Call for Application: Student Innovations Grants

Photo Credit: Global Center for Food Systems Innovation (GCFSI)

The Global Center for Food Systems Innovation (GCFSI) is seeking student applicants who can help create innovation[1] in the global food system by proposing innovative solutions to food system challenges.

We are issuing this call for proposals to connect with student creativity and problem solving across higher education. We will award up to 15 grants of $10,000 each to student research and class groups, including design challenges in senior-level capstone design classes, for up to 12 month projects, that test, pilot or scale innovations related to food systems.



The Global Center for Food Systems Innovation (GCFSI) Lab is a consortium led by Michigan State University (MSU) in partnership with Wageningen University, The Netherlands; The Energy and Resources Institute, India; and Lincoln University, Pennsylvania. GCFSI is one of eight development labs funded by the USAID Global Development Lab under the Higher Education Solutions Network (HESN). The goal of the GCFSI is to create, test and enable the scaling of innovations in the food system, using an approach that is multi-disciplinary, focused on the entire food system, and forward-looking—considering major trends that will impact future food system performance. For more information on the GCFSI, please see

Thematic Focus for this Application

Applicants should submit projects that aim to test, pilot or scale innovative solutions to food systems problems. The areas that are included in the food system for purpose of this RFA are described below as examples for reference only.

  1. Pre-Harvest: irrigation, access to water, use of the land, pressure on the land, seed systems, drought-tolerant varieties to address climate change, education of farmers in best practices using innovative methods, etc.
  2. Post-Harvest: roads and transportation, storage, packaging, food safety in handling and packaging, access to information, small-scale processing, etc.
  3. Capacity Building: improving the skills of local farmers, agriculture officers, using innovative methods.
  4. Information and Communication Technology: using ICT to improve access to market information, pay for ag-related transactions, or to train farmers and other stakeholders.

Please note that the role of gender as a factor affecting the design and implementation of innovations in the food system should be take into account by applicants.

Click here to download full call.

[1] Innovation refers to technologies, products, or services, business or organizational models or institutional arrangements, or operational or production processes, that lead to substantial improvements in productivity or other solutions to development challenges. Innovations are not always something completely new or different, but may represent an important refinement that improves the performance of an existing technology, system, or methodology.

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