2022 DARPA AI Tools for Adult Learning
Official Rules

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN THE COMPETITION. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

Goal

The goal of the DARPA AI Tools for Adult Learning Competition is to solicit innovative AI solutions that enhance adult education for the complex topics necessary for the future national security workforce (e.g., AI Engineering and Cyber Defense). In particular, AI tutoring, including effective tools for knowledge modeling and real-time adaptation to learners’ needs, could dramatically improve learning success, particularly in increasingly common remote learning environments.

Competition Sponsor and Administrator

The Competition will be conducted by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA or Sponsor or we or us). The Learning Agency LLC¹ (the Administrator) which is located at 715 H Street NE PWB 93369, Washington, DC 20002, is the administrator of the Competition. Sponsor and the Administrator are working with Georgia State University and its cooperative research-organization (collectively, the Academic Partner) to facilitate the administration of the Competition. You acknowledge that neither the Administrator, Sponsor, nor the Academic Partner will be responsible or liable for any acts and omissions of any of the others.

Eligibility²

A Team is comprised of an entrant (US Entity³ or individual) (the Entrant), an individual team leader and an optional set of team members (individuals). Individual Entrants may be the same individual named as team leader. If the Entrant is a US Entity rather than an individual, the team must identify an Entrant official. Teams may enter under an official affiliation (e.g., a university or corporation). Teams may also have an official set of sponsors.

The Competition is open to team members of all nationalities and of all ages with the following caveats:

  • Participation by minors requires authorization by a parent or guardian.
  • An Entrant must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or US Entity. International participants can participate as part of a team but are not eligible to be an Entrant or to receive any portion of the prize.
  • An individual, organization, or sponsor is not eligible to apply or participate if he, she, or it is on the Specially Designated Nationals list.⁴

Teams are intended to be wholly separate entities that do not share members, unique technology, official affiliations or financial interest.

Federal entities (from the US or any other country) are not eligible to participate as Entrants, sponsors or official affiliates. Federal employees acting within the scope of their employment are not eligible to participate as Entrants, Entrant officials, team leaders or team members.

A Federal employee acting outside the scope of his or her employment should consult his or her ethics official before participating in the Competition. DARPA employees and support contractors, their spouses, dependents, and household members are not eligible to participate.

Any personnel funded by DARPA to support the Competition are not eligible to participate. Employees of DARPA, Competition and fulfillment agencies, directors, and officers, and each of their respective immediate family members and persons living in their same household (whether legally related or not), are not eligible to participate in the Competition.

The Sponsor and Administrator reserve the right to disqualify a participant whose actions are deemed to violate the spirit of the Competition for any reason, including but not limited to, the violation of relevant laws or regulations in the course of participation in the Competition.

It will be the Sponsor’s and Administrator’s sole decision as to whether any eligibility requirement has or has not been met. Sponsor or Administrator may require evidence or confirmation from Entrants and other participants at any time.

Only Entrants are eligible to win a cash prize. To be eligible to win a cash prize, 1) an individual Entrant, whether participating singly or in a group, shall be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States and an entity Entrant shall be incorporated in and maintain a primary place of business in the United States and 2) an Entrant may not be a Federal entity or Federal employee acting within the scope of their employment.

Entrant as an Individual

The Competition Entrant must (a) be able to receive payments legally from the United States in US dollars, (b) be competing in a jurisdiction in which the Competition is not prohibited by applicable law; (c) have a bank account into which funds can legally be deposited from the United States in US dollars; (d) not have withdrawn, been terminated, or disqualified from the Competition; and (e) be fully in compliance with these Rules.

Entrant as a U.S. Entity

If the Entrant is a US Entity rather than an individual, you must (a) be incorporated in and maintain a primary place of business in the United States and be validly existing, duly organized, and in good standing in the jurisdiction of your organization, (b) be able to receive payments legally from the United States in U.S. dollars, (c) be competing in a jurisdiction in which the Competition is not prohibited by applicable law; (d) have a bank account into which funds can legally be deposited from the United States in U.S. dollars; (e) not have withdrawn, been terminated, or disqualified from the Competition; and (f) be in full compliance with these Rules.

