Innovation Lab

Innovation Lab


Transformative Research Challenge

01Challenge overview

💡 The WFF Transformative Research Challenge (TRC) aims to inspire research and innovation in sustainable development to end hunger and transform our agrifood systems.

✍️ Teams of young and young-at-heart researchers are invited to submit a two-page concept note proposing an innovative research idea to help end hunger and transform our agrifood systems focusing on one of “four betters” as well as on the WFF’s theme of the year: “Healthy Diets. Healthy Planet.”

🌍 Shortlisted participants will receive expert mentorship to help translate their concepts into sound research papers and present them at the WFF global stage in October 2022.

Output examples include:

  • a research article for publication;
  • a research project proposal for grant funding;
  • a paper or presentation at a scientific conference;
  • a plan for further development, partnership or scaling to transform a research innovation into a tangible solution.

During the pitches, a panel of expert judges will select the top three teams and present a special award to the team that best aligns with the WFF theme of the year.

02Five reasons to join the WFF Transformative Research Challenge

Shortlisted innovators will be invited to present a lightning talk at the flagship WFF virtual event taking place in October 2022, as well as benefit from the following:

  1. Mentoring: Ten to fifteen shortlisted teams will receive personalized mentorship from globally recognized experts in their field to help “translate” their concept note into a concrete research output (e.g. a research proposal for grant funding or research article for publication).
  2. Coaching: Each team will be coached in the preparation of the lightning talk for the final presentations.
  3. Networking:  Participants will have access to a global audience of young leaders and organizations from the public and private sectors, including the United Nations.   
  4. Visibility: The WFF will provide a platform for global youth to showcase innovative research ideas and approaches to a global audience. Shortlisted teams will be profiled on the WFF website, and have the chance to pitch their research project to a global audience and international expert panel on the WFF Flagship Event stage.
  5. Ongoing promotion: Shortlisted teams and the winner of the TRC may be included in additional learning and exposure activities associated with the WFF, such as a social media campaigns, case studies, and future events to foster ongoing visibility and encourage future development.

03 Meet the 2021 Winners


Also meet the 2021 Judges, Mentors and Experts and learn more about the Terms and Conditions about the Transformative Research Challenge.

04Need ideas? Let the 2021 TRC finalists inspire you!

WFF Better Production TRC Award

Morgan Zumbaugh

Innovative Solution: "The pursuit of sustainable pork production: a metabolic approach"

Team member: Morgan Zumbaugh
Mentor: Mateus Mondin

Chian-Wen Chan, Daniel Mahadzir, Mohd Fadzelly Abu Bakar, Nur Hafizah Malik, Aqilah Awg Abdul Rahman

Innovative Solution: "Prebio-tech: scaling alternative protein with prebiotics"

Team Members: Chian-Wen Chan, Daniel Mahadzir, Mohd Fadzelly Abu Bakar, Nur Hafizah Malik, Aqilah Awg Abdul Rahman
Mentor: Antoine Affokpon
WFF Better Nutrition TRC Award

Adenike Ige, Ismail Rabbi, Chinedu Nwoko, Ruth Uwugiaren, Moshood Bakare

Innovative Solution: "Addressing the demand gap for sweet biofortified with low cyanide content cassava varieties for the fresh market segment in Nigeria"

Team Members: Adenike Ige, Ismail Rabbi, Chinedu Nwoko, Ruth Uwugiaren, Moshood Bakare
Mentor: Dimas Rahadian Aji Muhammad

Maria Itria Ibba

Innovative Solution: "Utilizing natural variation to create healthier and more nutritious food"

Team Member: Maria Itria Ibba
Mentor: Hazel Fromm-Tatosian
WFF Better Environment TRC Award

Elliott Dossou-Yovo, Komlavi Akpoti

Innovative Solution: "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 members: Elliott Dossou-Yovo, Komlavi Akpoti
Mentor: George Akoko

Nafn Amdar, Arif Anwar

Innovative Solution: "Understanding irrigation behavioural change as a result of adopting water saving technologies - a Case Study from Jordan"

Team members: Nafn Amdar, Arif Anwar
Mentor: Atef Swelam
WFF Better Life TRC Award

Sara Marques da Costa, Telma Nogueira, Mariana Liñan Pinto, Vitória Dias da Silva

Innovative Solution: "TRANSNUTCARE - nutrition care for transgender community"

Team members: Sara Marques da Costa, Telma Nogueira, Mariana Liñan Pinto, Vitória Dias da Silva
Mentor: Kaat Verplanken

Pacem Arelys Kadjogbe

Innovative Solution: "Eradicate Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR) and improve the livelihood of smallholder farmers in developing countries. Evidence from Senegal"

Team member: Pacem Kotchofa
Mentor: Andrew Mang’ula

05 2022 TRC timeline

Be part of the solution.

06 TRC explained

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Let’s create a better food future, together.
Be part of the solution.


WFF Innovation Lab track in collaboration with

  • Aciar
  • The Ayadee Foundation
  • Clinton Foundation
  • Foodicons
  • Hult Prize Japan
  • Impakter
  • International Coffee Organization
  • One Planet Solutions
  • Right2Grow
  • Social Impact Lab Japan
  • Sigmaxyz
  • Thought For Food
  • Toastmasters
  • Extreme Tech Challenge

An initiative of

FAO Youth