Prize Development

What is an XPRIZE?

An XPRIZE is a large-scale, monetary award given to the first team to achieve a specific goal, set by XPRIZE, which has the potential to positively impact humanity. So rather than awarding money to honor past achievements or directly funding research, an XPRIZE incites innovation by tapping into our competitive and entrepreneurial spirit.

What does Prize Development do?

The Prize Development department within XPRIZE designs incentive competitions aimed at capturing the imagination of the public, spurring innovation, and accelerating the rate of positive change across the globe. New prize competitions focus on pushing the limit of what is currently possible, and will serve to create better ways in which we see ourselves and how we live on this planet.

XPRIZEs can be developed in one of five different Prize Groups: Energy & Environment; Exploration; Global Development; Learning; and Life Sciences.

Energy and Environment

The Energy and Environment Prize Group includes the development of prizes that will end our addiction to oil and stem the harmful effects of climate change. We are looking for breakthroughs in clean fuels, renewable energy, energy efficiency, energy storage, carbon reduction, and sustainable housing.


The vision of the Exploration Prize Group is to expand the use of space, the ocean and other unexplored frontiers in order to improve life on Earth and extend life beyond the confines of land. We believe we can achieve these objectives by researching space and Earth’s oceans; accessing and conserving their resources; catalyzing private, non-governmental activity; and tapping into our innate wonder about the Earth, the Universe and our place within each.

Global Development

The Global Development Prize Group will focus on finding methods to catalyze profit-generating firms regarding both financial as well as human development metrics. Initiatives in this Group would address major challenges with agriculture, capital, health and water. The ultimate goal of these competitions would be to reward the most scalable enterprises that create wealth and lift up the widest set of stakeholders from poverty.


The Learning Prize Group envisions a future with unprecedented, individually-tailored opportunities for lifelong learning, literacy, autonomy, and career readiness, as well as widespread tools for uplifting entire populations from the vicious cycle of poverty. We aim to empower a universally-educated population, with equal access to information and knowledge regardless of age, gender, race, nationality, or socio-economic status.

Life Sciences

The Life Sciences Prize Group will focus on creating competitions that will stimulate innovative breakthroughs in molecular biology, stem cell research, bionics; organogenesis, synthetic biology, and artificial intelligence in order to improve health care and extend healthy living. XPRIZE looks to accelerate the real-world impact of science, technology, and information related to the worldwide optimization of health and the elimination of illness and disease.

Credit for photo of Bangladeshi girl drinking from a hand pump: WaterAid / Juthika Howlader.

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