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Harnessing the Bioeconomy to Design a Sustainable Future

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Young Innovator Challenge


  • YIC poses difficult questions and seeks the public's support to answer these questions

  • YIC offers scholarships and other prizes to winning Innovators


We are facing population growth and a growing appetite for proteins in our diets, as well as the growth of protein intake in developing countries. In addition, protein supply is increasingly more fragile due to climate change. Novel foods are critical to nourishing the increasingly rich global population sustainably while helping us to preserve scarce resources such as land, soil, water, and biodiversity.

Yet, for the potential positive impacts of novel foods to be fully materialized, the incumbents whose livelihoods depend on the agrifood system should not be neglected. Food and agriculture represent a strong cultural heritage as well as the source of income for millions or even billions of people. Therefore novel foods should not be aimed at disrupting these people's lives without appropriate mitigation strategies, otherwise it is socially unsustainable.

It will be a challenge to redesign our food system, and in order to create non-polarized food production we must seek solutions on how to integrate novel technologies into regenerative agriculture. We must work synergistically with the current agrifood system, not in opposition to it. We must avoid polarizing vitriolic arguments that oversimplify complex issues.

The failure to take millions’ of livelihoods into consideration and to leverage the deep understanding of farmers would be counter-effective for developing a more sustainable food system.

How do we bring these worlds together? How do we redesign a system where novel technologies could contribute to farmers' livelihood and welfare and in which farmers will be able to contribute their deep industry knowledge to technology development and implementation? Can alternative foods help in soil regeneration and help farmers overcome and prevent climate change? How can alternative foods find synergy with traditional agriculture and help farmers preserve and grow their incomes?

These are some of the questions the first YIC aims to uncover.

 How it works:

  1. Participants are between ages 15 and 35.

  2. Only one submission per participant.

What is included in a submission:

  1. One essay (max 5000 words)

  2. A video presentation of the applicant to present their innovative idea (max 7 minutes)

  3. Applicants can choose to give permission for their submissions to be published or remain confidential


  1. Three prizes of $1500 towards tuition

  2. Three prizes of $500 will be awarded towards tuition/ school/ or any training program for the under 17 category

Additional information:

  1. Proposals that offer roadmaps for implementation behind their vision will be preferred.

Submission Portal​:

Will be added here once YIC submission period begins.

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