Building a conscious machine is an huge challenge. And it's not clear that it will be easy to declare a 'winner' amongst those in the race to do it.
( Particularly since researchers are now creating Turing-Test candidates that plainly violate the spirit of the test. Perhaps there should be an additional requirement that the computer 'testee' should make an earnest effort to participate : being indistinguishable from a participant in a gaming chat-room doesn't seem to be an appropriate hurdle, somehow. )
If the battle is to reach self-awareness, is self-preening in a mirror sufficient? Or making philosophical arguments that place the machine at a 'highly enlightened' point on a thoughtfullness scale?
In any event, it is not clear whether machine consciousness is a huge win in itself : There are, after all, a very large number of conscious beings already on earth.
More interesting would be the creation of a new type of consciousness, though there's no guarantee that people would even recognize it for what is is.