Date/Deadline: 15 Aug, 2020

Global agriculture is increasingly driven by data. Advances in computing power, data storage, and data communications over the last 30 years have given rise to powerful tools for helping make farming and food systems more precise, profitable, and adaptive. Newer digital innovations — including machine learning, the expansion of connected sensor technologies, and robotics — promise more dramatic changes in the farming landscape in the near future.

The Inspire Challenge is CGIAR’s signature digital innovation process. It leverages the global footprint and deep food security subject matter expertise of CGIAR with expert industry partners to link digital technologies to impact in developing economies.

The Challenge:
Bridges the deep subject matter expertise of CGIAR researchers with the capabilities of external partners
Challenges research organisations to partner with industry in order to leverage public good data
Robust, established application and review process evaluated on the following:

– Scale
– Innovation
– Impact
– Pitch Quality
– Data Use
– Sustainability

Digital Innovation and COVID-19
The current crisis provides an opportunity to test a key part of our theory of change: that data and digital tools bring critical capabilities for agile adaptation in food systems.

Two new categories, codesigned with funders, for 2020 are directly relevant to the current crisis:

• Sustaining Farm Income will link sustainable practices in food systems directly back to farm income. It provides a mechanism for digital innovations for (re)building resilient, inclusive agricultural value chains at a time that will be important for COVID-19 recovery.
• Measuring and Building Resilience will leverage the vast amount of data and applied research methods to understand and operationalize resilience in target food systems.
The Inspire Challenge first-stage grants process will run mostly as planned, but targeting specific response, recovery, and resilience metrics added to the judging rubric in all challenge categories.

The two other Inspire Challenge categories also hold great potential for targeting digital innovation towards response, recovery, and resilience related to the food security challenges unfolding from the COVID-19 crisis:

• Sensing and Renewing Ecosystems links ecosystem services to long-term resilience of food systems (which could include, for example, managing future risk of zoonotic disease).
• Revealing Food Systems sources and implements novel, high-frequency methods for tracing and understanding food flows (an important capability for monitoring and predicting emergent food security shocks before they become acute).

As a result, the 2020 Inspire Challenge startup grant evaluation will include specific COVID-19 response, recovery, and resilience metrics added to the judging rubric.

CHALLENGE CATEGORIES
Applications must fall under one of the following Challenge categories:

• REVEALING FOOD SYSTEMS
• MEASURING & BUILDING RESILIENCE
• SUSTAINING FARM INCOME
• SENSING & RENEWING ECOSYSTEMS

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