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Technical Lead, XPRIZE Rainforest

Technical Lead, XPRIZE Rainforest
Biodiversity & Conservation
Vice Domain Lead, Biodiversity & Conservation

XPRIZE Overview

XPRIZE is a global future-positive movement of over 1M people and rising, delivering truly radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. For over 25 years, XPRIZE has used competitions as the most efficient way to leverage philanthropic investment for impact and an exponential return, in some cases multiplying prize purses 10x – 50x. The first-ever XPRIZE competition, the $10 Million Ansari XPRIZE for sub-orbital spaceflight, captured the world’s imagination and catalyzed a multi-billion-dollar commercial private space industry. XPRIZE most recently made headlines by launching the largest incentive prize in history, $100 Million XPRIZE Carbon Removal funded by Elon Musk and the Musk Foundation on Earth Day 2021, with a goal to rebalance Earth’s carbon cycle. In total, XPRIZE has launched 25 competitions with more than $293 Million in prize purses. Join XPRIZE to help create a better future for everyone, everywhere.

Position Description:

XPRIZE seeks an established and experienced Technical Lead on the XPRIZE Rainforest competition, within the Biodiversity & Conservation Domain. The Technical Lead will play a key role in the operations and execution of XPRIZE Rainforest, possessing subject matter expertise to proficiently assess the vast array of competing teams’ solutions and lead technical parameters for the competition. The position is full-time, and projected to last through the awarding of the prize in 2024. This individual is a technical expert responsible for ensuring the technical rigor and data specifications of the competition. Reporting to the Domain Lead and working closely with the Program Lead and prize staff, the Technical Lead is responsible for technical elements, including data validation and verification, pertaining to development and execution of field testing and judging process, managing contractors related to technical prize operations, serving as a technical expert on the prize externally, as well as key partnerships related to testing and evaluation. This person will also support management of the panel of independent judges, and be responsible for updates and revisions to the competition’s Rules & Regulations, supporting documents, and issue technical updates as needed throughout the course of the prize.


  • Lead technical operational elements of XPRIZE Rainforest, including written documents and assessing team submissions
  • Lead measurement & verification, and judging strategy, for field testing
  • Support management of judges, and overall program vision with Domain Lead and Program Lead
  • Manage the acquisition and processing of data sets and other use information in support of the Rainforest program
  • Lead stewardship of existing, and development of new, technical partnerships related to field testing, evaluation, data management, and judging. Manage external technical vendors and contractors
  • Support Program Lead in budget planning associated with testing and evaluation throughout the life of prize
  • Provide technical review and expert input on external facing prize marketing and communications
  • Answer technical questions about the competition from prospective and registered teams
  • Serve as an external spokesperson for the prize at relevant conferences and events
  • Supervise and mentor junior technical staff as needed
  • Assist and lend subject matter expertise on occasion across programs within the Biodiversity & Conservation Domain


  • Subject Matter Expert with proven expertise in technology and data management and deployment related to biodiversity science
  • Master’s or PhD preferred
    • In a field relevant to XPRIZE Rainforest, including but not limited to: biology, ecology, conservation, environmental science, data science, engineering, or other relevant field
  • Ten years of experience designing, implementing and managing complex, large-scale biodiversity and/or conservation protection projects
  • Experience with artificial intelligence, machine learning, remote sensing, and data management, related to species identification
  • Significant experience in at least two of the following areas:
    • Tropical Forest and/or Biodiversity Conservation
    • Environmental Sustainability
    • Conservation Technologies and/or Engineering
    • Genetics
    • Robotics, drones, and/or VR/AR
  • Demonstrated effectiveness leading and managing teams that are able to adapt to dynamic operating conditions to achieve project results
  • Comprehensive understanding of tropical ecology
  • Understanding of the technical challenges of the multiple disciplines applicable to this competition
  • Familiarity with relevant international processes, policies, protocols and frameworks, including the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, Nagoya Protocol, CARE & FAIR principles, and data rights and ownership of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities
  • Experience conducting technical research and analysis
  • Experience managing vendors and contractors
  • Experience building and working with a vast international network of partner organizations
  • Demonstrated P&L responsibility experience
  • Project management and leadership experience
  • Skilled in interacting with professionals across sectors and levels of authority, including academia, NGOs, governments, research institutions, and corporations
  • Strong technical writing and professional verbal communication skills
  • Ability to thrive and think creatively and calmly in highly fluid situations and under intense schedules and deadlines
  • Highly diplomatic, with proven crisis management experience
  • Team player across the Prize, Domain, and Foundation, committed to the future positive vision and culture of XPRIZE

Competencies Required for this Role:

  • Can have varying levels of seniority in this role depending on the project, but this is a key role at the foundation, especially prize competitions
  • Requires a technical expert who can thrive within an environment of mostly non-technical peers
  • Opportunity to support prize design efforts in the domain
  • Growth path: Program Director; Tech Lead on a different prize; Domain Lead (depending on experience)

Personal Abilities and Characteristics:

  • Preferred location: local to one of the equatorial focal areas of XPRIZE Rainforest, and can support topical work within the Foundation. Time zone-wise, it would probably be preferred for a candidate based in the Americas
  • Fluent in English, and additional language(s) proficiency are a plus: ie. Spanish, Portuguese, French, Bahasa, KiSwahili
  • Candidates who are BIPOC, women, LGBTQIA+, and local to tropical biodiversity hotspots are warmly encouraged to apply
  • Action Oriented
  • Manages Ambiguity
  • Collaborates internally and externally
  • Communicates effectively and professionally
  • Manages Complexity
  • Trusted and respected member of the relevant field
  • Global Perspective
  • Nimble Learning
  • Plans and Aligns
  • Drives Results
  • Situational Adaptability
  • Builds Effective Teams
  • Drives Vision and Purpose

The XPRIZE Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and does not unlawfully discriminate in employment. Equal access to employment, services, and programs is available to all persons. Those applicants requiring reasonable accommodation to the application and/or interview process should notify a representative of the organization.

Please note: Though submitting a resume to the XPRIZE Foundation implies that you are interested in a position(s), it does not imply that you are an applicant. You are not considered an applicant until you have been contacted directly by a Talent Acquisitions representative requesting that you begin the designated application process, which may involve phone and/or in-person interview(s), job-related testing, and background checks.