Official Rules

Participation in this Competition constitutes each Team member’s, (i.e., Entrant, team leader and/or team members) full and unconditional agreement to the Rules and Sponsor’s and Administrator’s decisions, which are final and binding in all matters related to the Competition.

These Rules are subject to change at any time. We will use commercially reasonable efforts to notify you of any changes to these Rules, including by posting the modified Rules on our website at https://toolscompetition.org/ (the Site). Your continued participation in the Competition after the posting of changes constitutes your binding acceptance of such changes. You should check our Site frequently for any updates to the Rules. IF AT ANY TIME YOU DO NOT AGREE WITH THIS COMPETITION OR THESE RULES, PLEASE IMMEDIATELY WITHDRAW FROM, AND TERMINATE YOUR PARTICIPATION IN, THE COMPETITION.

Competition Period

The Competition begins and ends according to the below schedule. Administrator’s computer is the official time-keeping device for the Competition.

Timeline*
Competition Open November 3, 2022
Entries due December 18, 2022 (11:59:59 pm PST)
Select entries invited to submit detailed proposals January 16, 2023
Detailed proposals due February 24, 2023 (11:59:59 pm PST)
Finalists selected April 21, 2023
Pitches with judges** Mid-to-late May 2023
Winners notified Mid-July 2023
Product Review Day** Fall 2023 (TBA)

* Timeline is subject to change.
** All events will occur virtually unless otherwise noted.

GENERAL REQUIREMENTS

Theme and Criteria

The Competition seeks to leverage technology, data, and learning science to meet the urgent needs of adult learners.

Competition

Teams will be required to address adult learning challenges to prepare a 21st century workforce with continual learning needs. Entrants will identify outstanding challenges in teaching new skills to an adult population through digital platforms and develop AI tools to improve the learning experience and outcomes. Desirable AI-powered tools may include features such as: modeling the learner’s existing skills and adjacent knowledge through interaction, dynamically designing learning plans and assessments to suit individual learning goals, adaptively delivering learning content to optimize outcomes, and improving learners experience of the educational process to improve completion rates for courses.

Submissions will be evaluated based on Sponsor’s chosen criteria, which may be published and revised from time to time by Sponsor. Examples of such criteria may include:

  • Potential impact and likelihood to improve learning
  • Attention to equity to support learning of historically marginalized populations
  • Demand from adults, employers, and communities
  • Ability to support rapid experimentation and continuous improvement
  • Ability to scale to additional users and/or domains
  • Team passion and readiness to execute

Prizes

Entrants are encouraged to seek the prize level that is best suited for their specific capabilities and needs. Entrants will be subject to different requirements depending on the prize level in which they are competing. Entrants seeking the highest prize level will be subject to the most rigorous requirements and aggressive deliverables.

Entrants should use the eligibility quiz made available by Sponsor to help decide the most appropriate prize level in which to compete (the Eligibility Quiz).

Prize levels include:

  • Catalyst Phase Prize: $50,000
    These prizes are aimed at early-stage Teams including students, teachers, civic technologists, or those who need that initial spark of support to move their idea or research toward an operational prototype. This may also include Teams with an existing tool with a non-existent or limited user base. To be competitive for a Catalyst Phase Prize, Entrants must have:

    • A detailed description of the tool or technology
    • A detailed execution plan
    • Commit to implement an evaluation plan over the year following the prize
  • Growth Phase Prizes: $100,000
    These prizes are designed for Teams that have a minimum viable product with some users. To be competitive for a Growth Phase Prize, Entrants must have:

    • A detailed description of the new tool or technology.
    • A detailed execution plan
    • Commit to implement an evaluation plan over the year following the prize
    • A minimum viable product upon which the new tool can build
    • An outside researcher who has agreed to partner for the project or evidence that the tool could enable research from multiple external researchers.
  • Transform Phase Prizes: $250,000
    These prizes are designed for established platforms with more than 10,000 users. To be competitive for a Transform Phase Prize, Entrants must have:

    • A detailed description of the new tool or technology.
    • A detailed execution plan
    • Commit to implement an evaluation plan over the year following the prize
    • An existing platform upon which the new tool would live with at least 10,000 active users.
    • An outside researcher who has agreed to partner for the project or evidence that the tool could enable research from multiple external researchers.

Entries

Initial entries of solutions to the Competition must be submitted using the online portal before the deadline indicated above.

