Win a Cash Prize of USD $5,000 in the Agrobiodiversity Innovation Challenge 2021

Are you an innovator interested in solving challenges in the agri-food sector by utilizing or

conserving agrobiodiversity? If yes, submit your application!

Application Deadline: September 30 2021


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Awards will be conferred during a ceremony at the Congress. Prizes will be presented by the Director General of the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT and a high-level representative of the Government of Italy.

For Applicants:

Selected winners of the Agrobiodiversity Innovation Challenge will receive both in cash and in-kind prizes. 

  • Cash prize – Two grants/free equity of USD 5,000 to each of the top two innovators based on level of excellence and innovation – (IFAD) 
  • Mentoring – Support in fine tuning business models and developing business plans, along with access to science and business development teams – (CGIAR/ IITA BIP) 
  • Partnership – Partnering with a CGIAR scientist or team to provide guidance and feedback on innovation – (CGIAR/ Alliance, IIT) 
  • Matching – Participating in a Shark Tank/Dragon’s Den-like pitch to IFAD country teams for opportunities to match for further product development and/or scaling (IFAD) 
  • Expertise – In-kind, post-award support will be provided to equip innovators with tools, technical assistance, strategic guidance, technological due-diligence, mentorship, and access to a global community of scientists and to field operations to test and scale solutions – (CGIAR/ Alliance, IIT) 
  • Training and Tuition – Three winning ideas (team or member) will receive two full scholarship worth USD 25,000 each, and one additional full tuition assistance for participation in the Master I Level Open Innovation & Youth Entrepreneurship course from CIHEAM Bari – (CIHEAM Bari) 


For Startups and Founders:

  • Visibility and recognition – Shortlisted teams will be featured on the Agrobiodiversity Congress website, reaching a global audience including international investors and organizations, as well as have the opportunity to pitch virtually to the Selection Committee. 
  • Networking – Teams will have the opportunity to meet and network with technical experts, international organizations, investors, private sector companies, and research institutions. 
  • Corporate activities – Winning teams may be invited to opportunities for additional learning or exposure associated with the Agrobiodiversity Congress and Accelerate for Impact Platform, such as participating in social media campaigns, case studies, and webinars to foster the open innovation model and sustain entrepreneurship and innovation.


Applicants must be: individuals, private companies, or institutions responsible for an innovation with demonstrated efficiency using novel tools, products, or services to enhance and promote sustainable food and agriculture.

  • Startups
  • International Organizations (IOs)
  • National Agriculture Research System (NARS)
  • Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)
  • Private Companies
  • Universities
  • Individuals (e.g. farmers, processors, engineers, etc.)
  • All innovations must apply to agrobiodiversity conservation and consumption practices and should aim to include climate change adaptation measures. 
  • Application forms that are incomplete, do not comply with the terms and conditions specified in the call, or are submitted after the deadline, will not be considered. 
  • No applicants under the age of 18 will be considered for the Award, unless represented by a parent or legal guardian. Participation is free of charge. 
  • Preference will be given to applications by teams that have developed solutions to address the needs of the rural poor and/or communities in fragile and conflict-affected states or heavily affected by the aftermath of COVID-19. 

Free Worksheet and Checklist

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Application Instructions

  • Applications should be submitted through the Agrobiodiversity Innovation Challenge webpage. Selected applications will be invited to the final stage and given a space on the Congress website. 
  • Applicants can only submit original works for which they are the sole inventors and copyright holders. In the case of a group of co-founders, the names and ages of all authors must be listed in the application form and will be considered as a single application. 
  • Selected finalists will be notified by email starting October 15, 2021. To advance to the final selection round, notified participants must accept by email.  
  • Before submitting your application, please read the Privacy Notice. By submitting your application, you confirm that you accept our privacy terms and conditions.

Apply Here

About the Swiss Agrobiodiversity Innovation Challenge

The A4IP is an initiative of the Alliance/CGIAR that catalyzes and drives transformative innovations and technologies to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges at the nexus of agriculture, environment, and nutrition, drawing from existing and future research.

Based in Rome, Italy, the A4IP is a venture-focused R&D platform designed to bridge science and entrepreneurship to respond to the need to scale existing research products in the pre-commercial or conceptual form but also to stimulate and fund the most visionary teams working on cutting-edge areas of research, explore game changing solutions and take them to market at an unprecedented speed and impact.

Discover more opportunities from International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

Key Dates and Order of Program

  • Final allocations of the awards will be announced on September 30, 2021. 
  • Deadline for Application is September 30 2021.

Selection Process 

  • Call for ideas announced. Submissions will be accepted until September 30, 2021 
  • The 10 shortlisted contestants will be notified by email. Guidelines will be provided for shortlisted contestants to prepare descriptions and pitches to be uploaded on the Congress platform. 
  • All applicants will be invited to attend and network at the 2nd International Agrobiodiversity Congress. 
  • The 10 shortlisted contestants will be invited to take part in the Pitch Day Competition on Monday, November 15th. Contestants will be asked to make a final pitch and attend a Q&A session with the Selection Committee, investors, partners, and a global audience. 
  • The five winning innovations will be awarded a prize on November 15th. 
  • The winning innovations will also be notified by email and must respond to the notification email to accept the prize. If the Secretariat does not receive a response from winners within seven (7) days of the notification, the Secretariat reserves the right to reallocate the prize to another applicant.
  • The Selection Committee is chaired by the Deputy Director for Research & Innovation of Bioversity International and CIAT and four representatives of non-state actor/s from the field of research, academia, youth agriculture entrepreneurship, civil society, and/or the private sector.
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