of the Technical Evaluation Panel are not eligible to participate in or contribute to any proposal for Step 2 and Step 3 of the Challenge competition.

Any Solver is eligible for Step 2 of this Challenge competition.  For example, if a Step 1 “Solver” is not identified as a semifinalist, he/she may still submit for Step 2 of this competition and those who did not submit a Step 1 proposal may still submit a proposal for Step 2.

All submissions for Step 1, 2, and 3 must be in English.

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This page last reviewed on March 31, 2017