Nutreco calls on young academics to enter 2022 Young Researchers Prize

  • Young academics across the globe are challenged to submit innovative and sustainable solutions to enhance production of novel ingredients, reduce antimicrobial resistance and stall greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Open to all PhD students and working in animal nutrition, livestock production, aquaculture and veterinary sciences, with the most outstanding projects awarded €12,000, €8,000 and €5,000 for first, second and third place, to further their research.
  • Entries are now open. Up to 10 projects will be shortlisted on Monday August 29 2022, with the winning prizes awarded at the winner’s ceremony in early October 2022.

Applications to Nutreco’s 2022 Young Researchers Prize are now open to all PhD students and postdoctorate researchers in their first- and second-year of study working in animal nutrition, livestock production, aquaculture and veterinary sciences research. The award challenges young academics from across the world to showcase their innovative solutions for sustainable and environmentally-conscious farming practices, with three winners receiving a total of €25,000 in prize money to further their research.

The world needs agricultural solutions that sustainably generate enough food for a growing population and this year’s prize-winning project will help deliver on this challenge to feed the future. The three winning projects will be tackling this challenge through sustainable and environmentally conscious farming practices.

All submissions will be judged against how well they address at least one of the following challenges facing the industry:

1. Novel ingredients

As we work toward feeding a global population of almost 10 billion by 2050, the demand for high-quality protein is increasing. Innovative and sustainable ways to produce proteins are urgently needed – and novel ingredients will play a key role .

2. Antimicrobial Resistance

It is estimated that by 2050, resistance to antibiotics will cause more deaths than cancer does today. This is one of the biggest public health challenges facing the world. The agriculture industry can play an important role in reducing the reliance on antibiotics within animal husbandry, which will ultimately have a positive impact on human health.

3. Reduction of greenhouse gases

As global temperatures continue to rise at an alarming rate, the industry’s brightest minds can help to reduce agriculture’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions through precision farming methods and digital solutions. 

To be considered, entrants must submit a 60-second video explaining their project and why it is a prize-winning solution to at least one of the above challenges. Entrants must also submit a presentation that summarises their research in no more than 10 slides, together with their CV and any other supporting publications.

To apply, applicants must be completing their PhD or in their first or second year of postdoctorate research.  Submissions that refer to research ideas without results or implementation will not be considered. 

Final submissions are required by 11pm CET on Friday June 24. The final shortlist of up to 10 candidates will then be decided by our judging panel of leading industry experts in the field of sustainable nutritional solutions, including Nutreco N.V. Board Member and former R&D Director Leo den Hartog, Corporate Sustainability and Livestock feed sustainability Directors Jose Villalon and Coen Smits, Alternative Proteins Investment Manager Susanne Wiegel, and Research & Development Directors John Doelman from Trouw Nutrition and Charles McGurk from Skretting, along with Jorge Díaz, Global Sustainability Manager also from Skretting – Nutreco’s business lines. The shortlist will be announced on Monday August 29 2022. 

Winners will be announced at a ceremony in the Netherlands in early October 2022, with first, second and third awarded €12,000, €8,000 and €5,000, respectively. 

Nutreco CEO, Fulco van Lede, added: “To feed a world population of 10 billion people by 2050, we must produce more food in the next 30 years than we have done in the last 8,000. To do this, we need to go beyond hypothetical ideas. Nutreco’s Young Researchers Prize not only celebrates the industry’s rising stars but helps turn their ideas into reality. By encouraging innovative, sustainable and adaptable solutions to the challenges we now face will set us on the right path to transforming not only the way we farm but also the future of food.”

The winner of the 2020 prize, Sudhanshu Sudan, a PhD Animal Biosciences Researcher from the University of Guelph in Canada, impressed the judges with his research hypotheses that focused on animal welfare and combatting weaning stress in piglets by using advanced probiotics and antimicrobial peptides. The judges found Sudhanshu’s project particularly impressive given the use of antimicrobial technology, in turn combatting antibiotic reliance.

Discussing the Prize, Sudhanshu Sudan said: "Whilst any academic will tell you the importance of proper funding, the Young Researchers Prize is more than just prize money. The recognition the Prize gives to young academics’ work is invaluable. It has given me the confidence and conviction that the decision to pursue my PhD was the right one. It’s incredibly satisfying to think that my ideas will be part of the solution to feed the future in a more sustainable way. Best of luck to this year’s submissions and I look forward to hearing more about the winning project."

To apply, please visit our online submissions page here. Submissions close at 11pm CET on Friday 24 June. See online for full Terms & Conditions.