All teams participating in the 2017 Policy Solutions Challenge must submit an entry in the first round. Here are the procedures for the first round entries in the competition.
Deadline: All entries must be received by no later than 11:59 PM U.S. Eastern Time on Monday, January 9, 2017. Additional instructions will be sent directly to the participating teams after they complete registration and pay the submission fee. Submissions are welcome in advance of the deadline.
Submission fee and team registration: There will be a $55 non-refundable fee for each submission. The fee must be paid by the Friday prior to the deadline (no later than 11:59 PM U.S. Eastern Time on Friday, January 6, 2017). The fee payment must be made by credit card via PayPal after the team has completed initial registration and been qualified for participation. Please see the Team Formation page on this site for additional details about qualifications. Team registration and payment of the submission fee will be available on this site starting October 3, 2016 and continuing until January 6, 2017.
Policy memo requirements:Each team will submit a five page memo that presents one policy option, forecasts how that option will increase the total number of affordable housing units over the ten years 2018-2027, and uses cost estimates to offer a preliminary cost-effectiveness analysis (estimate of the cost in dollars of the policy per additional affordable housing unit). The memo must have one inch margins all around and use Times New Roman 12pt font. The memo may be single-spaced but there must be a blank line between paragraphs. All figures, graphs, tables and charts are included in the five page limit, but references should be appended at the back as end notes after the five pages. Do not use footnotes for references and do not use end notes for any other purpose than references. The memo must have a cover page identifying the team; otherwise, team identification should NOT be included in the body of the memo. This is to allow for blind review of the memos so that team affiliation does not influence the judging.
Selection of semifinalists: Twelve submissions will be chosen by a panel of experts as semifinalists among all entries received in the first round. Notification of the semifinalists is planned for Monday, January 23, 2017 (two weeks after the submission deadline). Additional entries will be placed on a waiting list that will be used if any semifinalist team declines to continue in the competition.
Publication of submissions: Policy Solutions Challenge USA eventually may publish each submission on this website for public consumption.
Copyright and fair use: Teams will retain copyright of their memos, but must sign a fair use form that grants Policy Solutions Challenge USA to post the memos on this website.
Expert judges from policy analysis organizations will review the first round submissions. Review will be blind - the judges will receive the memos without their cover pages, and will not know the identities of the teams. Each submission will receive multiple scores, and the aggregate scores will determine which twelve become semifinalists. Policy Solutions Challenge USA will provide feedback to the teams that includes scores and comments from the judges.
The criteria used by the judges will include the following, equally weighted:
Analytical quality of the underlying policy proposal - is the proposal well-designed, coherently constructed, and sound in its claims about the potential positive impact on the problem of affordable housing? (Note: Considerations of political viability will not be included here, and it is not necessary to offer a detailed problem definition given the five page limit.)
Quality of the initial cost-effectiveness estimate - is the estimate credible, transparent, based on reasonable assumptions, and professionally calculated?
Quality of the presentation - is the memo compelling in how it conveys information through words, figures, tables and graphs?
In the event of tied aggregate scores that might determine the top twelve submissions, the first tie-breaker will be the value of the cost-effectiveness estimate: The submission among the ties with the lowest cost-effectiveness estimate (least dollars per housing unit) will be selected. If that is insufficient to break the tie, the second and final tie-breaker will be a coin toss.