Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research: Harvest for Health Breakthrough Crop Challenge

The Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) supports pioneering science to provide everyone access to affordable, nutritious food grown on thriving farms.

FFAR invites applications for its Harvest for Health Breakthrough Crop Challenge. The Harvest for Health Initiative aims to accelerate the development of underutilized crops to increase the diversity of foods in the marketplace. While underutilized crops have incredible functional and nutritional potential, the development of such crops for consumption or use in other products is prohibitively expensive and time-intensive. To attract more private-sector investment in underutilized crop development, Harvest for Health launched the Breakthrough Crop Challenge to develop a predictive model to determine a crop’s potential as a source of ingredients with one or more of the following functional properties: thickeners, emulsifiers, and stabilizers; bulking agents; taste and flavor enhancers; and high nutrient density.

The Challenge aims to de-risk future investment in underutilized crops by developing a predictive model that can screen thousands of crops to determine the best potential of ingredients with desirable functional properties. The predictive model must utilize genomic sequence data at the minimum and use data that is currently publicly available or data that will be made publicly available at the time of submission of the model.

Using information from public resources as well as the knowledge of specific properties of ingredients, applicants must be able to predict which crops will be of interest to the food industry, supply information on the specific criteria used for the prediction, and demonstrate the use of the predictive model.

Applicants will be eligible to receive $1 million for the model they develop and validate.

Applications are welcomed from all domestic and international higher education institutions, nonprofit and for-profit organizations, and U.S. government-affiliated research agencies. Any individual(s) with the skills, knowledge and resources necessary to carry out the challenge as program director(s)/principal investigator(s) may apply through their home institution or organization.