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Advanced Technology Research Council’s ASPIRE Partners with XPRIZE “Feed the Next Billion” International Competition

7 December, 2020

ASPIRE, the newly established dedicated technology programme management pillar of Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC), today announced that it is partnering with U.S.-based non-profit organisation XPRIZE on “XPRIZE Feed the Next Billion” competition, a four-year international competition that aims to revolutionise the global food supply chain and its impact on communities around the world.

ASPIRE is partnering with the XPRIZE Feed the Next Billion competition that seeks to find innovative ways to provide sufficient and nutritious food to feed the next billion people on the planet, through a four-year $15 million competition that challenges teams of global innovators to develop chicken and fish alternatives. The aim of the global competition – launched in the United States but taking place globally, including in the United Arab Emirates – is to ensure the world’s growing population will have access to nutritious, quality food to fuel active and healthy lives.

ATRC’s ASPIRE liaises with cross-sector industry stakeholders and research institutes to frame problem statements. It also serves as a programme manager across R&D projects, making impactful decisions related to the selection of research partners and the allocation of funding, and it launches international competitions and grand challenges that bring together innovators to address pressing global problems.

As part of its grand challenges mandate, ASPIRE will launch or partner with local and international competitions for transformational technology outcomes. Among these competitions is the Mohamed Bin Zayed International Robotics Challenge (MBZIRC), the US $5-million biennial international robotics contest.

Speaking on the announcement of ASPIRE’s support to XPRIZE Feed the Next Billion and emphasising the significance of the competition, His Excellency Faisal Al Bannai, Secretary-General of Advanced Technology Research Council, which oversees ASPIRE, said: "Even though it seems like a formidable challenge — global hunger is one of the most solvable problems in today's society. With XPRIZE Feed the Next Billion, we have a unique opportunity to enable innovators to develop solutions that improve yield, productivity and sustainability across the entire global food ecosystem. Abu Dhabi has been instrumental in developing the global food security ecosystem, and we are continuously uncovering cutting-edge agriculture solutions that will shape the future of food production. Through our partnership with XPRIZE, we seek to unearth new technologies that will become solutions for all, helping people around the world access safe, sufficient and affordable food. We’re excited to bring together top international talent and global innovators to develop solutions to answer one of the world’s most critical challenges.”

XPRIZE Feed the Next Billion is funded by Ghadan 21, Abu Dhabi's accelerator programme, which is driving the emirate's development through investing in business, innovation and people.

XPRIZE Feed the Next Billion will ask the winning teams to develop an environmentally conscious meat alternative that replicates everything about fish or chicken fillet, from the look and taste to smell, feel, and cooking behaviour. The competing teams must show that their product output is scalable for global distribution.

“Billions of individuals do and will desire higher quality protein as a food source, but the earth is incapable of providing this with traditional livestock. A much more sustainable, scalable methodology is required,” said XPRIZE Founder Peter H. Diamandis, MD. “XPRIZE Feed the Next Billion seeks to create poultry and fish that is affordable, sustainable, more nutritious, and a lower cost than mechanisms now in place. We believe hundreds of entrepreneurs will focus on driving breakthroughs in this critical and important area to help feed the world.”

The competition is also supported by The Tony Robbins Foundation, a US-based non-profit organisation which helps provide millions of meals globally each year and awards grants and other resources to health and human services organisations, among other initiatives.

“In 2018, I suggested that XPRIZE run a competition to end global hunger, an issue that will only be magnified as the population continues to grow,” said Tony Robbins, the United States’ number one life and business coach and founder of The Tony Robbins Foundation. “With XPRIZE Feed the Next Billion, we are taking it a step further, rethinking how and where food is produced, and finding a new way to provide plentiful, sustainable and nutritious food to the next billion people on the planet.”

In addition to ASPIRE and The Tony Robbins Foundation, XPRIZE will be working with The Good Food Institute, an international nonprofit focused on meat and plant-based alternatives, which will act as a team success partner throughout the competition.

Registration kicks off today and will run through April 28, 2021. Grand Prize Winners will be announced in 2024. To learn more about XPRIZE Feed the Next Billion, visit xprize.org/feed.