Global Development Prize Group

The Global Development Prize Group is deploying XPRIZE’s innovation engine to find rapidly scalable, radically affordable, and deeply sustainable solutions for the billions of people on our planet who still lack access to basic necessities.



Photo credit: WaterAid / Juthika Howlader.


Prize competitions will develop innovations to address grand challenges within eight focus areas of global development:

  1. Food security
  2. Water and sanitation
  3. Efficiency and quality of living environments (e.g., infrastructure issues in urban slums, affordable housing, air pollution, and waste management)
  4. Alternative energy
  5. Access to finance
  6. Public health
  7. Innovations in education
  8. National and personal security (e.g., democratic elections, addressing gender-based violence and human trafficking)

India will serve as XPRIZE’s first global testing ground, where we will design and launch incentive prizes that create solutions to positively impact humanity. The ultimate vision for Global Development is to award a slate of prizes that collectively improve the lives of over a billion people by 2020.

Concepts Under Consideration

Waste to Wealth XPRIZE

Our planet is drowning in its own trash. Poor waste management, particularly throughout the world's cities, is a growing global grand challenge that impacts the health of humans, the local and global environment, and the economy as a whole. Global metropolitan waste volumes are projected to grow from 1.3 billion tons of solid waste per year to 2.2 billion tons by 2025, while yearly costs are expected to increase from $205.4 billion to roughly $375 billion. Developing countries will be most impacted by these rising costs, which are projected to grow more than 5-fold. What if we found a safe, cost-effective way to transform the world’s trash into reusable energy?

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Water Extraction XPRIZE

Nearly one billion people on Earth lack adequate access to safe drinking water and 1.5 million children die per year of water-borne diseases. In terms of supply, 97% of the Earth’s water is salt water, and an additional two percent is tied up in polar ice caps, leaving less than 1% as accessible fresh water. 70% of the global population lives near coastlines, while 100% of us have access to the sky. What if we had an affordable, efficient way to extract water from the sea or the sky?

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Democracy XPRIZE

In a world of ATMs and online banking that can provide reliable and secure records, blood is shed and nations are upended over the simple counting of votes in places ranging from Florida to Tunisia. What if the creation of an accurate, verifiable voting technology could safely increase democracy?

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Micronutrients XPRIZE

A staggering two billion people suffer from micronutrient deficiency, perhaps the most prevalent, most addressable aspect of world hunger. Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals (e.g., iodine, iron, vitamin A) that prevent brain damage and fight disease. A group of Nobel-laureate economists ranked micronutrient interventions as the single most cost-effective way to combat global poverty. What if there was a way to rapidly increase the micronutrient intake in the diets of a billion malnourished children?

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