COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio launched the second stage of its global technology challenge Wednesday aimed at finding solutions to the U.S. opioid crisis.
The contest's challenge phase invites business and innovation experts from around the world to propose technologies for diagnosing, treating or fighting opioid addiction or for protecting medical professionals and first responders from exposure to dangerous opioid residue.
Ohio Development Services Agency spokeswoman Lisa Colbert said the idea of this phase is to attract additional proposed solutions in areas of unmet need.
In last year's State of the State address, Republican Gov. John Kasich called for Ohio's high-tech development panel, the Ohio Third Frontier Commission, to invest up to $20 million in generating science and technology ideas to fight the scourge that's plagued Ohio and other states across the U.S.
The commission responded by creating a two-pronged effort, which includes the $8 million Ohio Opioid Technology Challenge and a program of research-and-development grants. The panel made up to $12 million available in grants and awarded $10 million.
"We were thrilled by the outpouring of ideas we received in the first phase of the Technology Challenge," said commission chairman and Development Services Director David Goodman. "We're eager to move forward with this next step in developing new solutions and saving lives."
Responses for the latest phase of the challenge are due by 5 p.m. July 11. Up to 12 winners of prizes of $200,000 will be announced in September.
The challenge phase of the technology competition seeks ideas in four specific area:
- Technologies to rapidly identify those at high risk for addiction or overdose. These may include information technology, artificial intelligence or biological or genetic diagnostics.
- Technologies to eliminate or reduce urges, cravings or symptoms of withdrawal in those with addiction. These could include pharmaceuticals or medical devices.
- Technologies to link individuals and their families, including in remote and rural areas, to immediate help in cases of overdose or relapse.
- Technologies to protect first responders and medical professionals from inadvertent exposure to toxic opioid levels. These might include medical supplies or equipment or detection devices.
Semi-finalists from the second phase will be eligible to compete in the final product phase of the challenge, which launches later this year.