CONGRATULATIONS TO THE FINALISTS!

We received creative solutions around the globe from students, startups, innovators, and entrepreneurs. From over 400+ submissions, we selected the Finalists to compete in the Award Ceremony in September.

The FoodTech Challenge

The FoodTech Challenge is a global competition that seeks innovative solutions to address food security.
The competition supports the UAE’s commitment to providing its population with sufficient, safe and nutritious food. The competition invites applicants from all backgrounds to join. University students and early-stage start-ups with prior experience in urban farming are especially encouraged to apply.

What does food security mean?

Food Security, as defined by the United Nations’ Committee on World Food Security, is “the condition in which all people, at all times, have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food, that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life”.

What does Food Security mean?

Food Security, as defined by the United Nations’ Committee on World Food Security, is “the condition in which all people, at all times, have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food, that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life”.

HOW TO SUBMIT YOUR IDEA

To be part of the FoodTech Challenge, you will need to submit a detailed business case proposal, as well as a one-minute pitch video.

Click the button below to register on our Entries website and to read more about the competition rules.

How to submit your idea

1. Applications for the FoodTech Challenge are accepted from September 2019 to February 2020.

2. A panel of experts will select the finalists entries, who will then be invited to present their business case in-person in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

3. The finals will be a three-day food and agriculture technology event, including workshops and panel discussions, networking sessions, and the final award ceremony.

4. Four winning teams will share prize money of up to $1M USD, which includes cash prizes as well as eligibility for a UAE-based accelerator programme.

Abu Dhabi attracts four agri-tech companies with $100m investment

April 9, 2020

Abu Dhabi Investment Office (Adio) has invested $100 million (Dh367m) to bring four agriculture technology companies to the emirate as part of government efforts to attract high-skilled talent and cutting-edge research. Adio partnered with AeroFarms, Madar Farms, RNZ and RDI to build agri-tech research and development (R&D) facilities and production centres in Abu Dhabi, it said on Thursday. Their aim is to explore how arid-climate countries can benefit from these technologies.

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April 2020 Newsletter

April 1, 2020

The world has changed drastically in a few short months. Global disruptions caused by the coronavirus has impacted almost all aspects of living, and The FoodTech Challenge is no exception. Still, our resilience as a global community is strong, and the purpose behind our work has never become more urgent. We are inspired by the promise of your ideas, and we look forward to working with our finalists to develop these solutions further.

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March 2020 Newsletter

March 1, 2020

In light of ongoing COVID-19 developments and to ensure the safety and wellbeing of participants, judges, partners, attendees, and staff, the FoodTech Challenge will be postponing the Final Awards Ceremony to 14-16 September 2020*. The decision follows careful consultation with our partners and UAE public health authorities. Now more than ever, food security is an urgent issue that requires a swift global response. We in the FoodTech Challenge Team understand this urgency and are hard at work in achieving a more food-secure world with you. We have evaluated your competition submissions and have selected the Top 10 finalists, which will be announced in our channels soon.

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February 2020 Newsletter

February 29, 2020

We are thrilled to announce that we have received over 400 submissions to the FoodTech Challenge! Coming from over 60 countries; our applicants are students, entrepreneurs, and scientists with incredible and innovative ideas to enhance the UAE’s food security. Our expert panel of judges are currently evaluating submissions and we will notify the finalist teams by mid-March.

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The FoodTech Challenge at Gulfood 2020

16 - 20 February 2020

The FoodTech Challenge team is proud to partner with Gulfood 2020, the world’s largest annual food and beverage trade exhibition with over 5000+ global exhibitors. We are involved in many activities – keynote speeches, panel discussions (details coming soon) – during the 5-day event. We invite you to join, network with industry leaders, and learn more about food innovation in the Middle East.

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Seeking Innovative Ideas to Global Food Security Challenge

February 13, 2020

The 48th edition of The Pro Chef Middle East magazine is here! In light of Gulfood 2020 kicking off today, we take a behind-the-scenes look at the biggest event on the GCC’s F&B calendar. Inside, you’ll find discussions with industry professionals to watch out for at this year’s show, plus insider intel and stands to watch at the week-long event.

