Paul Bunje is a global thought leader in bringing innovation to solve environmental grand challenges. Paul leads Energy & Environment prizes at the XPRIZE Foundation, where he brings his ability to bridge the gap between science and society to incentivize solutions to diverse challenges facing our world, including climate change, energy, and our ocean. This work includes leading the $2M Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE and the $20M NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE.
Paul is also the co-founder of Conservation X Labs. He brings substantial expertise in innovation, conservation, science policy, and broad public engagement to the mission of bringing innovation to conservation.
Paul was the founding Executive Director of the UCLA Center for Climate Change Solutions and the first Managing Director of the Los Angeles Regional Collaborative for Climate Action and Sustainability. In these roles, he facilitated innovative research and communication between scientists, decision makers, and the public and led the creation of regional climate change programs for the 10 million people of Los Angeles County. Paul is also the co-founder of Conservation X Labs, an organization that brings innovation to global conservation threats.
Paul is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Oceans. He has served as an AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as a member of the City of Los Angeles’ Green Retrofit Advisory Council, and was a proud educator at science museums in California and Minnesota. Paul is a fellow of the UCLA Center for Tropical Research, an advisory board member for Climate Resolve and the Los Angeles Sustainability Collaborative, and has served as an advisor to USAID, Clean Tech LA, and the Asia Society.
In 2013, the American Association for the Advancement of Science selected Paul as one of 40 fellows, out of 2,600 AAAS Science Policy Fellows globally, for its 40th Anniversary to recognize individuals who have made exemplary dedication to applying science to serve society, were creative, innovative, and collaborative problem solvers in addressing global challenges, and were uncommon ambassadors for the role of science and technology.
Paul has lived and conducted scientific research in Europe, the Middle East, and the Pacific—providing first-hand insight into the diverse challenges we face in protecting planet and our communities.
Paul is trained in biology, with a B.S. from the University of Southern California and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. He is an Associate Researcher at the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and continues to serve in a number of leadership roles in environment, energy, and sustainability. Paul is also an accomplished public speaker and facilitator, leading many groups to grown their understanding of innovation and solutions to grand environmental challenges.