AI to solve global issues

$5 Million

Prize Purse

The $5M IBM Watson AI XPRIZE challenged teams to demonstrate how humans can work with AI to tackle global challenges.


AI for


The IBM Watson AI XPRIZE aimed to accelerate adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies for good and spark creative, innovative, and audacious demonstrations of the technology that are truly scalable to solve societal grand challenges.

The IBM Watson AI XPRIZE was more than a competition - it was a future thinking initiative aimed at establishing a more balanced dialogue around AI - in particular about how humans and machines collaborate together towards a better future.

Jim Mainard

CTO and EVP of Deep Technology

How the winner was determined

Each team’s technologies were evaluated across four dimensions: achieved technical impact, evidenced real-world impact, scalability of real-world impact, and ethics and safety. The judges compared the teams against each other and nominated three finalists for the Grand Prize award. Then, a globally representative jury determined the Grand Prize winner in June of 2021.

History of the Prize

The IBM Watson AI XPRIZE was a unique, problem-agnostic, and open competition. The competition launched in June of 2016 and started off with over 150 registered teams from around the globe — all using AI to tackle challenges facing humanity. The competition helped to accelerate the dialogue around AI for Good by providing concrete proof points of human and machine collaboration.

In February 2020, the 10 semifinalists from six countries presented their solutions to the judges and a live audience at TED headquarters in New York City. Of those ten - the judges selected three finalists: Aifred Health, Marinus Analytics, and Zzapp Malaria. Due to COVID-19, the competition concluded virtually in June 2021 in partnership with WIRED. The Grand Prize Winner was Zzapp Malaria and they were awarded $3 million USD. Second place was Aifred Health and they were awarded $1 million USD. Third place was Marinus Analytics and they were awarded $500k USD.

Prize Activity

Prize start date - June 1st 2016. Progress reports due for second judging round - September 1st 2018. Round 3 teams announced - December 1st 2018. Wildcard round 2 competition plans due - February 1st 2019. Progress reports due for third round judging round - October 1st 2019. 10 semi-finalists announced - December 1st 2019. Finalists announced - Fall 2020. Grand prize event - Q2 2021.

Prize Teams

Advisory Board