Monday, January 11, 2010

Alliances Takes us Back to School with the Newly Launched X PRIZE Lab at UW

It’s a new year, the holiday break is over and that means back to school. Most students aren’t very anxious to hit the books but there IS one group of excited students at the University of Washington Evans School of Public Affairs. For them, the New Year marks the launch of the X PRIZE LAB at UW. For those of you who don’t know, the X PRIZE labs leverage the academic resources at top universities to provide an incubator for research and teaching on incentive prizes and prize philanthropy. You may ask, “What does that mean, exactly?” Well, during the winter semester, students will hear from leading innovators and philanthropists that will introduce the use of prize philanthropy and innovation to solve some of humanity’s greatest challenges. Exciting speakers that are confirmed include: Peter Diamandis of the X PRIZE Foundation, John Stanton and Bradley Horwitz of Trilogy Partners, Stewart Parker of Targeted Genetics, Nelson Del Rio, and Mark Emmert of UW. Then, in the spring, students will take the knowledge gained from the speakers to create and propose designs for new X PRIZEs.

The UW lab is the second X PRIZE lab of its kind, the first at MIT. The X PRIZE Lab @ MIT was established in 2007 and has successfully established itself as a unique academic center for the study of innovation and entrepreneurship by engaging MIT students and faculty to explore how incentive prizes drive resolution of the grand challenges that face humanity. Last weekend the X PRIZE Lab@MIT held a special workshop, Brain-Computer Interfaces: Igniting a Revolution, which discussed what it would be like to create a direct connection between the human brain and the world’s most powerful computers. Special guests included Ed Boyden, director of the MIT Synthetic Neurobiology Group and Ray Kurzweil, Chancellor of Singularity University, an interdisciplinary university whose mission is to assemble, educate and inspire a cadre of leaders who strive to understand and facilitate the development of exponentially advancing technologies in order to address humanity’s grand challenges (SU was also co-founded by our very own Peter Diamandis). We are excited about all of the work that the X PRIZE Lab@MIT has done and we look forward to reporting to you all of the great things the UW lab will produce.

By: Lindsey Burris, Executive Assistant, Alliances

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