2019 BIG DATA Convention to tackle trust in digital agriculture

India to host BIG DATA convention in Hyderabad. 1 million USD in Inspire Challenge grants to be announced.

Hyderabad, India, 11 October 2019: Over 500 delegates are set to discuss trust in digital agriculture and explore ways to build it during the third annual convention of CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture.

The 2019 Big Data in Agriculture Convention: TRUST: Humans, Machines & Ecosystems kicks off 16-18 October and will be held at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Hyderabad, India.

Speaking to the convention theme, Coordinator of the BIG DATA Platform, Brian King, highlighted the opportunities machines and machine-to-machine systems offer for accelerating food security solutions at a time when climates and ecosystems are under threat. He underlined the importance of ensuring that ethical frameworks and institutions stay abreast of the rate of changes these digital technologies present.

“The global calls for digital trust are intensifying even as the need for comprehensive, multifaceted solutions for global food security grows,” said King. “We need to increase production, but we also need to preserve and renew ecosystems, manage climate extremes, and deal with depleting soil and land resources.  Trustworthy digital solutions may be the most important tool we have to rise to the challenge–if we can build them.”

Telangana state and its capital city, Hyderabad, have had a prominent role to play in expanding India’s digital footprint. The state´s minister for Information Technology, K T Rama Rao—popularly known as KTR—is expected to deliver the keynote address during the convention’s inaugural session.

“Hyderabad is a pertinent setting for this significant convention. The city hosts some of the world’s leading digital institutions and agriculture organizations,” said K T Rama Rao. “The discussions around trust cannot wait for tomorrow. Trust is needed today to rely on the union of digital and agriculture to feed a fast growing world.”

Leading experts in data science, research scientists, policymakers and local farmers will deliberate over the problems and solutions related to trust among institutions, firms, dynamic and expanding human communities, and technologies that can help build a food secure future.

The convention aims to help delegates tackle complex themes of trust-building in frameworks that holistically manage ethics, multi-stakeholder coordination, data-driven action, and investment in digital agricultural technologies.

“The BIG DATA Convention is considering an important issue for global agriculture. The future of food can leverage existing digital technologies and those on the anvil,” said Dr. Peter Carberry, Director General of ICRISAT. “Discussing impediments to trust and finding ways to build it in institutions, frameworks and in technologies, therefore, warrants global attention.”

2019 Inspire Challenge

During the convention, the BIG DATA Platform will award up to US$ 1 million in Inspire Challenge awards to projects using big data tools in innovative ways to transform the lives of smallholder farmers.

Ten finalists of the 2019 Inspire Challenge have been selected and will pitch their proposals to a panel of expert judges at the Convention. Of these 10, five winners will be revealed at the Convention’s closing ceremony and awarded US$ 100,000 each.

In addition, the BIG DATA Platform will award scale-up grants of up to US$ 500,000 to Inspire winners from previous years who are able to demonstrate exceptional results, proven viability and potential for impact. Seven winners from previous years are expected to compete in front of a separate judging panel, and of those up to three will be awarded additional funds to scale-up their projects.

Each judging panel will include industry leaders from across the sector, as well as experts within CGIAR.

The Inspire Challenge seeks to recognize groundbreaking innovations that use big data approaches to advance agricultural research with real potential for developmental impact. These innovations have to demonstrate meaningful partnerships with CGIAR and other sector members.

In 2019 more than 140 Inspire Challenge proposals were received from across the world under categories: Revealing Food Systems, Monitoring Pests and Diseases, Sensing and Renewing Ecosystems, and Empowering Data-Driven Farming.



The CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture embraces the power of big data analytics, supporting CGIAR as it becomes a leader in generating actionable data-driven insights. It builds capacity throughout CGIAR to generate and manage big data, assisting CGIAR and its partners’ efforts to comply with open access/open data principles to unlock important research and datasets. It also empowers researchers to strengthen data analytical capacity, developing practical big data tools and services in a coordinated way, and it addresses critical gaps, both organizational and technical, expanding the horizon of CGIAR research. The Platform is co-led by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) is a not-for-profit international agriculture research organization. ICRISAT works across sub-Saharan Africa and Asia with a wide array of partners. The semi-arid tropics or drylands cover 6.5 million square kilometers of land in 55 countries and are home to over two billion people. ICRISAT is headquartered in Hyderabad, India, with two regional hubs and six country offices in sub-Saharan Africa.

CGIAR is a global research partnership for a food-secure future dedicated to reducing poverty, enhancing food and nutrition security and improving natural resources. CIAT, IFPRI and ICRISAT are members of the CGIAR Consortium.

October 14, 2019

Marianne McDade

Communications Coordinator
CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture
Barcelona, Spain


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