Alexander Nicholas, Ph.D.

Alexander Nicholas, Ph.D.

EVP, Education & Society

Alexander Nicholas comes to XPRIZE, having worked with universities around the world to design innovative education programs and identify barriers that keep students from reaching their potential. At XPRIZE, he creates incentivized prizes to advance critical and emerging learning platforms and grow innovation ecosystems for technology innovators and entrepreneurs to foster an inclusive and sustainable society. Before joining XPRIZE, Dr. Nicholas served as Senior Program Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he built a vibrant network of institutions, designers, and researchers working together to untangle systemic barriers to institutional transformation.

While Dr. Nicholas was with the Lemelson Foundation, he helped seed a pipeline of inventors and entrepreneurs to improve the quality of life for all and alleviate burdens for people living in poverty around developing countries. In addition, as a senior policy advisor at the US Commerce Department, he co-designed an innovation program based on "clean tech" competition between small businesses and universities as part of Start-Up America initiative. At the National Science Foundation, he was named American Association for the Advancement of Science Policy Fellow in the Division of Graduate Education; in this role, he led committees and headed programs focused on innovation and green technology. Dr. Nicholas has served on multiple advisory boards, including the Commission on Innovation, Competitiveness, and Economic Prosperity, Selco Foundation in Bangalore, and Giddens Schools  He was also a member of the National Academy of Inventors Selection Committee.

Dr. Nicholas received a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Florida State University, where his research focused on the role of sensory experience in the development of the nervous system, before serving as a research scientist at Harvard University.