Finalists announced for 2021 World Food Forum ‘Transformative Research Challenge’

New Delhi: For researchers and aspiring researchers who are committed to transforming agri-food systems, the Challenge was launched in May 2021 by the WFF and aims to provide mentoring and visibility to help advance knowledge and translate ideas into publishable research papers, grant proposals and tangible solutions in support of ending global hunger and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Thanks to WFF’s team of global researchers and innovators, who served as expert reviewers and mentors, and some tough deliberations, eight finalists have been selected from over 80 entrants for their pioneering approaches and potential to create a better food future for all.

Two finalists were selected in one of four categories – and include:

Better Production 

  • The pursuit of sustainable pork production: a metabolic approach 
    Team member(s): Morgan Zumbaugh. Mentor: Mateus Mondin 
  • Prebio-tech: scaling alternative protein with prebiotics
    Team Member(s): Chian-Wen Chan, Daniel Mahadzir, Mohd Fadzelly Abu Bakar, Nur Hafizah Malik, Aqilah Awg Abdul Rahman. Mentor: Antoine Affokpon 


Better Nutrition 

  • Addressing the demand gap for sweet biofortified with low cyanide content cassava varieties for the fresh market segment in Nigeria 
    Team Member(s): Adenike Ige, Ismail Rabbi, Chinedu Nwoko, Ruth Uwugiaren, Moshood Bakare. Mentor(s): Dimas Rahadian Aji Muhammad 
  • Utilizing natural variation to create healthier and more nutritious food  
    Team Member(s): Maria Itria Ibba. Mentor: Hazel Fromm-Tatosian 



Better Environment  

  • Development of spatially explicit decision support systems to identify unexploited lands for sustainable cropland expansion responding to future food demands with minimum environmental impacts
    Team member(s): Elliott Dossou-Yovo, Komlavi Akpoti; Mentor: George Akoko  
  • Understanding irrigation behavioural change as a result of adopting water saving technologies – a Case Study from Jordan
    Team member(s): Nafn Amdar, Arif Anwar. Mentor: Atef Swelam 

Better Life 

  • TRANSNUTCARE – nutrition care for transgender community 
  • Team member(s): Sara Marques da Costa, Telma Catarina Nogueira dos Santos, Mariana Liñan da Silva Santos Pinto, Vitória Alves Ferreira Dias da Silva. Mentor: Kaat Verplanken 
  • Eradicate Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR) and improve the livelihood of smallholder farmers in developing countries. Evidence from Senegal
    Team member(s): Pacem Arelys Kadjogbe; Mentor: Andrew Mang’ula 

A jury with extensive experience in agri-food systems has been convened based on a variety of criteria, including demonstrable commitment to youth empowerment. Jury members will attend the presentations of Challenge finalists and announce winners at the Innovation Day of the WFF flagship event on 2 October, 2021.

The WFF Transformative Research Challenge jury panel will be chaired by FAO Chief Economist, Máximo Torero, who will also judge the Better Life category.

Jury panelists will also include:

  • Ismahane Eloufi, Chief Scientist at FAO and judge for the Better Environment category. 
  • Longbao Wei Qiushi chair professor of applied economics and agribusiness, Director of Food and Agribusiness Management InstituteZhejiang University  and judge for the Better Production category;
  • Milka Sokolović, Director General of the European Public Health Alliance and judge for the Better Nutrition category.