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First-Mover Advantage: H.E. Mariam Almheiri, UAE Minister Of State For Food Security

February 10, 2020

Over the course of my conversation with H.E. Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri at Emirates Towers in Dubai in January, there were a few traits about the UAE Minister of State for Food Security that especially stood out. For starters, Almheiri has an extremely amiable personality. Besides putting me at ease almost as soon as I met her, this resulted in a free-flowing conversation that had her sharing not just facts and figures relating to the UAE Food Security Office that she leads, but also a lot of personal insights and anecdotes from her life and career so far. Indeed, it became quite apparent that Almheiri’s investment in the work that she does today has been largely driven by the values and principles that her parents had inculcated in her from a young age.

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The FoodTech Challenge and Careers in Sustainability

February 7, 2020

"How do I get started with a career in sustainability?" "Do I need a master's degree to advance within the field?" "What if you really love the company you work for, but they don’t have an opportunity to work in sustainability (and get paid for it)?" Pursuing a career in sustainability can seem as tough as defining sustainability in the first place. Fret not, dear listeners! We collected your questions and crafted an episode dedicated to exploring the landscape of jobs in sustainability. Join us as we break down the market for sustainability jobs, relate our own experiences in the field, and share tons of resources for sustainability job hunters. We also connect with Trish Kenlon, Founder of Sustainable Career Pathways, to learn more about specific strategies to land that dream green job.

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It’s time to get real serious about food

February 2, 2020

In 1996, representatives of 185 countries attending the World Food Summit in Rome made a commitment to eradicate global hunger. Yet, almost 25 years later more than 820 million people remain chronically hungry... and over 2 billion more experience moderate to severe food insecurity. This includes 8 per cent of the population of North America and Europe.

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UAE’s Food Waste Pledge and Winnow Tackle US$4 Billion Problem

February 1, 2020

Through a nationwide Food Waste Pledge, the United Arab Emirates recovered nearly 2 million meals in 2019—and plans to recover 3 million meals in 2020. An initiative of UAE’s Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE), the pledge calls on the hospitality sector to adopt waste-saving and efficient food production practices. According to the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition’s Food Sustainability Index, the UAE ranked 22 out of 25 Gulf Region countries for food waste, with each citizen contributing 197 kilograms (434 pounds) of food waste each year. In the UAE, the hospitality sector is credited with over 32 percent of all food waste.

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January 2020 Newsletter, Part 2

January 31, 2020

Thirteen days are left before the submission deadline, and we are excited to read about your innovative food and agtech solutions. Please make sure to carefully review the eligibility criteria, submission requirements, and competition Terms & Conditions again before you click submit. To help you ace the process, we have developed a simple animation to walk you through the requirements. Check it out and remember, the final deadline is 13 February 2020.

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UAE Minister of State for Food Security encourages participation of youth in the FoodTech challenge

January 20, 2020

Her Excellency Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri called on university students at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week to provide innovative solutions in tackling global food security challenges

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UAE Minister of State for Food Security encourages participation of youth in the FoodTech challenge

January 20, 2020

UAE Minister of State for Food Security Encourages Participation of Youth in the FoodTech Challenge. Her Excellency Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri called on university students at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week to provide innovative. - solutions in tackling global food security challenges. - The FoodTech Challenge has so far seen over 1,000 applicants registering from around the world. - Applications to the FoodTech Challenge will remain open until February 13th

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January 2020 Newsletter, Part 1

January 15, 2020

The FoodTech Challenge team would like to wish all of you a very happy 2020. We look forward to working with you in the coming year, to help bring your innovative food security solutions to fruition. It was hugely rewarding to see the wide variety of high-quality submissions we received in time for the Early Bird deadline on Dec 17th. Submissions were received from around the globe, including MENA, South Asia, Latin America, Europe, and North America. It is clear from these submissions that we can anticipate a highly competitive final competition in April 2020, where we eventually select our final four winners.

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FoodTech Challenge at ADSW

January 13, 2020

Want to learn about the FoodTech Challenge? Have any questions related to the competition? Want to interact with the latest agriculture technologies? Want to win some prizes? Come find our booth at the Youth 4 Sustainability Hub, Abu Dhabi Sustainability week. We will be there to welcome you from Jan 13th – Jan 16th, 9am – 4pm.

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Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week: local and global partnerships are key to ensuring the UAE's food security

January 2, 2020

A country's ability to act sustainably determines its successful development. In the context of food security, sustainability means enabling all citizens and residents to have access to sufficient nutritious food at affordable prices at all times.

