At Syngenta, we’re eager to engage the next generation of professionals to help us solve some of the challenges we face in agriculture. We created the Crop Challenge to encourage collaboration across industries in an effort to tackle the issue of food security. It’s imperative that we grow more food with fewer resources to meet the needs of a growing population. In order to achieve that goal, our scientists need to breed plants that will perform in diverse and changing environments. Math and analytics experts can use their expertise to build predictive models based on real-world data, giving scientists the knowledge they need to build the best seed hybrids and varieties.
In past years, we’ve seen talented teams apply their skills not only for the purpose of entering the Crop Challenge but also to secure funding to continue their research. In 2016, a team from the BioSense Institute in Serbia that placed fourth in the competition, submitted their entry to Horizon 2020, a European research group that funds innovative projects, and received a significant grant.
“We entered the Crop Challenge because we wanted to use our expertise in analytics and IT to tackle the real problems,” said Oskar Marko, BioSense team lead. “It’s also interesting to explain our work to people from traditional agriculture, because they are quite surprised to see that data science can bring some new knowledge to the game.”
In 2018, Marko led a team from The International Center for Tropical Agriculture in Columbia to win first place for their submission. He has since used the same research to develop a similar solution to optimize planting in order to improve farm profitability.
If you’re interested in bringing your knowledge and skills to the Crop Challenge, please visit www.ideaconnection.com/syngenta-crop-challenge.