The CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture is hosting its first annual congress, taking place in Cali, Colombia, 19 to 22 September 2017.

The Big Data in Agriculture Convention of 2017: An Alliance for a Data Revolution will be hosted with the aim to align the international scientific community to inspire a data revolution and to celebrate the intersection of big data and agriculture.

The event will be hosted by CIAT, and gather together experts from the IT industry, scientists, policy makers and more.

They will discuss ways in which big data can transform smallholder agriculture, enabling farmers to boost food production and respond to pressing challenges such as climate change. Approximately 300 attendees are expected.

“It’s vital at this first convention that we focus on building new innovative partnerships,” said Elwyn Grainger-Jones, Executive Director of the CGIAR System Organization. “We need to develop and encourage new alliances between the technology and agriculture sectors if we’re going to successfully digitize smallholder farming.”

“This is an opportunity for us to connect leaders in the technology and agriculture world, and ensure that our data is open and fair, to deliver on our goals to reduce global poverty, improve food and nutrition security as well as protect natural resources and ecosystem services,” he continued.

“The convention is focused on getting people together and opening the conversation. It is a great opportunity to get the big data in agriculture revolution really moving.”

The Inspire Challenge Grant Winners

The event will also announce the winners of the five US$100K research grants, as part of the Platform’s Inspire Challenge. This campaign called for proposals that use big data approaches to advance agricultural research-and-development. The aim is to promote next-generation ideas to develop solutions faster, better and at a greater scale than ever before.

More than 120 proposals were received from all over the world and across the four Inspire Challenge categories: Revealing Food Systems, Monitoring Pests and Diseases, Disrupting Impact Assessment, and Empowering Data-Driven Farming.

The winning proposals must have potential for social impact, while using open data to solve development problems.

Twelve finalists were selected on 12 September and will be presenting their proposals to a panel of judges, including industry leaders such as Robin Lougee from IBM, Syed Raza from the UN Foundation, and Stanley Wood from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

During the course of the Convention, there will be various opportunities for interested individuals to submit questions and engage in conversation with the event speakers and attendees via the Big Data platform’s social media.

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Additional info

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 for stakeholders. 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.