The Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE Awards, Presented by Foreign Affairs LIVE

Council on Foreign Relations


The Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE is a $2 million global competition that challenges teams of engineers, scientists and innovators from all over the world to create pH sensor technology that will affordably, accurately and efficiently measure ocean chemistry from its shallowest water to its deepest depths. On July 20, 2015, the winners of the competition will be announced in an exciting ceremony at the headquarters of Foreign Affairs magazine at the Council on Foreign Relations. Tickets to this exclusive event are invitation only, but the event will be livestreamed here and a video will be available to follow.



6:00 PM: Check-in and Reception

7:15: Foreign Affairs LIVE: The Future of Ocean Health

Sherri GoodmanChief Executive Officer, Consortium for Ocean Leadership
Ghislaine MaxwellFounder and President, TerraMar Project
Stewart Patrick, Senior Fellow and Director, International Institutions and Global Governance, Council on Foreign Relations
Dr. Richard SpinradChief Scientist, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

ModeratorPaul BunjeSenior Director of Oceans, XPRIZE Foundation

7:55: Comments by Robert K. Weiss, Peter Diamandis, and Wendy Schmidt

8:15: The Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE Award Ceremony

8:35: Closing Remarks by Paul Bunje


Wendy Schmidt is the President of The Schmidt Family Foundation, where she works to advance the development of renewable energy and the wiser use of natural resources. The foundation houses its grant-making operation in The 11th Hour Project, which supports more than 150 nonprofit organizations in program areas including climate and energy, ecological agriculture, human rights, and its maritime connection, 11th Hour Racing.

On Nantucket, The Schmidt Family Foundation operates ReMain Nantucket, a local group devoted to enhancing the economic, environmental and social life in the downtown of America’s oldest continuous community.

In addition to leading the foundation, Wendy was a founding board member of Climate Central, an organization that connects scientists and journalists working together to provide accurate, non-advocacy news and analysis about our changing climate and its impacts on our cities, coastlines, agriculture, fresh water, and ocean.

In 2009, Wendy and her husband Eric Schmidt created the Schmidt Ocean Institute (SOI). In 2012 they launched the research vessel, Falkor, as a mobile platform to advance ocean exploration, discovery, and knowledge, and to catalyze sharing of information about the ocean.

In 2010, to further her commitment to ocean health issues, Wendy partnered with XPRIZE to sponsor the Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup XCHALLENGE, a $1.4 million competition designed to identify efficient and innovative solutions to address oil spillage from ocean platforms, tankers, and other sources. The 18-month long competition, prompted by The Deepwater Horizon disaster, resulted in a solution that yielded fourfold improvement over existing cleanup capabilities.

In 2012, Wendy again partnered with XPRIZE to design the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE, a prize that responds to the global need for better information about the process of ocean acidification, one of the harbingers of climate change. The prize launched in September 2013.

Wendy has a Masters in Journalism from The University of California at Berkeley, and a B.A. magna cum laude from Smith College. She serves on the boards of The Natural Resources Defense Council, The California Academy of Sciences, Climate Central, XPRIZE, The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, GRIST, Maiyet, The Nantucket Dreamland Foundation, and The America's Cup Organizing Committee. Her interests include sailing, scuba diving, and tennis.



Dr. Paul Bunje is the Senior Director of Oceans at the XPRIZE Foundation. Dr. Bunje comes to the XPRIZE Foundation with more than 12 years of experience in science, policy, education, and environmental leadership. Dr. Bunje brings his unique ability to bridge the gap between innovation, science, and society to the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE to help lead the identification of solutions to the challenges facing our world’s oceans. In the past, Paul has played many parts in ensuring protection against climate change. Paul was the Executive Director of the UCLA Center for Climate Change Solutions, the Managing Director of the Los Angeles Regional Collaborative for Climate Action and Sustainability (LARC), and he was formerly a member of the City of Los Angeles Green Retrofit Development Advisory Council and a member of Clean Tech Los Angeles. As a Science & Technology Policy Fellow in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, he designed and refined policy on climate change, oceans, water resources, and ecosystem services. Dr. Bunje is also a Researcher at the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, where he conducts research that focuses on how complex scientific information such as climate change is communicated and how to apply technology to environmental challenges. Dr. Bunje is also on the Steering Committees of Climate Resolve and the Los Angeles Sustainability Collective He is trained as a biologist, having received his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley.


