VA Center for Innovation



VACI hosts four types of competitions and challenges to identify and select ideas from every corner of the nation, capturing the most promising innovations to address both emerging and long-standing issues that impact Veterans.

Whether the innovation is from an employee or industry, all submissions undergo a rigorous review process and are balanced against a general set of criteria:

  • The potential impact, benefits, and contributions of the solution to the VA mission areas of interest
  • The quality of the proposed solution design
  • The quality of the proposed implementation plan
  • The scalability of the proposed solution
  • The offeror’s capabilities, related expertise/experience, facilities, techniques, or unique combinations of these that are integral factors for the achievement of proposal objectives
  • The cost-effectiveness of the solution in proportion to its potential impact/benefits

Industry Competitions

Industry Innovation Competitions spark creative thinkers and companies from the private sector to present new ideas, fresh perspectives, and different approaches to how we operate and care for Veterans. We welcome solutions from all types of organizations—from established leaders in industry to start-ups, non-profits, and academic institutions.

The three Industry Innovation Competitions held to date have resulted in nearly 800 ideas submitted across 15 topic areas. In total, 43 projects have been selected and are in various stages of project design, development, testing, and evaluation.

Learn more.

Employee Competitions

VACI holds employee competitions each year. They tend to target innovations for health care and VA business processes and practices.

Our more than 330,000 talented employees—a third of whom are Veterans themselves—use the Employee Innovation Competitions to contribute to VA innovations. VA employees dedicate their lives to improving Veteran care, and winning innovators amplify their contributions with ideas that transition into regular practice and spread across the country.

Because our employees are attuned to Veterans’ needs and VA processes, we crowd-source the employee submissions so that other employees can weigh in on what innovations seem most important, promising, and impactful. The enthusiasm and interest that surround the internal competitions testifies to the dedication and innovative spirit of VA’s workforce.

Learn more.

Prize Contests

Since the President signed into law the America COMPETES Act in early 2011, we have spearheaded use of the new prize authority the Act gives VA and other agencies. VA uses this path when the problem needing to be solved can marshal people to a cause without certainty that their solution wins. Veterans get great results, and taxpayers pay only for those results.

We’ve held three prize challenges to date. Learn more.

Special Projects

Sometimes, unanticipated challenges surface or departmental opportunities emerge rapidly. To respond quickly, thoroughly, and efficiently, Special Projects provide VA with an avenue to arrive at innovative, helpful solutions.

Learn more.