University category finalist, the Mars-WET team. Photo: Xylem.
Mars Wet 60e5d60c27fc5

Xylem Engages First 1,700 Students in Xylem Ignite

July 7, 2021
Global innovation contest draws students from 47 countries to solve water challenges.

RYE BROOK, NY — Xylem (NYSE: XYL), a leading water technology company, is investing in the future of the global water industry with a new dedicated student development program – Xylem Ignite – targeting high school and university students worldwide. Midway through its inaugural year, Xylem Ignite has already engaged more than 1,700 students in creative water-oriented hackathons and sustainability events, including 650+ participants from 47 countries competing in the Xylem Global Student Innovation Challenge for $20,000 in total cash prizes.

“Young leaders are playing such an essential role in our collective ability to solve the global water crisis facing us,” said Patrick Decker, Xylem’s Chief Executive Officer. “We want to encourage them. So we’re investing in them with Xylem Ignite. The future of water innovation is coming from many places, including students who are engaging passionately to help address our water challenges. We have a tremendous opportunity to embrace their ideas and enable them to become the next generation of leaders working for a sustainable world. Investing in them today will provide enormous dividends for the communities we serve.” 

Decker added, “I am deeply inspired to be working with so many talented people who are passionate about solving water challenges and creating a better future for our planet.”

Decker shared his remarks as part of today’s virtual student award ceremony recognizing the winners of the inaugural Global Student Innovation Challenge, Xylem Ignite’s flagship innovation competition. The competition generated 103 final projects over eight weeks, with three winners in each of the high school and university categories receiving cash prizes totaling $20,000. Contestants were invited to submit solutions to one of four challenge statements, with access to masterclasses and support from mentors across the water industry. The challenges included: reducing the water footprint of everyday products; gamifying water quality education; urban flood prediction; and water for life on Mars.

University category finalist, the Mars-WET team, for example, provided detailed solutions to sustaining life on Mars. “After going through so much research on Mars, we realized that [our innovations] can be applied on Earth, too. [We] believe that clean water and sanitation is a human right and is fundamental to human dignity.”

Young innovators developing solutions to various water problems can also apply to be a part of the Xylem Ignite Innovation Incubator. The Incubator program provides up to 12 months’ support for participants to scale up their innovations and advance them toward market readiness. Interested students can send an email to [email protected] for more information and to submit applications.

Xylem Ignite was conceived in mid-2020 by a team of young professionals in Xylem, as a platform to engage the passion and creativity of students around the world. The investments are targeted to give interested students access to the resources needed to develop their ideas and innovations.

The Xylem Ignite program engages students to:

  • Prioritize the need for the next generation of water professionals across several career fields and all relevant industries. 
  • Accelerate innovation through hackathon events, critical problem-solving challenges, and incubator initiatives.
  • Advance water sustainability education with training, masterclasses and mentorship from Xylem leaders and industry experts.
  • Give back to the community with water-oriented volunteerism.

For more information about Xylem Ignite, including on-demand access of the awards event visit General inquiries about the program can be directed to [email protected].

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