Dr. Peter Diamandis is the Chairman and CEO of XPRIZE, which leads the world in designing and launching large incentive prizes to drive radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. Best known for the $10 million Ansari XPRIZE for private spaceflight and the $10 million Progressive Automotive XPRIZE for 100 mile-per-gallon equivalent cars, XPRIZE is now launching prizes in Exploration, Life Sciences, Energy, and Education. Diamandis is also an international leader in the commercial space arena, having founded and run many of the leading entrepreneurial companies in this sector including Zero Gravity Corporation, the Rocket Racing League and Space Adventures. As co-Founder & Chairman of the Singularity University, a Silicon Valley based institution partnered with NASA, Google, Autodesk and Nokia, Diamandis counsels the world’s top enterprises on how to utilize exponential technologies and incentivized innovation to dramatically accelerate their business objectives. Dr. Diamandis attended MIT where he received his degrees in molecular genetics and aerospace engineering, as well as Harvard Medical School where he received his M.D. Diamandis’ personal motto is: “The best way to predict the future is to create it yourself!”



Sherri Goodman is the President and CEO of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, whose members are the 90 premier oceanographic research institutions, aquaria and industry across the USA. Ms. Goodman previously served as Senior Vice President and General Counsel of CNA, a research organization for national security leaders and public sector organizations.  She is the founder and Executive Director of the CNA Military Advisory Board, whose landmark reports include National Security and the Threat of Climate Change (2007), and National Security and the Accelerating Risks of Climate Change (2014), among others. From 1993 to 2001, Ms. Goodman served as Deputy Undersecretary of Defense (Environmental Security), responsible for environmental, safety and occupational health programs and policies of the Department of Defense. Ms. Goodman serves on the boards of the Atlantic Council, Committee on Conscience of the U.S. Holocaust Museum, the Joint Ocean Leadership Initiative, and the Secretary of State’s International Security Advisory Board.  She is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations. A graduate of Amherst College, Ms. Goodman has degrees from Harvard Law School and the Kennedy School of Government. 



Ghislaine Maxwell is the President and Founder of The TerraMar Project, a nonprofit on a mission to build a global ocean community. As an online portal focused on creating a comprehensive digital ocean experience, TerraMar has a robust education platform and partners with a wide array of foundations, NGO’s and academic institutions. Ghislaine is President of Ellmax, a consultancy company. Ellmax offers solutions in all fields of classic corporate consulting: strategy, organization, processes, and HR management with a particular strength in digital strategy. She has served on a number of boards, most notably Oxford United Football Club and Seed Magazine. Ghislaine holds a BA/MA from Oxford University. She is a licensed helicopter pilot, certified EMT, and Deepworker submersible pilot. 



Dr. Stewart Patrick is senior fellow and director of the program on international institutions and global governance at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). His areas of expertise include multilateral cooperation, international institutions, and the challenges posed by fragile, failing, and post-conflict states. From September 2002 to January 2005, Dr. Patrick served on the secretary of state’s policy planning staff, with lead staff responsibility for U.S. policy toward Afghanistan and a range of transnational issues. Dr. Patrick is the author or co-author of four books, including Weak Links: Fragile States, Global Threats, and International Security (2011). He is also the executive producer of CFR’s Global Governance Monitor ( and writes the CFR blog “The Internationalist”. Dr. Patrick graduated from Stanford University and received his doctorate and two masters degrees from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. 