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Food for thought

January 1, 2020

Food security is a global concern with local implications, encompassing myriad challenges like climate change, overpopulation, water management and food waste. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, about a sixth of the world’s population (over 800 million people) were exposed to severe food insecurity in 2018, and over two billion to chronic hunger.

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Panel Of Expert Judges Announced For The FoodTech Challenge

December 19, 2019

UAE Office of State for Food Security and Tamkeen, an Abu Dhabi-based company mandated to deliver projects to meet the UAE's vision of knowledge-based development, are pleased to announce the appointment of thirteen UAE-based and international expert judges selected across research, academia, industry, and policy. The final awards ceremony will take place at NYU Abu Dhabi in April 2020, and will also feature Danielle Nierenberg, Co-Founder and President of FoodTank and David Rosenberg, Co-Founder and CEO of AeroFarms as part of the judging panel.

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Panel Of Expert Judges Announced For The FoodTech Challenge

December 18, 2019

Panel of expert judges announced for the FoodTech Challenge UAE Office of State for Food Security and Tamkeen selected the panel of judges for the FoodTech Challenge based on their business, scientific and policy backgrounds. Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 18 December 2019 – UAE Office of State for Food Security and Tamkeen, an Abu Dhabi-based company mandated to deliver projects to meet the UAE’s vision of knowledge-based development, are pleased to announce the appointment of thirteen UAE-based and international expert judges selected across research, academia, industry, and policy. The final awards ceremony will take place at NYU Abu Dhabi in April 2020, and will also feature Danielle Nierenberg, Co-Founder and President of FoodTank and David Rosenberg, Co-Founder and CEO of AeroFarms as part of the judging panel.

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New Dubai vertical farm set to start operations in Q2 2020

December 17, 2019

Dubai Industrial City has announced it will be home to Badia Farms’ upcoming new large-scale high-tech vertical farm. Badia Farms, a regional AgTech leader, said the vertical farm is expected to start operations in the second quarter of 2020. Saud Abu Al-Shawareb, managing director of Dubai Industrial City, and Omar Al Jundi, founder and CEO of Badia Farms, signed an agreement formalising the partnership. Spanning an area of 50,000 sq ft, the facility will have the capacity to produce 3,500kg of high-quality fruits and vegetables on a daily basis.

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UAE climbs 10 spots on food security index

December 15, 2019

The UAE has ranked 21st on the Global Food Security Index this year - a 10-place leap from last year's 31st place - reflecting how far the country has come in establishing itself as a world leader in innovation-driven food security. "The UAE's impressive improvement in the Global Food Security Index is a testament to the tremendous progress we have made. This is the result of a team effort from the Food Security Office, government entities, private-sector partners and the community to build an integrated ecosystem that can take concrete steps in the national food security sector," said Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of State for Food Security.

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UAE improves 10 places in Global Food Security Index

December 14, 2019

The 10-place leap that the UAE has achieved on the Global Food Security Index, moving from last year’s 31 in the rankings to this year’s 21, reflects the efforts of the UAE government to establish the country as a world leading hub in innovation-driven food security, a top official said. "Our leadership has issued clear and ambitious directives to transform the UAE into a world leading hub in innovation-driven food security with clearly set targets. These include the National Food Security Strategy goals, which are enabling all citizens and residents to have access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food for an active and healthy life at affordable prices at all times, including emergencies and crises," said Mariam Hareb Almheiri, Minister of State for Food Security.

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University of California, Santa Cruz Workshop

December 6, 2019

The FoodTech Challenge Team held a workshop at University of California, Santa Cruz, USA, where we introduced over 20 students to global trends in food security and the UAE’s efforts towards achieving a food secure world. The workshop was followed by an exciting panel discussion with UC Santa Cruz students, professors, and pioneering entrepreneurs, including: Sue Carter, Professor of Physics, Narinder Kapany Professor of Entrepreneurship, Provost for the Rachel Carson College, Associate Dean of the Division of Graduate Studies, Director of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurial Development, UC Santa Cruz, Co-founder of Soliculture Glenn Alers, Co-founder of Soliculture Brandon Mee-Lee, UC Santa Cruz student & Co-founder of Autoponics Ashley Bae, PhD student, Environmental Studies, and early stage startup founder, UC Santa Cruz

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Northeastern University Workshop

December 5, 2019

The FoodTech Challenge Team held a workshop at Northeastern University in Boston, USA, where we introduced over 20 students to global trends in food security and the UAE’s efforts towards achieving a food secure world. The workshop was followed by a panel discussion on technological applications that can advance the agriculture sector. The panel members consisted of Professor Matteo Rinaldi, ECE Associate Professor and director of Northeastern SMART, as well as Julian Oritz, co-founder and COO of Adaviv, a tech-startup based in Boston. Professor Rinaldi was awarded a $1.7M grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) for developing Zero-Power sensors for large scale farms. AdaViv utilizes AI technology to analyze plant biometrics that will help develop actionable insights for farmers.