All proposals must be original to the Entrant and his, her or its Team. By submitting a proposal, the Team represents that such proposal and any information in the proposal does not violate the rights of any third party.

In participating in the Competition, you agree (i) to provide accurate, current, and complete information about yourself (and your team as applicable) and (ii) to maintain and promptly update such information, including your proposal, to keep it accurate, current, and complete at all times.

You understand that any material misrepresentation, including omissions, may disqualify you from the Competition.

Cancellation of the Competition

The Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify, extend or suspend this Competition should any virus, bugs, non-authorized human intervention, fraud or other causes beyond its reasonable control corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness or proper conduct of the Competition, and no compensation will be payable.

Process

The Competition will have a three-phase review, each with increasingly intensive requirements.

  • Phase 1: Initial screen. Entrants will submit a description of their proposal using a designated form that includes the prize level requested and a description of themselves and/or their team. Teams are encouraged to take the Eligibility Quiz that will help them determine the most appropriate prize level to request.

    A certain number of Teams will be asked to continue to Phase 2. We have not put a limit on the number of Teams that could be asked to continue to Phase 2 because we want the flexibility to be able to give as many meritorious proposals as possible the opportunity to succeed.

  • Phase 2: Detailed proposal. Teams will submit a detailed proposal, including a budget and plan for execution. The judges will review and select a certain number of finalists. We have not put a limit on the number of finalists because we want the flexibility to support as many meritorious proposals as possible.
  • Phase 3: Pitch. Finalists prepare a pitch and present to a panel of judges. Judges will provide recommendations for the winners. Using these recommendations and other considerations, the Sponsor will make the final determination of the winners and the amount of the prize to be awarded.
  • Product Review Day: Winners will give presentations to demonstrate early progress to fellow winners and others in the field.

Prizes

All prizes will be awarded as follows. 50% of the prize level (i.e., Catalyst Phase, Growth Phase, or Transform Phase Prizes) will be awarded after winners are announced. The remaining 50% may be awarded after Product Review Day, depending on whether the winner has made sufficient progress based on their plan for execution by the Product Review Day as determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion.

The Sponsor’s decision regarding the winners of a prize, modifications to the size of each prize within any prize level, and whether winners will receive the second half of their prize are final and binding in all respects.

The prizes shall be paid by check or direct deposit or as otherwise agreed between a winner and the Sponsor. Prizes will only be paid to the Entrant of the winning Team(s). Sponsor, Administrator, and Academic Partner have no responsibility or obligation to pay any amounts to participants other than the Entrants of the winning Team(s).

Notification of Winners

All potential winners will be notified via email, on or about the date indicated above. “Notification” is deemed to have occurred immediately upon sending of an e-mail. In order for a potential winner (Entrant of a winning Team) to claim their prize, the potential winner must respond within two (2) days of Notification and may be required to sign and return additional documents within five (5) days of the date of Notification. Failure to comply within this time period, or if prize notification is returned as non-deliverable or not returned properly executed, or if a potential winner is found to be ineligible, or not in compliance with these Rules, it will result in the potential winner forfeiting the prize and being disqualified and an alternate potential winner being selected from among remaining eligible Teams.

Competition Publicity

By participating in the Competition, and to the extent not prohibited by law or regulation, you grant the Sponsor a non-exclusive right (a) to use your name and likeness in connection with this Competition, including on our Site and marketing materials and (b) the right to publish and otherwise display your initial proposal. Being selected for Phase 3 or acceptance of a prize constitutes permission (except where prohibited by law or regulation) to use such winners’ names, likenesses, biographical data and statements for advertising and publicity purposes without notice or additional compensation.

If you submit a photograph or video clip in connection with the Competition (collectively, “Photograph”):

  • You warrant that you are the person in the Photograph or have prior approval from the person in the Photograph that it may be submitted in connection with the Competition;
  • You agree that we have the right to publish and communicate to the public the Photographs in any media including, but not limited to, online, at all times without restriction or limitation throughout the world and not only for the purposes of the Competition
  • You acknowledge that we may edit the Photographs in our sole discretion;
  • You agree that we have the right to use Teams’ names, likenesses and other personal information in conjunction with the Photographs; and
  • You unconditionally waive your right to seek or obtain an injunction to prevent or restrict our use of the Photographs.

