If you are a scientist, entrepreneur, or inventor, the clock is ticking to enter the Consider Corn Challenge. The National Corn Growers Association wants your ideas by 5:00 PM US EDT, Thursday, September 28, 2017 on how to create a new generation of sustainable chemicals from field corn.
NCGA, along with innovation facilitator NineSigma, launched a global open innovation competition in June, 2017 to identify new and innovative uses for field corn as a renewable feedstock for making chemicals. So, if you have a good idea, why not be rewarded for sharing your inspiration.
“Corn is already used in thousands of products because of its availability, versatility and low cost. But we are growing larger crops each year,” said Larry Hoffmann, a farmer from Wheatland, North Dakota and chairman of NCGA’s Corn Productivity and Quality Action Team. “Corn is a great national resource and NCGA believes there is significant untapped potential for corn in the emerging bio economy.”
United States corn production has increased from 105.5 million metric tons in 1970 to 345.5 million metric tons in 2015. NCGA is inviting innovators around the world from industry, academia and other research institutions to consider new ways to utilize corn and maximize its contributions to the economy.
Up to six winning proposals will be selected and winners will each receive US$25,000. Winners will be announced in February 2018. NCGA may also explore funding or other support of an entry for further development and/or commercialization, even if the entry is not a prize winner.
“We have had remarkable increases in corn productivity and continued improvements in sustainable corn production and management. So, it makes sense to seek out new uses that create significant market demand,” Hoffmann said. The “Consider Corn Challenge” is a starting point to help industry realize corn’s full potential and expand farmer’s contribution to the domestic economy and our trade balance.”
In addition to researchers who have increased the spectrum of renewable chemicals from corn to date, NCGA is reaching out to the global innovation community that is largely untapped regarding new product frontiers for corn.
“Many industries are adopting an open innovation approach because of its success in accelerating access to new solutions and innovation partners. In working with NineSigma we are leveraging their established expertise in open innovation and global database of solution providers to help find the next big thing for corn,” said Hoffmann.
The National Corn Growers Association’s strategic plan includes a goal to establish three new uses that each utilize 25 million bushels or more by 2020. The concept of open innovation provides a path to add value to corn and problem solve creatively and rapidly.
Solution providers can submit proposals through NineSigma’s Open Innovation community NineSights.com. For more information and updates on the challenge, please visit https://ninesights.ninesigma.com/web/consider-corn
CommonGround is a group of farmers connecting with consumers through conversations about science and research and personal stories about food and misinformation surrounding farming. Supported by the NCGA and state corn organizations.
The Soil Health Partnership (SHP) is a farmer-led initiative that fosters transformation in agriculture through improved soil health. Administered by NCGA the partnership has more than 220 working farms enrolled in 16 states. SHP’s mission is to utilize science and data to partner with farmers who are adopting conservation agricultural practices that improve the economic and environmental sustainability of the farm.
The Corn Utilization and Technology Conference (CUTC) is a biennial event happening this June. Learn more.