Technical Manager, Rainforest XPRIZE

  • XPrize
  • Culver City, CA
  • Feb 05, 2020
Full Time Engineering: Other Operations Project Manager

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.

Role Summary

The Technical Manager will support the project in all areas relating to the day-to-day scientific and technical operations of the competition. This person will assume primary responsibility for: managing and supporting the work of key external contractors; overseeing the establishment, security, and operations of testing, which includes extensive field test operations within a rainforest; ensuring smooth and secure data management; building templates and tools to evaluate team performance and competition scores, including assisting in the establishment of protocols for judging and scoring; and supporting the external judging panel as needed in their deliberations and evaluation of team performance. The Technical Manager will work as part of the Rainforest XPRIZE team and also support the Prize Lead in managing day to day competition operations, handling the processing of technical submission documents, execution of the field tests and technology validation in the competition semi-finals and finals, working with external partners to oversee the management of testing operations in the competition finals, ensuring permits are in place, managing updates and publication of the competition Guidelines and Rules and Regulations, and addressing technical and operational questions from the competing teams.


  • Design and manage the operations of large technical programs that involve testing and evaluation in either a laboratory environment, under controlled real-world conditions, and field operations.
  • Articulate the technology, requirements, goals, and milestones of the Rainforest XPRIZE. 
  • Become familiar with the wide range of technologies used by competing teams. 
  • Build subject matter expertise in your area and stay up to date on technological developments in the area.
  • Develop and refine competition technical requirements in collaboration with subject matter experts. 
  • Manage and coordinate with consulting subject matter experts.
  • Determine priorities and communicate technical requirements to teams.
  • Reduce surprises, mitigate risks, and own project management during execution of the Rainforest XPRIZE in partnership with the Prize Lead and Prize Manager. 
  • Make your technical and organizational work transparent with great documentation, templates, training sessions/tutorials and articles/blogs.
  • Work closely with the competition’s Judging Panel, Advisory Board, and other key members of the prize’s ecosystem.
  • Represent the prize and XPRIZE Foundation at external events (e.g. technical conferences, panels, etc.).


  • MSc, MEng or other advanced degree plus relevant experience in field operations in forests.
  • Familiarity with prize content areas including but not limited to rainforest biodiversity and culture, environmental data management, advanced environmental surveying technologies, Convention on Biodiversity and other national and international regulations.
  • Ability and desire to work across disciplines.
  • Creative problem-solving – both in the office and in the field.
  • Experienced in communicating and working collaboratively with a wide variety of stakeholders from academia to government agencies, the private sector and indigenous peoples.
  • Expert at written and verbal communications that may be technical in nature.
  • Some experience with project or program management.
  • Outstanding attention to detail.
  • Ability to keep the overall goals and intended impacts of the Rainforest XPRIZE in mind whilst executing the detailed day to day operations.
  • First Aid capabilities a benefit, but not necessary.

 Other Requirements

  • Self-starter who takes the initiative to develop projects, completes tasks on time, solves roadblocks and addresses issues before they become problems.
  • Responsible team player with a collaborative approach and appreciation/enjoyment of working as part of a team.
  • A demonstrated ability to respect and support peers.
  • Willingness to, from time to time, to go the extra mile to complete a project or support a colleague in order to achieve the overall mission objectives.
  • Exceptional organizational abilities and aggressive attention to detail.
  • Rigorous time management.
  • Creative and enthusiastic approach.
  • Ability to prioritize skills and multi-task.
  • Personable and professional demeanor.
  • Patience and flexibility.
  • Ability to assess when to take risks to ensure successful results.
  • Ability to assess when to be cautious to ensure safety in the field.
  • Incredible interpersonal skills and a positive can-do attitude.
  • Expert skills in communicating effectively via written or oral means with both technical and non-technical audiences.
  • Sense of humor and work-life balance.
  • Belief that a small group of motivated individuals can truly change the world for the better.
  • Willingness to think and act creatively.
  • Ability to think and act calmly and effectively under pressure.
  • Willingness to travel and work at testing locations with the team during test phases.

 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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Ecosystems & Biodiversity

Climate Solutions

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