Graduate School, College, and High School Xternships

  • XPrize
  • Culver City, CA
  • Feb 05, 2020

Job Description


XPRIZE competitions change the world for the better by accelerating innovation life cycles, catalyzing markets, and energizing stakeholders.  

The XPRIZE Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to inspiring and incentivizing breakthroughs to the most critical challenges facing humanity. Since its beginning in 1994, the Foundation has been building and continues to build a vision of hope and abundance for humanity’s future by harnessing the power of innovators, technology, and resources.  

Through incentive prize competitions, XPRIZE enables people to create bold and transformative solutions that are scalable and drive real impact. XPRIZE competitions positively impact both the marketplace and humanity by addressing the market failures that have prevented significant breakthroughs across multiple sectors.  


sets an audacious but achievable goal that aims to overcome challenges deemed impossible. It tackles some of humanity's most pressing issues by redefining what is achievable and pushing the boundaries of human potential.  

defines and addresses a clear problem through extensive research, a design sprint, and a competition that catalyzes the development of the next breakthroughs to put humanity on the path toward a preferred future state for all. The desired outcome from an XPRIZE is clear and measurable, and the rules of the competition are transparent and easily understood.  

democratizes innovation by encouraging expert and nonexpert participation and multidisciplinary collaboration.  

catalyzes markets and revitalizes stagnant industries by increasing awareness of market failures and accelerating innovations to address them.  

is highly leveraged, with competing teams attracting and mobilizing investment capital, partner support, and new members in pursuit of the prize. Philanthropic dollars are thus magnified in support of a solution.   

Our first XPRIZE, the $10 million Ansari XPRIZE for private spaceflight, spurred an industry and created exponential breakthroughs. Since then we have provided over $140 million in incentives through these competitions. Each prize has created an industry-changing technology that brings us closer to a better, safer, more sustainable world.   

The use of incentive competitions, or prizes, to accelerate innovation goes back over 300 years, to when the British Admiralty launched the Longitude Prize in 1714 to find a better way to navigate our seas. In the years since, several well-known innovations have resulted from incentive competitions, including canning as a form of food preservation (a competition launched by Napoleon in 1795), modern plastics (the Billiard Ball Prize, 1863) and commercial aviation (the Orteig Prize, 1919).   

This is more than a job to us. When you work at XPRIZE, you’re making a positive impact on some of the biggest challenges facing our world. Whether you’re working in prize design or development, marketing and communications, stakeholder relations, business operations or any other department, you’re playing a critical role in turning the impossible into the possible. 

What is an Xternship? 

The Xternship is an opportunity for experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting. It is also a limitless playground – a place to inspire future workforce talent focused on pushing the boundaries of human expectations, leading to greater impact for themselves and their future employers.  

At XPRIZE we complement our regular staff each year by partnering with students through practical work experiences related to XPRIZE’s business of inspiring radical scientific, technological, and social breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. And we hope our Xterns take that spirit of inspiration and belief in the power of collaboration with them, wherever they go and whatever they do.  

There are grad student, college, and high school tracks, each of which provides opportunities for personal and professional growth, mentorship, and friendships that will last a lifetime.


Some feedback from the 2019 Xternship program: 

“My experience at XPRIZE was one of the most valuable experiences of my life. I was immersed in an environment where every single person was doing impactful work to improve and build our future. I got a first-hand look at the strategy behind the magic of how XPRIZE brings awareness to big challenges in our world, and then successfully creates solutions to tackle and foster innovation within that space. My ambition is to help at least a billion people in the world through technology and at XPRIZE I gained unique insight on best practices to do that.” 

“One of my biggest takeaways is that people are everything. XPRIZE is composed of extremely mission oriented people with an array of different skills, knowledge and frameworks of how they see the world. XPRIZE is able to catalyze solving the problems relating to climate change or adult literacy because the people are passionate about doing meaningful work as well as have a figure it out mindset when running into challenges.” 

Next steps? 

If this experience sounds right for you, we invite you to apply.  Xternships generally take place during the summer months, but please let us know what works for you. 

Come change the world with us. 

XPRIZE Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer committed to having a truly inclusive workforce. We do not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, national origin, marital status, age, disability, sexual orientation, political affiliation or on the basis of actual or perceived gender as expressed through dress, appearance, or behavior. 

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Food & Agriculture, Ecosystems & Biodiversity, Pollution & Waste Reduction, Carbon Removal & Utilization Engineering, Research & Education, Supporting Catalysts

Climate Solutions

Reduced Food Waste, Plant-rich Diet, Tropical Forests, Educating Girls, Regenerative Agriculture, Afforestation, Forest Protection