Through the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen how thousands of small crises can unfold differently, and in different ways, around the world. Digital dynamism opens up the possibility of moving beyond simplified models of the world, to being able to hyperlocalize, to understand changes in fluid and dynamic contexts, and to act with agility and precision amidst that complexity.
For the 2020 convention theme, Digital Dynamism for Adaptive Food Systems, we examined food system resilience and highlighted how digital tools and technologies can help us sense, respond and (re)build better systems in times of global food security crises.
Digital Dynamism across One CGIAR
Open, data-driven collaboration is powerful
Inclusivity and access
Collective global action
At a glance
with 1300 participants actively engaging through the Whova platform
including 50% of women
companies, organizations & institutions
75% of registrants were non-CGIAR
to 7 Inspire projects
Digital dynamism across One CGIAR
The 2020 virtual CGIAR Convention on Big Data in Agriculture was the first One CGIAR convention. The event highlighted how CGIAR’s 13 global research centers are employing dynamic digital methods to combat food security challenges flowing from current crises.
Various CGIAR centers created glimpse videos to highlight their scientific innovations for food, land and water systems can be deployed faster, at a larger scale, and at reduced cost, having greater impact where they are needed the most:
AfricaRice: Helping rice farmers in Africa with big data and digital tools
Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT: Putting agricultural tools and information in the hands of farmers
International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA): Harnessing integrated digital tools to accelerate agricultural transformation in Sub-Saharan Africa
International Potato Center (CIP): Leveraging big data and technologies to conserve genetic biodiversity, develop new crop varieties, and improve agronomic decision-making
International Rice Research Institute (IRRI): Testing new techniques and improving access to equipment for farmers in order to ensure food security
International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT): Using cutting edge technologies in order to create resilient and adaptive food systems
International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT): Increasing the productivity of maize and wheat cropping systems using data-driven approaches to agricultural research
International Water Management Institute (IWMI): Researching methods of harvesting, using, and deploying diverse data innovations to achieve a water-secure world
International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA): Responding to the climate crisis through dynamic digitization of its research for development
WorldFish: Driving aquatic foods research with data and digital technologies
The 2020 Inspire Challenge
Most ever pilot projects awarded
The virtual space allowed us to showcase this record-setting number of highly qualified finalists, in which almost all of the 13 CGIAR Centers are represented. Project teams pitched live during the convention to a panel of expert judges that included: Sieglinde Snapp (Michigan State University), Rhiannan Price (DevGlobal Partners), Cheryl Palm (University of Florida), Dina Najjar (ICARDA), and Chong Kean Ng (Asian Development Bank).
In light of this year’s food system shocks due to the recent pandemic, the 2020 Inspire Challenge evaluation included specific COVID-19 response, recovery, and resilience metrics added to the judging rubric. Applications were received under four categories: Sustaining Farm Income, Measuring and Building Resilience, Sensing and Renewing Ecosystems, and Revealing Food Systems, with the latter two being co-designed with funders to specifically address pandemic-related challenges.
During the live awards ceremony, grants of US$100,000 were awarded to the 7 following projects:
“The 2020 Inspire winners aim to create more resilient food value chains in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and climate shocks. Projects such as these will help assure safer food, collect much needed ‘real time’ diet diversity information for tracking and targeting malnutrition, and their experimentation with AI platforms such as IBM Watson will help provide advisory messages at times that extension agents cannot get to the field. It will be exciting to see how these innovative teams roll out their projects.”
Inspire judge Cheryl Palm, Research Professor in Agricultural and Biological Engineering and a core faculty of the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems at the University of Florida.