Nutreco seeks entries for its young researchers prize: Focus is novel proteins, AMR and GHG emissions reduction

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/PM Images
© GettyImages/PM Images

Related tags amr GHG emissions Nutreco Skretting Protein

Dutch animal nutrition and fish feed group, Nutreco, has opened the submission process for the 2022 Young Researchers Prize.

The company is encouraging academics, across the globe, that are early on their research careers, to submit​ innovative and sustainable solutions to enhance production of novel ingredients, reduce antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and stall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

“The world needs agricultural solutions that sustainably generate enough food for a growing population and this year’s prize-winning project will help deliver on this challenge to feed the future. The three winning projects will be tackling this challenge through sustainable and environmentally conscious farming practices.”

Open to all PhD and post-doctorate students in their first- and second-year of study working in livestock, aquaculture and veterinary sciences research, there is the chance to win one of three funding prizes - €12,000 (US$13K), €8,000 and €5,000 for first, second and third place.

The challenges 

As well as furthering their research, Nutreco says the award is an opportunity for the next generation of thinkers to present their ideas to the industry and network with leading professionals.

All submissions will be judged against how well they address at least one of the following challenges facing the industry:

Novel ingredients

The company outlined how as the world will need to eventually feed a global population of almost 10 billion by 2050, the demand for high-quality protein is increasing. “Innovative and sustainable ways to produce proteins are urgently needed – and novel ingredients will play a key role.”

Antimicrobial resistance

It is estimated that by 2050, resistance to antibiotics will cause more deaths than cancer does today, stressed Nutreco. “This is one of the biggest public health challenges facing the world. The agriculture industry can play an important role in reducing the reliance on antibiotics within animal husbandry, which will ultimately have a positive impact on human health.”

Reduction of GHG emissions 

As global temperatures continue to rise at an alarming rate, Nutreco reckons the industry’s brightest minds can help to reduce agriculture’s contribution to GHG emissions through precision farming methods and digital solutions.

To be considered, entrants must submit a 60-second video explaining their project and why it is a prize-winning solution to at least one of the above challenges. Entrants must also submit a presentation that summarizes their research in no more than 10 slides, together with their CV and any other supporting publications.

Who is judging you?

Final submissions are required by 11pm CET on Friday, June 24.

A shortlist of up to 10 candidates will then be decided by a judging panel of leading industry experts in the field including Nutreco board member and former R&D director, Leo den Hartog, its corporate sustainability and livestock feed sustainability directors, Jose Villalon and Coen Smits, its alternative proteins investment manager, Susanne Wiegel, and its current R&D directors, John Doelman from Trouw Nutrition, and Charles McGurk from Skretting, along with Jorge Díaz, global sustainability manager, Skretting

The shortlist will be announced on Monday August 29, with the winners revealed at a ceremony in the Netherlands in early October 2022.

The winner of the 2020 prize, Sudhanshu Sudan, a PhD animal biosciences researcher from the University of Guelph in Canada, whose research idea was focused on animal welfare and combatting weaning stress in piglets by using advanced probiotics and antimicrobial peptides.

Discussing the prize, the winner said: "The recognition the prize gives to young academics’ work is invaluable. It has given me the confidence and conviction that the decision to pursue my PhD was the right one. It’s incredibly satisfying to think that my ideas will be part of the solution to feed the future in a more sustainable way."

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