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Contest offers funding for best ideas to eliminate aflatoxin

The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, in conjunction with Mars and the Sight and Life Foundation, is holding an elevator-pitch contest, asking for students and young professionals to share ideas that could lead to an aflatoxin-free food system.

The best ideas for a disruptive solution can get $15,000 in seed funds and an audience with private investors.

Students and young professionals who graduated in the last five years can apply.

The contest has two categories: (more…)

Share thoughts on new innovation lab for food security policy

USAID is sharing a draft of the program description for a new Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security Research, Capacity and Policy Influence and soliciting feedback. The agency is NOT requesting applications at this time – only comments.

The purpose of the award is to advance food security policy through high quality, relevant research from credible and sound country and regional policy research institutions with an interest in food security-related policy research, including research related to agriculture, nutrition, and risk and resilience. The innovation lab will do this by strengthening the capacities of select country and regional research institutions and implement a global research agenda.

The notice-of-funding-opportunity announcement is expected in September and the award in March 2019. The program could be worth $61 million with $17 million in leader funding and $44 million in associate awards.

The prime awardee will be a U.S. university, but USAID also seeks comments from African, Asian, and Latin American regional or national food security policy-related think tanks, policy analysis units, university departments, or others that have insight on how best to expand the policy research capacity.

Send comments to  Kelly Miskowski in USAID’s grants and contracts office (

The deadline to comment is 19 June.

New paper looks at gender issues in groundnut research

USAID’s Bureau for Food Security has published a paper detailing what we’ve learned about gender roles in peanut production and processing over the past several years, as well as what areas researchers need to consider as they work with peanuts.

“Gender Considerations for Researchers Working in Groundnuts,” prepared by Carol Tyroler, summarizes many of the lessons learned about gender from previous projects in the Peanut & Mycotoxin Innovation Lab, while explaining how attention to gender differences can make research findings more applicable in the real world.

Groundnuts are often referred to as a woman’s crop because of the roles females play in production and processing across many developing countries. Men also produce groundnuts, but gender roles and responsibilities vary according to the region and culture of the place. (more…)

Upcoming webinars address index insurance, green policies, gender issues in livestock

The Promise and Pitfalls of Index Insurance: Building Resilience Through Responsible Implementation

6 June, 9:30-11 a.m. (Eastern time)
Host: USAID Bureau for Food Security

Agriculture is an inherently risky activity. This risk exposure can make and keep farmers poor. Agricultural index insurance can help farmers avoid costly coping mechanisms and unlock opportunities for increased investment and greater resilience, but such positive development impacts largely depend on the quality of the index insurance product and its appropriateness in a particular context. (more…)

Intake looking to develop metrics for diet quality

Intake, a Center for Dietary Assessment established in 2017 with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has announced a Request for Concept Notes for the development and validation of novel metrics of diet quality for non-pregnant, non-lactating women of reproductive age in low- and middle-income countries.

The full Request for Concept Notes is available on the procurement page for Intake. (more…)

USAID issues call for new $30 million Food Safety Innovation Lab

The U.S. Agency for International Development has issued a call for applicants to manage the new Feed the Future Innovation Lab on Food Safety (FSIL).

The new program, which must be administered by a U.S. college or universities, involves up to $30 million in funds.

In defining their technical approach, applicants will identify Research Areas of Inquiry that will guide the development, selection, and management of a focused portfolio of research.  (more…)

Project offers PhD scholarships to African students to research mycotoxins

The LEAP-Agri research project MycoSafe-South has three PhD scholarships available for African students to study and conduct research on mycotoxins in Belgium and Kenya.

“European-African partnership for safe and efficient use of mycotoxin-mitigation strategies in sub-Saharan Africa” intends to harness the expertise and infrastructure available in Europe by strengthening the capacity of the Southern partners to tackle the mycotoxin problem and the associated food safety issues. The project will identify safe and efficient mitigation strategies to reduce aflatoxins (AFs) and fumonisins (FBs) exposure in Africa, with special focus on children.

The consortium creates opportunities for young PhD researchers to conduct this research at both European and African institutes. Three current projects begin 1 September at the latest. They are, in summary: (more…)