Win a $250,000 Cash Prize in the IFT Seeding the Future Global System Challenge 2021

Submit an application for the IFT Seeding the Future Global System Challenge 2021 for an opportunity to win seed grants or the grand cash prize of $250,000.

Application Deadline: August 16 2021


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Grants and Awards

  • Seed Grants – $25,000
  • Growth Grants – $100,000
  • Seeding The Future Grand Prizes – $250,000


To be eligible for a grant or prize, an innovation should focus on at least two of the domains discussed in the “Domain and Eligibility Details” section below, while not negatively affecting the remaining domain.

Domain and Eligibility Details

  • Safe and Nutritious Food for a Healthy Diet 

Eligible innovations may improve either food access, safety, affordability, or nutrient quality, contributing to a healthful diet. Specific solutions may include dietary improvement through better macronutrient balance, micronutrient or phytonutrient delivery, plant-based approaches, or innovative ways to use potential medicinal aspects of food. Special consideration will be given to innovations that benefit either specific geographic regions or communities with limited access to healthy food.

  • Sustainable, Regenerative Practices

Eligible innovations may contribute to improving planetary health by enabling impactful sustainable, controlled environment, or regenerative practices. Specific solutions may include reducing post-harvest food losses or food waste; optimizing plant growth; improving soil health; increasing food and/or crop production while lowering GHG emission, carbon, land, and water footprints; or upcycling agricultural byproducts into beneficial nutrient-rich food or ingredients. Special considerations will be given to innovations that can quantify the potential benefits via accepted life cycle assessment (LCA) or similar frameworks.

  • Empower Conscious Consumer Choices

Eligible innovations may demonstrate the potential to shift consumer preference and empower consumers to be champions for personal and planetary health. Applicants may consider including a strategy to compellingly communicate the health and sustainability benefits of their innovation to consumers. For example, those benefits may relate to affordable and healthier diets enabled by more sustainable agricultural practices, better food distribution approaches, food waste reduction through better shelf-life management, improved access to perishable or staple food, or better post-harvest technologies. Special consideration will be given to solutions which consider either geographical, economic, or cultural diversity.


These domains are embedded within an overarching food policy framework which can either affect the advancement of healthy diets, sustainable practices, and consumer behavior change or can be affected by them. A policy lens may be applied which could include a perspective on how innovations can either shift the policy landscape or can succeed within an existing policy framework. 

The following organizations are eligible to compete in the Challenge:

  • Non-profits located in any country
  • Academic or research institutions located in any country
  • Early-stage or emerging U.S. based for-profit companies
  • Individuals are not eligible to apply. Please note, however, that teams of students or researchers may participate as part of an organization’s submission. Organizations are encouraged to form teams to compete in the Challenge. If two or more organizations form a team to compete, they should choose one of the organizations to serve as the applicant.

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Application Instructions

Application Materials

To apply for funding, applicants must submit:

  • Responses to the application questions
  • A project timeline and budget
  • Documents to verify their organizational status and financial standing:
  • U.S. based for-profit organizations must submit
  • Most recent financial statement that includes a budget and revenue (including disclosure of current levels of investment) 
  • Articles of incorporation 
  • Federal Tax Identification Number (TIN) 
  • Certificate of good standing, indicating that the business is properly registered with the state
  • U.S. based non-profit organizations must submit:
  • Most recent financial statement (audited financials preferred but not required) 
  • Most recent 990 
  • IRS letter of determination
  • Non-profit organizations based outside of the United States must submit:
  • Most recent financial statement (audited financials referred but not required) 
  • Documentation verifying that the applicant organization is currently registered as a non-profit organization (equivalent to a US 501(c)(3) public charity) in its country. Please note that IFT may follow up to request additional documentation to verify the applicant’s non-profit status.
  • To ensure equity and fairness in the review process, applicants must have completed all requested materials and submit them by the deadline indicated above. Late or incomplete submissions will not be considered.

Apply Here

About the IFT Seeding the Future Global System Challenge

$250,000 Cash Prize in the IFT Seeding the Future Global System Challenge 2021 2

Providing a growing global population with access to affordable, safe, and nutritious food for a healthy diet while maintaining the health of our planet will require transformational changes in the food system.

It is expected that advances and discoveries in science and technology, as well as creative new approaches and collaborations across cultures and multiple disciplines, will lead to forward-thinking innovations with the potential for significant food system changes.

The goal of the Challenge is to support innovations that aim to make healthier diets more accessible on a global scale, and empower consumers to make choices benefitting both personal and planetary health.


The Challenge’s mission is to support impactful initiatives and organizations that strive to accelerate the pace of innovation to make the global food system more sustainable, nutritious, and equitable for everyone. 

 The Challenge will focus on innovations that reside at the white space where three domains intersect:

  • Safe and Nutritious Food for a Healthy Diet
  • Sustainable, Regenerative Practices
  • Empower Conscious Consumer Choices


Founded by Dr. Bernhard van Lengerich, the Seeding The Future Foundation envisions a global food system that provides equitable access to safe, nutritious, and affordable food for everyone while simultaneously improving the long-term sustainability and resilience of our planet.

Discover more opportunities from UK Government.

Key Dates and Order of Program

Application Timeline for Each Award

Seed Grant Application

  • Application deadline: August 16, 2021 
  • Announcement of award recipients: October 2021

Growth Grants and Seeding The Future Grand Prize Applicants

  • Application deadline: August 16, 2021 
  • Finalists announced and finalist interviews held: November 2021 
  • Announcement of award recipients: January 2022

Up to 15 Seed Grant applicants may be selected as finalists and advance to the Selection Committee Round One, the final round for Seed Grant applicants.  

 Up to 20 Growth Grant applicants and up to 10 Seeding The Future Grand Prize applicants may be selected to advance to the Selection Committee Round One, the penultimate round for these applicants.

The selection criteria for each award level will vary and are outlined below. Across all award levels, IFT is committed to equity and inclusion in supporting organizations that seek to transform our food systems. The Seeding The Future Global Food System Challenge therefore seeks to support entities—both non-profit and early stage for-profit—who can demonstrate the potential of their innovations to make a real impact but who may lack capital to progress their work. Special considerations will be given to teams made up of diverse backgrounds or cultures, as well as teams focusing on serving under-resourced populations.


Review Process

The Challenge application review process for Seed Grant applicants is executed in three steps and in four steps for Growth Grant and Seeding The Future Grand Prize applicants. The first three steps are the same for all three awards. 

  • Eligibility Screen

This is a preliminary application vetting to ensure that each application meets the basic organizational and financial eligibility requirements for the Challenge. This includes a complete application, the applicant is an eligible organization, the applicant applied for the appropriate award level, and the applicant provided the required organizational and financial documentation.  

Each applicant will receive a pass or fail.  Applications that do not pass the eligibility screening will not advance.

  • Initial Content Screen

During the Initial Content Screen, reviewers will assess and score the quality of each application based on the following criteria, which reflect the Grant Criteria explained above:

  • Clarity and strength of the application’s premise  
  • Budget and timeline  
  • Multi-disciplinary approach 
  • The application’s demonstrated white space alignment.
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