Dr. Richard W. (Rick) Spinrad was appointed by President Obama as Chief Scientist of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in May 2014. Spinrad is an internationally recognized scientist and executive with more than 35 years of experience in government, the private sector, academia and a nongovernmental organization. He served previously as vice president for research at Oregon State University, and was the head of NOAA's Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research and the National Ocean Service where he led development of the nation’s first ever ocean research priorities strategy. As Technical Director to the Oceanographer of the U.S. Navy and Division Director at the U.S. Office of Naval Research he established priorities for the U.S. Navy investment in application of oceanographic and meteorological products to fleet operations. Dr. Spinrad was President of Sea Tech, Inc., and he served as executive director for research and education at the Consortium for Oceanographic Research and Education, Inc. Spinrad has published extensively in preeminent peer-reviewed journals, and has been a faculty member at multiple universities. He has been awarded highest honors from three international professional societies, and has been recognized with the highest awards from the U.S. Government including two Presidential Rank Awards (from Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama), and the Distinguished Civilian Service Award from the U.S. Navy. Dr. Spinrad has been President of the Oceanography Society and the Marine Technology Society. He received a Chartered Marine Scientist certificate from the Institute of Marine Engineering Science and Technology in London, England. His B.A. in earth and planetary sciences is from The Johns Hopkins University and his M.S. and Ph.D. both in oceanography are from Oregon State University.


Robert K. Weiss is Vice Chairman and President of XPRIZE. XPRIZE’s mission is to foster innovation through incentivized competition. XPRIZE has active competitions in Lunar Exploration, Healthy Oceans and Mobile Health Care, and is now developing XPRIZEs in Education, and Energy. Weiss is a veteran Hollywood television and film producer having produced over 20 feature films and TV series during the past 25 years. He began his career in the late 1970’s producing the feature film, KENTUCKY FRIED MOVIE and later produced the ABC television program POLICE SQUAD! as well as the three NAKED GUN movies starring Leslie Nielsen. Weiss produced the international hit, THE BLUES BROTHERS for Universal Studios. His other feature films produced for Universal include AMAZON WOMEN ON THE MOON and DRAGNET. Weiss was the Executive Producer for the television series WEIRD SCIENCE and SLIDERS (that he co-created). As president of Broadway Pictures at Paramount, Weiss joined forces with Saturday Night Live Executive Producer Lorne Michaels. Weiss executive produced many films at Paramount including TOMMY BOY, A NIGHT AT THE ROXBURY, SUPERSTAR, and THE LADIES MAN. He went on to produce the hit movies, SCARY MOVIE 3 & 4. Weiss served on the Board of Directors of IS Robotics (now called iRobot in Cambridge, Massachusetts) from 1990 to 1994. Under the banner of Earthlight (a multimedia production company), Weiss has produced award-winning productions for XPRIZE, The Boeing Company, the Zero Gravity Corporation and Anousheh Ansari, the first female private space explorer. Mr. Weiss has been the Vice Chairman and Executive Producer for XPRIZE since 1996. In the fall of 2004, he produced the award-winning live telecast & webcast of the Ansari XPRIZE space flights. Weiss has been the President of XPRIZE since July 2008.


The TerraMar Project is a nonprofit on a mission to build a global ocean community. As an online portal focused on creating a comprehensive digital ocean experience, TerraMar has a robust education platform to improve ocean literacy; partners with a wide array of foundations, NGO’s and academic institutions; and advocates for ocean sustainability by improving awareness through a digital newspaper called The Daily Catch while utilizing social media to connect people to ocean-related news, views and activities.

TerraMar’s immediate objective is a strong Sustainable Development Goal for the ocean in the United Nations’ post-2015 sustainability agenda, and TerraMar is proud to have been involved in raising the profile of the oceans in the international community.

The TerraMar Project is also focused on combatting the insidious issue of plastic pollution in the ocean, in the expansion of no-take marine reserves to rehabilitate marine ecosystems, and in improving awareness of climate change.

Loading Loading