Are you an innovator driven by the interest in solving challenges in the agri-food sector that contribute to mainstreaming agrobiodiversity solutions in conservation, production, and consumption? If yes, submit your application!
The Congress encourages innovation by recognizing ideas, best-practices, services, and products that could be made available to farmers, consumers and food companies to increase production effectiveness, competitiveness and resilience while conserving agrobiodiversity. The Agrobiodiversity Innovation Challenge will focus on showcasing solutions and aims to inspire research and ideas in the field of agriculture and food systems.
The Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, with the support of the Italian Government and in partnership with the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), The Lexicon, International Institute for Tropical Agriculture Business Incubation Platform, CIHEAM Bari, and the Italian Institute of Technology, are organizing the Agrobiodiversity Innovation Challenge.
In an open innovation approach, They aim to:
- Connect different actors who are motivated to improve global and community-based food systems.
- Attract and support innovators to scale up/out, by establishing a long-term research and development collaboration with CGIAR and its partners.
- Identify innovators who share the same ambition and could help advance research by sharing ideas and solutions.
Solutions should have the potential to:
- Boost local food production and consumption as well as nutrition security.
- Promote public-private-partnerships to link formal and informal sectors for sustainable intensification leading to livelihood and positive environmental benefits.
- Leverage technological innovations with biodiversity-sensitive potential for producers, their communities, and consumers.
- Promote the production of Early Generation Seeds (EGS vegetative and generative multiplied) closing the gap between breeding outcome and commercial delivery of certified seeds of good quality to the farm.
- Promote women engagement and entrepreneurship and youth-led enterprises.
- Accelerate rural transformation using mobile applications such as blockchain technology that boosts nature-based solutions to improve sustainability, profits for growers, and consumer health.
Areas of interest include but are not limited to:
- Raw material coming from an agricultural source (unprocessed): Local crop or traditional crop.
- Agriculture biotech: Feed-tech and crop-tech for crop & animal agriculture, enzymes, microbiome, breeding etc.
- Seed supply chain: Functional forage seed supply systems.
- Novel food: Novel ingredients, plant-based proteins.
- Processing & processed goods
- Logistics services & systems: Traceability tech, logistics & transport, processing tech, import/export.
- Digital technologies & data driven solutions, Sensing & IoT: Ag data capturing devices, decision support software, big data analytics
- Financial services: Climate linked insurance scheme.
- Social innovation: development and implementation of new ideas (products, services, and models) to meet social needs and create new social relationships or collaborations.
- Circular economy: In agriculture, the reuse of resources, recycling and waste reduction (e.g., improvement of storage techniques and logistics, transformation of waste into fertilizers)
- In the processing industry, preventing food waste.
- Reducing waste in domestic consumption.
Awards and Benefits
Awards will be conferred during an Awards ceremony. Prizes will be presented by the Director General of the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT and a high-level representative of the Government of Italy.
Selected winners of the Agrobiodiversity Innovation Challenge a will receive both in cash and in-kind prizes.
- Cash prize: Two grants/free equity of USD 5,000 each to the top two innovators based on level of excellence and innovation – (IFAD)
- Mentoring: Support in fine tuning their business model, drawing up their business plan and access to science & business development teams – (CGIAR/ IITA BIP)
- Partnership: Partnering up with a CGIAR scientist or Team who will provide guidance and feedback on innovation – (CGIAR/ Alliance, IIT)
- Matching: Opportunity to participate in a Dragon’s Den to match solutions to IFAD’s country teams for further product development and/or scalability (IFAD).
- Expertise: In-kind post-award support will be provided to equip innovators with tools, technical assistance, strategic guidance, technological due-diligence, mentorship and access to global community of scientists and to field operations to test and scalability of solutions – (CGIAR/ Alliance, IIT)
- Training and Tuition: Three winning ideas (team or member) will receive two full scholarship worth USD 25K each, and one additional Full Tuition Assistance for participation in the Master I Level “Open Innovation & Youth Entrepreneurship” delivered by CIHEAM Bari – (CIHEAM Bari)
For Startups and their Founders:
- Visibility & Recognition: shortlisted teams will be uploaded on the Agrobiodiversity Congress website, reach a global audience including international investors and organizations and pitch virtually to the Selection Committee.
- Networking: Teams will have the opportunity to meet and network with experts, International Organizations, Investors, private sector, and research institutions.
- Corporate activities: Winning innovative solutions may be invited to additional learning opportunities or exposure associated with the Agrobiodiversity Congress and Accelerate for Impact Platform, such as participating in social media campaigns, case studies and webinars to foster the Open Innovation model and sustain entrepreneurship and innovation.
Applicants must be:
- Individuals, private companies, or institutions responsible for an innovation with a demonstrated efficiency using novel tools, products, or services to enhance and promote sustainable food and agriculture.
- International Organizations (IOs)
- National Agriculture Research System (NARS)
- Non-Governmental-Organizations (NGOs)
All innovations must apply to agrobiodiversity conservation and consumption practices and should aim to include climate change adaptation measures. Application forms that are incomplete, do not comply with the terms and conditions specified in the call, or are submitted after the deadline, will not be considered. No applicants under the age of 18 will be considered for the Award, unless represented by a parent or legal guardian. Participation is free of charge.
Note: Preference will be given to applications by teams that have developed solutions to address the needs of the rural poor and/or communities in fragile and conflict-affected states or heavily affected by the aftermath of COVID-19.
For more information, visit https://www.ifad.org/en/web/latest/-/2021-agrobiodiversity-innovation-challenge