Cambridge, MA -- The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the Harvard Kennedy School today kicked off the application process for its prestigious Innovations in American Government Award.  For the second straight year, the Ash Center is also funding a second innovation award, the Roy and Lila Ash Innovations Award for Public Engagement in Government, to better highlight the work of public engagement and participation programs, policies, and initiatives from around the country.

The Innovations in American Government Awards are heralded as the premier public-sector honor in the nation and are given to programs that serve as examples of creative and effective government at its best. The Ash Center will once again be awarding two $100,000 top prizes, for the Innovations in American Government Award and the Roy and Lila Ash Innovations Award for Public Engagement in Government. All units of government—federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial—within the United States and their partners are eligible to apply. 
Applicants for both awards will be judged on the standard Innovations in American Government Awards criteria of novelty, effectiveness, significance, and transferability. Programs seeking the Roy and Lila Ash award will also be judged on their impact on public engagement and participation. Specifically, the Ash Center seeks to recognize government-led innovations that demonstrate enhanced public engagement and participation that address one or more of the following goals:

  • Make government more participatory, more transparent, more responsive, and/or more representative
  • Expand public participation in the development of policies and regulations
  • Encourage public participation in community spending decisions
  • Leverage digital technologies or other government resources to broaden or deepen public engagement
  • Utilize crowd-sourcing and collaboration to drive problem solving
  • Encourage the public to be on the front line in taking action to solve problems
  • Enhance public participation in electoral politics and voting
  • Foster new strategies for citizen engagement within policy sectors
  • Involve the public and citizens in governance in other creative ways

The winners of the Innovations Awards will each receive a $100,000 grant to support replication and dissemination activities. Top finalists will also receive monetary grants.

Applications and additional information are available on the Innovations in American Government Award website

Applications are due April 15, 2016.

About the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation
The Roy and Lila Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation advances excellence and innovation in governance and public policy through research, education and public discussion. Three major programs support our mission: the Program on Democratic Governance; the Innovations in Government Program; and the Rajawali Foundation Institute for Asia. For more information, visit


Daniel Harsha
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