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Cambridge Global Food Security

An Interdisciplinary Research Centre at the University of Cambridge

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CUTEC Sustainable Futures Challenge

last modified Apr 24, 2015 11:46 AM
Cambridge University Technology and Enterprise Club aims to bring together students, academics, staff, and alumni to tackle problems relating to the question: “How can we enable sustainable supply and production of food and water in a sustainable fashion?”

Teams are being put together to solve one of three challenges: (1) Compost, (2) Soil structure, and (3) Seed distribution. Solutions will need to take into account and will be judged on efficiency, sustainability, and economy.

Teams will workshop their ideas with industry experts at four workshops over the course of eight weeks and then present their solutions on stage at CUTEC’s Technology Ventures Conference (TVC) in front of investors, academics, students, and incubators.

The Challenges

Compost Challenge

Studies show that compost use in arable rotations can improve yields and resilience. Tons of organic, compostable material is thrown out in cities every day. How can we create an economical way to sort and get organic waste from cities to farms?

Soil Structure Challenge

The physical structure of soil affects crop development and yields.  Detailed soil structure tests can be performed in labs, but this is time consuming and costly. Can we make better in-the-field tool(s) to let allow farmers to check soil structure and resilience?

Seed Distribution Challenge

Cover-cropping is a great way to rehabilitate soil and can provide wide ranging benefits in farming systems. The most success often comes with mixing multiple species; however, these species have seeds of different sizes and shapes which makes it difficult to spread them evenly using current technology. Can we create a way to make it practical for farmers to sow seeds of different sizes?


A launch event on 27th April 2015 will introduce the Sustainable Futures Challenge. Keynote speeches from industry experts and entrepreneurs will talk about the need of creative problem solving for global grand challenges such as agri-tech problems. They will explain what the typical problems in the agrit-tech space are and how we should aim to tackle them – both from a technology and business perspective. The format of the Sustainable Futures Challenge and the application process will be explained. The event will finish with a reception and networking. For more information and registration click here.

For further information, visit CUTEC.