Compliance with Laws

Each Team must fully comply with all applicable local, regional, national, and international laws, orders, directives, ordinances, treaties, rules, declarations, decrees, orders, enactments, judgments, regulations or other binding restrictions issued by any legislative, judicial or administrative body, whether effective before or after the effective date of the Competition. The Sponsor, Administrator and the Academic Partner shall not be responsible for providing to any Team any advice or counsel, legal or otherwise, with regard thereto.

Taxes

Each Entrant shall be solely responsible and liable for all international, Federal, state, and local taxes arising from any prize that may be awarded.

Privacy

Each Team agrees to the collection, processing and storage of his or her personal information by the Sponsor for purposes of this Competition and as otherwise described in any then-current posted privacy policy. We may use this information (a) in connection with the Competition, including for marketing, (b) as necessary for the purposes of our legitimate interests (or those of a third party), (c) as necessary to comply with a legal or regulatory obligation and (d) for any other purpose not prohibited by applicable law. We may share this information with others associated with the Competition and otherwise without restriction to the extent not prohibited by law. We will not sell your personal information. All personal information collected will be treated in accordance with all applicable law.

DARPA Privacy Advisory

DARPA is a federal government (Department of Defense (DoD)) agency, not affiliated with, or endorsing of, The Learning Agency, LLC. By submitting a proposal (registering for the competition), registrants acknowledge that the solicitation and collection of any personal information is done/hosted by The Learning Agency, LLC as a third-party, and is and is neither a service of, nor an information collection by the DoD or DARPA. Proceeding to submit a proposal constitutes an intent to register for this Competition in a public, non-private, entrepreneurial capacity, and means you acknowledge and consent to specific information pertaining to you being shared by the third-party host with DoD/DARPA in order to provide you with appropriate access to the event, among other legitimate and authorized uses. DARPA will not use information you provide to make records about you, or for commercial marketing purposes, and will safeguard it using relevant physical, administrative, and technical controls. DARPA will permanently delete your information when no longer needed. For more information see here.

Confidential Information

No entries, proposals or other materials or information submitted or provided by Teams to the Sponsor or Administrator in connection with the Competition, including any proposals, documents and communications (collectively, the “Submitted Information”) will be considered confidential information, except as specifically provided in the terms of any then-current posted privacy policy. The Sponsor and Administrator may disclose any Submitted Information to its employees, contractors, consultants, independent subject matter experts, judges and other organizations without restriction, including to evaluate proposals for the Competition. Please carefully consider the information included in the Submission Materials. If you have any doubt about the wisdom of disclosure of any confidential or proprietary information, you should consult with your legal counsel and take any steps you deem necessary to protect your confidential information or intellectual property.

Indemnification

Each Team and prize recipient agrees to release, defend, indemnify and hold harmless the Sponsor, the Administrator, the Academic Partner, and each of their respective officers, employees, directors, parent and related companies, affiliates, subsidiaries and any other companies participating in the administration or fulfillment of the Competition (collectively, Released Parties) from liability of any kind or nature for any injuries, damages or losses of any kind or any other costs or expenses resulting from participation in this Competition, or acceptance, possession or use, misuse or award of a prize or parts thereof, including, without limitation, any injury, damage death, loss or accident to person or property.

The Released Parties are not responsible for any printing, typographical, mechanical, human or other errors in these Rules, in the administration of the Competition, in the announcement of the prize winners, and/or in any advertising or other associated Competition materials in connection with the Competition. Further, the Released Parties are not responsible for technical, hardware, software, electronic, network, telephone or other communications malfunctions, errors or failures of any kind, errors in transmission, lost or unavailable network connections, telephone connections, dropped dial-up internet connections, interrupted broadband, cable, or wireless internet connections, cell phone dropped calls, unauthorized human intervention, traffic congestions, incomplete or inaccurate capture of entry information (regardless of cause) or failed, incomplete, garbled, jumbled or delayed transmissions which may limit or restrict a Team’s ability to enter the Competition, including any injury or damage to participant’s or any other person’s phone or other electronic computing or telephone equipment, or other matter relating to or resulting from participation in this Competition.