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University of Massachusetts Amherst Workshop

December 4, 2019

The FoodTech Challenge Team held a workshop at UMass Amherst in Massachusetts, USA, where we discussed the UAE’s ambitions to become one of the most food secure nations in the world. We then went on to describe the scope, submission requirements, and awards that the FoodTech Challenge offers. U Mass-Amherst has recently been ranked #4 university in the world in agricultural sciences by US News and World Report.

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UAE University Workshop

November 27, 2019

The FoodTech Challenge Team held a workshop at the College of Food and Agriculture at United Arab Emirates University (UAEU), where we introduced over 70 students to global trends in food security and the UAE’s efforts towards achieving a food secure world. Several students shared their food technology ideas and projects with us, and we discussed ways to structure and improve their submissions. The workshop was attended by Dr. Elke Neumann, Department Chair of Integrative Agriculture at UAEU, as well as various other faculty within the College of Food and Agriculture.

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Wageningen University Panel Discussion

November 26, 2019

The FoodTech Challenge Team held the “Introduction to the Challenge and Food Security Panel Discussion” with Wageningen University in the Netherlands on November 26, 2019. Panel speakers included Jouke Campen, International Project Manager at Wageningen University and a recognized expert in greenhouse climate control; Xander Beks, Youth Network for Zero Hunger enabler, board member (chair) at i4Nature, and Mashiri Zvarimwa, Agri-Business and Digital Innovation Expert and European Commission Task Force Expert (TFRA)

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University of Sharjah Presentation

November 26, 2019

The FoodTech Challenge Team introduced the competition to 40 students from The University of Sharjah. We provided an overview of food security in a global and UAE context, described the application process for the FoodTech Challenge, and discussed several of the latest agricultural technologies currently in practice. We were pleased to have the support of Dr. Abdul Hai Al-Alami, Associate Chairman of Sustainable Renewable Energy Engineering Department, Prof. Abdul Ghani Olabi, Head of Sustainable Renewable Energy Engineering Department, and Dr. Muhammad Tawalbeh, Assistant Professor, all of whom participated in the presentation.

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Zayed University Presentation

November 18, 2019

The FoodTech Challenge Team introduced the competition to over 35 students and professors from the College of Natural and Health Sciences at Zayed University. We provided an overview of food security in a global and UAE context, described the application process for the FoodTech Challenge, and discussed several of the latest agricultural technologies currently in practice.

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NYUAD Workshop

November 16, 2019

The FoodTech Challenge Team hosted the “Introduction to the Challenge and Competition Brainstorming Session” at the NYU Abu Dhabi Engineering Studio on November 16, 2019. Students from NYU Abu Dhabi and multiple universities attended the event.

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LATEST NEWS & EVENTS

THE JUDGES

Danielle Nierenberg
Co-Founder and President
Food Tank
David Rosenberg
CEO and Co-Founder
AeroFarms
H.E. Rashed Al Shuraiqi
Senior Advisor for Agriculture
Al Dahra Agricultural Company
Nicole Thorpe
Founding Director
Cultinova
Kieran Dowd
Vice President of Sourcing Solutions; General Manager
Emirates Flight Catering; Emirates Crop One
Dr. Hanan Afifi
Lead Researcher
Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority
Abdulaziz Al Mulla
Co-Founder and CEO
Madar Farms
Dr. Ramesh Jagannathan
Managing Director
StartAD
Feroz Sanaulla
Senior Strategic Advisor
Roland Berger
Cinar Kurra
Chief Executive Officer
Catalyst
Dr. Rami Zurayk
Professor
American University of Beirut
Dr. Dionysia Lyra
Halophyte Agronomist
International Center for Biosaline Agriculture
Stuart Oda
Co-Founder and CEO
Alesca Life
Penny McBride
Vice-Chairwoman
Farmtech Society
Dr. Merle Jensen
Professor Emeritus
University of Arizona