[01 OCTOBER 2018 – NAIROBI, KENYA] – The CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture is hosting its second annual congress — The 2018 Big Data in Agriculture Convention: Decoding the Data Ecosystem — in Nairobi, Kenya, 3 to 5 October 2018.

More than 400 delegates will tackle how the data “ecosystem” for food security can integrate more effectively with real global agricultural ecosystems.

More than 130 leading experts in data science, research scientists, policy makers and Kenyan farmers will be speaking on the problems and solutions related to data-driven approaches to multi-scale food systems, landscapes, ecosystem services, and the special role of animal science, in building resilient food systems worldwide.

“If we are going to feed 9 billion people by 2015, we need to protect the global food system from economic, social and environmental shocks, combat environmental degradation and loss of biodiversity, and consolidate global gains in reducing hunger and poverty,” said Brian King, coordinator of the CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture.

“To do this, we don’t only need data, we need to be able to act on data quickly, across types of knowledge, and from a single farm to regional and global scales. Decoding the data ecosystem means uncovering the mechanisms and connections to make that happen.”

Over three days of focused discussions aimed at producing practical results, the Convention will identify common threads linking research organizations, governments and the private sector that will set the stage for a productive and data-driven year.

This year’s Convention will be co-hosted by the World Agroforestry Centre on its campus, in close collaboration with the International Livestock Research Institute.

“The World Agroforestry Centre is honoured to be co-hosting the Convention, one of the most important gatherings for the future of world agriculture,” said Tony Simons, director-general of the Centre. “Harnessing the power of big data to reveal trends and gaps in production systems will help governments and producers plan and respond better to become more resilient to climate change and other shocks, ensuring the world’s food supply for its ever-increasing population.”

The Inspire Challenge Grant Winners

Winners of five USD 100,000 research grants will be announced at the Convention. The Inspire Challenge encourages the use of big data approaches to advance agricultural research and development. Next-generation solutions are found faster that are better and at a greater scale than ever before.

The winners are groundbreaking innovations with real potential for developmental impact, have mobilized underused or misused data, and demonstrate meaningful partnerships with CGIAR and other sector members.

More than 130  proposals were received from all over the world in the four Inspire Challenge categories: Revealing Food Systems, Monitoring Pests and Diseases, Disrupting Impact Assessment, and Empowering Data-Driven Farming.

In addition, the CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture will award USD 250,000 to one of the five winners from last year to help them expand the scale of their innovation. They have had 12 months to implement their pilots and must now demonstrate the viability and potential for impact.

Each of the finalist groups, the twelve finalists of 2018 and the five winners from 2017, will present their innovations to their respective panel of judges.  Each panel includes industry leaders from the both the CGIAR and across the sector, such as Steward Collis (aWhere), Peter Richards (USAID), Rianna Kelly (GSMA), Martin Parr (CABI), Kate Fehlenberg (CIMMYT) and Stanley Wood (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation).



During the Convention, people can submit questions and talk with speakers and other experts via the big data Platform on Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn. They can also engage using the #BDPNAIROBI2018.


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Additional info

CGIAR is a global research partnership for a food-secure future dedicated to reducing poverty, enhancing food and nutrition security, and improving natural resources.

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 World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) is a centre of scientific excellence that harnesses the benefits of trees for people and the environment. Knowledge produced by ICRAF enables governments, development agencies and farmers to utilize the power of trees to make farming and livelihoods more environmentally, socially and economically sustainable at multiple scales. ICRAF is one of the 15 members of the CGIAR. We thank all donors who support research in development through their contributions to the CGIAR Fund.