Governing Law and Dispute Resolution

All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Rules in connection with the Competition shall be governed by and construed in accordance with U.S. Federal law as applied in the Federal courts of the District of Columbia if a complaint is filed by any party against DARPA.

IF A COMPLAINT IS FILED BY ANY PARTY AGAINST ADMINISTRATOR BY ENTERING THE COMPETITION, EACH ENTRANT AGREES THAT TO THE EXTENT PERMITTED BY APPLICABLE LAW: (A) ANY AND ALL DISPUTES, CLAIMS AND CAUSES OF ACTION ARISING OUT OF OR CONNECTED WITH THE COMPETITION, OR ANY PRIZE AWARDED, WILL BE RESOLVED INDIVIDUALLY, WITHOUT RESORT TO ANY FORM OF CLASS ACTION; (B) ANY AND ALL CLAIMS, JUDGMENTS AND AWARDS WILL BE LIMITED TO ACTUAL THIRD-PARTY, OUT-OF-POCKET COSTS INCURRED, (IF ANY), NOT TO EXCEED TWO HUNDRED FIFTY DOLLARS ($250.00), BUT IN NO EVENT WILL ATTORNEYS’ FEES BE AWARDED OR RECOVERABLE; (C) UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES WILL ANY ENTRANT BE PERMITTED TO OBTAIN ANY AWARD FOR, AND ENTRANT HEREBY KNOWINGLY AND EXPRESSLY WAIVES ALL RIGHTS TO SEEK, PUNITIVE, INCIDENTAL, EXEMPLARY, CONSEQUENTIAL OR SPECIAL DAMAGES, LOST PROFITS, AND/OR ANY RIGHTS TO HAVE DAMAGES MULTIPLIED OR OTHERWISE INCREASED; AND (D) ENTRANTS’ REMEDIES ARE LIMITED TO A CLAIM FOR MONEY DAMAGES (IF ANY) AND ENTRANT IRREVOCABLY WAIVES ANY RIGHT TO SEEK INJUNCTIVE OR EQUITABLE RELIEF. SOME JURISDICTIONS DO NOT ALLOW THE LIMITATIONS OR EXCLUSION OF LIABILITY, SO THE ABOVE MAY NOT APPLY TO YOU.

MISCELLANEOUS

In accordance with 15 U.S.C. § 3719, to be eligible to win a prize in this Competition, an individual Entrant must have applied to participate in the Competition in accordance with the instructions outlined herein. The Entrant (described above) shall be the prize recipient. The prize recipient shall be a citizen, a permanent resident of the United States, or a US Entity. Tax treatment of prizes will be handled in accordance with U.S. Internal Revenue Service guidelines.

The names of individuals, groups, companies, products, and services mentioned herein, and any corresponding likenesses, logos and images thereof reproduced herein, have been used for identification purposes only and may be the copyrighted properties and trademarks of their respective owners. The mention of any individual, group or company does not imply any association with or endorsement by such individual, group or company or the manufacturer or distributor of such product or service and, except as otherwise indicated, no association or endorsement is intended or should be inferred. The invalidity or unenforceability of any provision of these Rules will not affect the validity or enforceability of any other provision. In the event that any provision of these Rules is determined to be invalid or otherwise unenforceable or illegal, the other provisions will remain in effect and will be construed in accordance with their terms as if the invalid or illegal provision were not contained herein. Sponsor’s or Administrator’s failure to enforce any term of these Rules will not constitute a waiver of that provision. To the extent that there is a conflict between these Rules and any terms of use or other agreement posted on the Site or otherwise, these Rules control.


¹ The Georgia State University (GSU) has been contracted by DARPA to assist and support DARPA in organizing and managing this Competition. The Learning Agency LLC has been hired as a subcontractor by GSU.

² This section specifically refers to eligibility to participate in Competition events; eligibility to receive prizes is based on 15 U.S.C. § 3719.

³ Within these Rules, a US Entity is defined as a private entity incorporated in and maintaining a primary place of business within the United States; see 15 U.S.C. § 3719(g)(3).

⁴ http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/SDN-List/Pages/default.aspx

 

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Questions?

Read the DARPA AI Tools for Adult Learning FAQs.

Email: DARPATools@the-learning-agency.com

 

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