The UAE Calls for Innovative Ideas in Finding Solutions to Global Food Security Challenges

Applications are open to university students, early-stage start-ups and tech incubators, the initiative plans to address global food security challenges through the “FoodTech Challenge”.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 30 December 2019: In September, the UAE Office of State for Future Food Security and Tamkeen, an Abu Dhabi-based company mandated to deliver projects to meet the UAE’s vision of knowledge-based development, announced an open call-for-submissions to the “FoodTech Challenge”. Fostering international collaboration to find innovative solutions across the food value chain, the FoodTech Challenge encourages participation by university students, early-stage start-ups and tech incubators in advanced urban farming markets from around the world.

Seeking commercially viable solutions that promote sustainable food practices and stimulate domestic food production in the UAE, submissions into the FoodTech Challenge will remain open until February 13, 2020. Expert judges will evaluate business case submissions from across the world, short-listing the top ten teams. From there, the teams will be matched with a mentor from the judging panel to further support the development of their business cases and perfect their pitch ahead of the final award ceremony taking place at New York University Abu Dhabi in April 2020.

A total prize pool of up to $1M USD will be awarded across four winners. Each winning team will receive $100,000 USD in prize money. Each winning team will also be eligible to enter the Abu Dhabi-based Catalyst Accelerator Programme, which provides up to $150,000 USD in seed funding and additional in-kind support.

Last November the FoodTech Challenge team visited the Netherlands, and promoted the challenge at Wageningen University & Research, World Horti Centre and Aeres Hogeschool among others. So far they have received several applications from the Netherlands, and they hope to receive more in the coming weeks.

Entrants can submit their applications via

Selected across research, academia, industry, and policy, the FoodTech Challenge features thirteen UAE-based and international expert judges including Danielle Nierenberg, Co-Founder and President of Food Tank and David Rosenberg, Co-Founder and CEO of AeroFarms as part of the judging panel. The expert judges are FoodTech Challenge spokespeople, amplifying the call for quality submissions, raising awareness about the many opportunities present in the UAE agtech ecosystem, and lending their time and expertise mentoring the short-listed teams. Expert judges will also participate in panel discussions relating to food security and ag tech at the final awards ceremony, which will be open to the wider public.