Meet our Transformative Research Challenge (TRC) 2023 winners

Meet our Transformative Research Challenge (TRC) 2023 winners

Innovative researchers took center stage at the World Food Forum 2023, where the third edition of the Transformative Research Challenge (TRC) concluded. For the third consecutive year, dynamic young innovators showcased their projects live on stage at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Headquarters. The culmination of this edition occurred on Wednesday, 17 October 2023, as part of the flagship event of the 2023 World Food Forum (WFF).

The WFF Transformative Research Challenge (TRC) 2023 was officially launched at the WFF Side Event during the UN Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Forum in New York on 2 May 2023.

In this edition of the TRC, the WFF introduced five distinct special prizes in partnership with new collaborators. These special prizes highlighted pioneering, research-driven solutions focusing on various aspects of global agrifood systems transformation. They tackled present challenges such as the Peste de Petits Ruminants (PPR) Special Prize (co-hosted with FAO Peste des Petits Ruminants/PPR GEP Secretariat), Global One Health Special Prize (co-hosted with Wageningen University & Research (WUR) and FAO Joint Centre for Zoonotic Diseases and AMR (CJWZ), The Role of Water in Agrifood Systems Transformation Special Prize (co-hosted with International Water Management Institute (IWMI) MENA Region, Food and Agriculture Youth Institute (FAYI – IAAS), Food Loss and Waste Special Prize  co-hosted by Food and Nutrition Division (ESN) and Food Action Accelerates Climate Action Special Prize co-hosted by The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

From an initial TRC applicant pool of 500 teams, 48 teams were chosen to be paired with mentors who assisted them in producing, refining and sharpening their research outputs. Out of these research outputs, 22 finalists underwent speech coaching in an exclusive speaking boot camp hosted by Untold and FAO Toastmasters. They then pitched their ideas on stage to a panel of esteemed judges.

The judges included Dr. Máximo Torero, the Chief Economist of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO); Dr. Ismahane Elouafi, FAO Chief Scientist; Jo Puri; Associate Vice President-Strategy and Knowledge Department -International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD); Sjoukje Heimovaara; President Executive Board -Wageningen University & Research (WUR) and Thais M. F. S. Vieira, Director of ESALQ/US and Full Professor at the University of São Paulo. The jury panel was joined by last year’s TRC winner Nafn Amdar, Senior Research Officer at the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), who supported the jury in the deliberation for the Winners selection.

“Investing in research and science is essential to ensuring the identification and subsequent implementation of innovative solutions for the crucial challenges facing the world both today and, in the years to come.  Said Dr. Torero”

The winners of the TRC 2023 are as follows:

Global One Health Special Prize

  • “Connecting People and Landscapes through Agroecological Agroforestry Systems” by Arthur Venturella and Liriane Petry
  • “One Health Connects: Intergration of Knowledges in Disease Management for Kenya's Livestock Systems.” by Jackline Owili and Amos Lucky Muhone”
  • “Zoonotic schistosomiasis in Africa by Fatima Fordjour and Nana Acheampong
  • “Mitigating Leptospirosis Risks in Kisantu” by Nancy Nson Nswal, Aurelie Maketa, Sion Israel Sion, Sitilé Landry Sanon and Olivier Kambere Kavulirirwa
  • “One Health Lex-hub" by Francesca Coli and Enrico Mezzacapo
  • “ICT enabled Avian Influenza Awareness” by Maria Luisa de la Puerta Fernande, Kodi Monte, Ahmad Hassan and Samson Omeiza
  • “Cuba One Health Surveillance System” by Laura Cunha de Albuquerque Ferreira da Silva; Luís Pedro Carmo and Damarys de las Nieves Montano Valle
  • “Campylobacteriosis through One Health Approach” by Tegegn Dilbato Dinbiso and Lencho Megersa Marami
  • “Promoting One Health for Agrifood Systems” by Patrick Rugamba, Betty Mutesi and BonheurNshuti
  • “Palm Waste as Prebiotics to Prevent Avian Influenza” by Erlambang Ajidarma , Ken Amarakamini, Nida Auliani and Ahmad Jauharul Ilmi


Peste de Petits Ruminats (PPR) Special Prize

  • “Epidemiospatial-risk mapping and socio-economic impact” by Gashaw Beyene Asfaw
  • “Molecular Characterization of sheep and goats plague virus in Cameroon” by Ornella Possi and Sado Berlange
  • “Innovation and technology for PPR eradication and reporting” by George Lugonzo, Grace Gacheri, Pamela Ntinyari, Zamira Wesonga and Christopher Masaba
  • “Assessment of environmental samples for PPR and FMD in live animal markets” by Imran Hossain and Tasmiah Tarin
  • “Interventional awareness and Vaccination campain towards the Control of PPR” by Victor Abiodun, Oluwadara Olaifa, Oluwadara Asaolu and Moyinoluwa Oladoye
  • “Efficacy of Pulse vaccination in the control of PPR “ by Jiaxin Li, Hongliang Zhao, Chang Niu, Yize Wang and Yan Su


Food Loss and Waste

  • “As Ugly As Tasty” by Elvin Martínez, Beranyoly Carolina Dubón, Claudia Argueta Burgos, Carlos Moran Matute and Zecarlos Castillo Girón
  • “Improving Composting Methods in Kayonza district” by Kamashazi Chantal, Irakoze Liliane, Uwamahoro Judith and Gakwaya Didas


The Role of water in Agrifood Systems Transformation

  • “Evapotranspiration Water Reuse Integrated Technology” by Menglu Wang, Peng Pan, and Saud uz Zafar


Food Action Accelerate Climate Action

  • “Assessing the impact of organic fertilizer blends” by George Kidega and Maureen Scott


“The work of these researchers is the kind of work the world needs to help end hunger, transform our agrifood systems, and mitigate the impact of climate change in our lifetime” Said Dr. Torero.

The winners receive various prizes including research grants of up to USD 10 000, recognized internships, visibility, an award certificate, publicity through WFF and its partners’ media channels, including a profile that will be published on the FAO academic partnership website, networking opportunities and more. In total, we will be awarding USD 200 000 as grant prizes.

The Transformative Research Challenge Finals is available to view on the WFF website and on the WFF YouTube channel.