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 food 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 agri-food systems focusing on one of FAO’s “Four Betters”.

🌍 Shortlisted participants will receive expert mentorship to help translate their concepts into sound research papers and present them at the virtual WFF global stage in October 2021. 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.

02Five reasons to join the WFF Transformative Research Challenge

Selected innovators will be invited to present a lightning talk at the flagship WFF virtual event taking place in October 2021, 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 a PechaKucha-style lightning talk for the virtual WFF stage.
  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 provides 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 through the virtual WFF 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.

Learn more about the Terms and Conditions about the Transformative Research Challenge.

03Meet the TRC finalists

WFF Better Production TRC Award

Morgan Zumbaugh

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

04 Let’s create a better food future, together

Be part of the solution.

05Meet the TRC Judges, Mentors and Experts

Agri-food systems researchers and policy specialists from around the globe have volunteered to become experts, judges and mentors for young aspiring researchers in the Transformative Research Challenge (TRC).

Meet the TRC Judges, Mentors and Experts

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
  • Social Impact Lab Japan
  • Sigmaxyz
  • Thought For Food
  • Toastmasters
  • Extreme Tech Challenge

An initiative of

FAO Youth