The World Food Prize Foundation

The Borlaug Blog

Multidisciplinary thinkers at the first Youth Institute in Europe

By Louise O. Fresco

The cow in the field is tracked by a GPS, the pasture quality is measured by a drone, and the milk on the supermarket shelf can be traced back to that specific cow. Your blood pressure is measured by your FitBit, an app monitors your protein requirement and your fridge is automatically filled based on your needs and stock. It sounds like a science-fiction scene, but this is the direction we are heading. As the technology is rapidly becoming cheaper and therefore available for low income countries and farmers, the urban poor will also benefit from this transition. Soon we will all be able to trace the origin and quality of everything we consume.

But we need young bright minds to think outside the box in order to make steps forward. Creativity and multidisciplinary thinking are needed to make these steps happen. Combining the Internet of Things with Agro-technology, combining Artificial Intelligence with Biotechnology. We cannot move forward if everyone stays on his or her own island.

Our hero, Norman Borlaug, was a great multidisciplinary scientist. He wasn’t only a plant pathologist, not even just an agronomist. He was also involved in politics to make necessary changes happen. I imagine that Dr. Borlaug would have been very happy to know that Wageningen, which he knew as a leading university in food & agriculture, is taking up his challenge to create awareness amongst the next generation. Together we continue working on Dr. Borlaug’s legacy to inspire the youth.

It is our responsibility to not only educate specialists, but also to stimulate young and future scientists to continue to think freely and across disciplines. Therefore it is an honour to start a Borlaug Youth Institute at the university that gave me the global, interdisciplinary perspectives to work on the challenge of feeding the world. As the number one agricultural university in the world, Wageningen University & Research will now also inspire high school students to think globally, creatively and across disciplines to beat the largest challenge of this century: how do we feed the world?

Tomorrow, on 24 April 2018, we launch the first Borlaug Youth Institute in Europe. We hope to inspire the youth with top-notch research from Wageningen on insects and seaweed as new protein resources, robotics and drones, circular economy and food for the moon and mars. Inspire them to enhance the quality, safety and availability of healthy and sustainable food in both the developed and the developing world, and to improve the quality of life.

A large group of enthusiastic Wageningen students is ready to guide high school students to develop their own top-notch research questions in their pursuit to feed the world. We have already received applications from bright young minds working on grain breeding, sustainable production of palm oil and food production on Mars, to name a few.

All participating students are invited to present their findings at the SDG Conference ‘Towards Zero Hunger: Partnerships for Impact’ on 30-31 August at Wageningen. All relations of the World Food Prize are also invited to this international conference, where Wageningen welcomes amongst others, Kenneth Quinn, Rajiv Shah and 2017 World Food Prize Laureate Akinwumi Adesina. And if you cannot be there, you will see me at the 2018 World Food Prize accompanied by bright minds from The Netherlands, proudly representing the first Youth Institute in Europe.

Link to introduction movie Wageningen Borlaug Youth Institute:

Link to introduction movie SDG Conference:

04/23/2018 8:00 AM |Add a comment
* denotes a required field.
Add Comment
Name: *
Comments: *
© 2024 The World Food Prize Foundation. All Rights Reserved.