ARE YOU UP FOR THE CHALLENGE?

Are you passionate about agriculture technology?
Do you have ideas that will enhance the food security of the UAE?
Apply now to enter the FoodTech Challenge.

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.

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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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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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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November 2019 Newsletter

November 1, 2019

Over the course of the last month, we engaged in a number of conferences, workshops, and FoodTech Challenge outreach events around the world and had the chance to listen to creative and cutting-edge ideas to address the world’s food security challenges. Submissions are coming in from all over the globe, and we’re truly inspired by the ambitious, creative, and energetic ideas we’ve received so far.

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Why sustainable agriculture matters

October 6, 2019

Sustainable agriculture is at the heart of the comprehensive food security strategies of many nations today as they seek to eliminate hunger within their respective territories, while at the same time ensuring they protect the environment. This practice focuses on providing a sufficient supply of nutritious food to the citizens without adding further pressures on natural resources in the face of exponentially booming populations.

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October 2019 Newsletter

October 1, 2019

It has been an exciting first month for the FoodTech Challenge! We have been hard at work promoting the competition around the world to connect with bright minds like you to join the $1 million challenge in finding innovative solutions for a more foodsecure world. We launched the FoodTech Challenge in Dubai and attended the 46th Session on the Committee on World Food Security in Rome, Italy. During these events, our team connected with various leaders in agriculture, technology, education, and government to invite their students and start-ups to join the competition.

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UAE minister says nation's youth can be inspired by Greta Thunberg

September 24, 2019

A UAE minister called on the nation's youth to draw inspiration from climate change campaigner Greta Thunberg to drive efforts to safeguard food supplies. Speaking at the launch of a $1 million (Dh3.67m) Global Food Technology Challenge in Dubai, Mariam Al Mehairi, Minister of State for Food Security, urged young people to lead the way towards a more sustainable lifestyle. The competition is challenging participants to come up with new ideas to solve sustainability problems facing the Emirates in the near future. Entrants are encouraged to use advanced technologies and techniques to overcome problems faced by the agricultural sector to achieve sustainable food production in the UAE.

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Ruler of Dubai launches $1 million Global Food Technology Challenge

September 24, 2019

The Ruler of Dubai has announced a $1 million (Dh3.8m) prize fund for innovative solutions to food production in the UAE. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid said the competition aimed to address mounting challenges to the agricultural sector by creating new, cutting-edge technologies. Sustainable food production in the Emirates has been a major focus over recent years as the country seeks to lessen its reliance on imports. The UAE currently brings in about 90 per cent of its food requirements, although practices such as vertical farming and hydroponics are reducing this dependence.

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Registration for UAE’s $1 million food challenge begins

September 24, 2019

The UAE Government on Tuesday opened registration for the Foodtech Challenge, an innovation-based food production contest launched by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai. It is being organised by the Food Security Office, in partnership with Tamkeen. With awards valued at $ 1 million, the challenge aims to motivate creative minds in the UAE and the world to innovate new initiatives in the agriculture and food security fields. It also aims to develop the UAE’s production capacity by utilising the latest technological solutions and enhancing research and development (R&D) capacity to achieve the National Food Security Strategy targets.

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UAE launches $1 million Food Technology Challenge

September 23, 2019

Dubai A $1 million Food Technology Challenge has been launched to achieve food security in the UAE, turning it into a leading global hub for food security. The seven-month Food Technology Challenge, the world’s largest food security programme, was launched yesterday (Monday) by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The $1 million prize will be given to four winners who will find solutions to the agricultural and food sectors through food value chains. The winners will be announced in April 2020.

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Mohammed bin Rashid lancia la Global Food Technology Challenge

September 23, 2019

Sua Altezza lo sceicco Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice Presidente, Primo Ministro e Sovrano di Dubai, ha lanciato oggi la Global Food Technology Challenge. La competizione è la più grande del suo genere che cerca di sviluppare soluzioni innovative per la produzione e la gestione di prodotti alimentari negli Emirati Arabi Uniti. La sfida è stata lanciata alla presenza di Sua Altezza Lo sceicco Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Principe Ereditario di Dubai e Presidente del Consiglio Esecutivo di Dubai e Sua Altezza Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice Sovrano di Dubai. La Global Food Technology Challenge mira a utilizzare tecnologie avanzate e strumenti e tecniche efficienti per superare le sfide del settore agricolo e raggiungere una produzione alimentare sostenibile negli Emirati Arabi Uniti.

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Mohammed launches $1m Food Technology Challenge

September 23, 2019

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Monday launched the Global Food Technology Challenge. The competition is the largest of its kind that seeks to develop innovative solutions for food production and management in the UAE. The Challenge was launched in the presence of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council and HH Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai. The Global Food Technology Challenge aims to use advanced technologies and efficient tools and techniques to overcome the challenges of the agricultural sector and achieve sustainable food production in the UAE.

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Sheikh Mohammed launches $1m ‘Global Food Technology Challenge’

September 23, 2019

Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum on Monday launched the Global Food Technology Challenge. The competition is the largest of its kind that seeks to develop innovative solutions for food production and management in the UAE. The $1 million prize money of the Challenge will be divided among four winners. A high-level jury consisting of international experts in technology, economy and sustainability will evaluate submissions and select the best projects in terms of efficiency, creativity, and project scalability. The winners will be announced in April 2020.

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LATEST NEWS & EVENTS

THE JUDGES

Danielle Nierenberg
Co-Founder and President
Food Tank
David Rosenberg
CEO and Co-Founder
AeroFarms
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