Syngenta contest seeks agricultural innovations

Posted by David Ranii on June 9, 2014 

Agribusiness giant Syngenta has turned to crowdsourcing to come up with new ideas for feeding the world’s growing population.

The company recently announced it is offering $50,000 in prize money for innovative concepts that aim to help make agriculture more productive, more sustainable and safer.

The contest is an outgrowth of the Switzerland-based company’s Good Growth Plan, which was unveiled last year. Syngenta has 400 employees in Research Triangle Park, which is its global headquarters for biotechnology research, and more than 750 workers in Greensboro.

“The Good Growth Plan is essentially our response to what we see as one of the toughest challenges that humanity has ever faced, which is feeding 9 billion people by the year 2050 and...not ruining the planet in doing so,” said Jill Wheeler, head of sustainable productivity at Syngenta. Today there are about 7 billion people worldwide.

“We are looking for ideas,” Wheeler added. “We know this is a challenge we can’t take on alone.”

The Good Growth Plan outlines six ambitious targets, ranging from enhancing biodiversity to improving farm worker safety to boosting crop productivity. Contestants’ ideas should address one of these targets.

The grand prize winner will receive $20,000 in prize money. Three runner-up prizes of $10,000 each will also be handed out. In addition, Syngenta will assign advisors to the winners to help them implement their ideas.

Contestants, who must live in the U.S. or Canada, can obtain more information and apply at www.goodgrowthplangrant.com. The deadline for applications is July 14.

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