Image credit: Rubén Moreno Montolíu on Flickr
(CC BY-SA 2.0)

Nutreco, an international leader in animal nutrition and aquafeed, today announces the launch of its Young Researchers Prize. The Prize will be awarded to the most promising research by PhD and post-doctorate students working globally across animal, aquaculture and veterinary sciences. Any research relevant to this field, such as economics or big data, is also eligible. 

The prize marks the 25th anniversary of Nutreco and recognises outstanding research efforts to address the increasingly important challenge of generating enough food for the world's growing population. The solutions to this challenge will have to be systemic and sustainable, encompassing the various different farming systems on our planet.

'Nutreco was founded 25 years ago to help develop solutions to meet the growing demand for high quality protein,' said Nutreco CEO Rob Koremans. 'We want to mark that milestone by recognising the efforts of talented researchers who share our vision in unearthing new solutions for Feeding the Future, which has been our company mission for many years. We hope this prize will stimulate promising young researchers to keep working towards this goal.'

Prize details
The Nutreco Young Researchers Prize consists of:
• First place, with a cash prize of €12,000
• Second place, with a cash prize of €8,000
• Third place, with a cash prize of €5,000

The award applications need to be submitted in one of the following categories:

Precision Farming
Precision – or smart – farming means that plants or animals are grown in optimal conditions, determined with great accuracy by harnessing digital tools and big data. A range of technology is used to this end, including GPS, sensor technology, ICT and robotics. Technology can assist in strategic decision-making at farm level as well as with operational actions at plant level. This allows production to be optimised and we can thus work on more sustainable farming systems.

Precision nutrition is a method that proposes the customisation of nutrition, with nutritional decisions, practices, or products tailored to individual or small groups of animals with similar requirements.

Young Animal Nutrition
Nutrition of the mother pre-birth or hatch and of the offspring in early life impacts their lifetime health and performance. It is therefore essential to optimise the neonatal phase (first days or weeks of life). Young animals not only need proper nutrition for the growth and development of bones, muscles, and organs, but also for proper development of, for example, the gastrointestinal defence system. 

Animal Health and Welfare
Animals are especially sensitive during critical transition phases such as weaning, reproductive periods and relocation to other environments. Dietary strategies can contribute to disease resistance and resilience in animals, and thereby reduce the need for antibiotics and other treatments. Nutrition affects the gastrointestinal functioning of the gut in many aspects and has a significant impact on the intestinal microbiome, the intestinal barrier function and the development of immune competence. In addition, assuring overall well-being and an absence of stress will have a positive influence on disease resistance. Adopting new strategies in animal health are expected to contribute to reducing the need for non-sustainable solutions such as antimicrobials.

Submission process
To be considered, young researchers must be nominated by a professor or supervisor at their place of study through a letter of support. 

Entrants should also send a CV together with either an article about their chosen study, a submission to a conference or a summary of their thesis. The document, which should be no longer than three A4s, should include the following information:
• Which category the submission is in
• What the proposal is
• How the proposal will work
• How the proposal supports our mission of Feeding the Future
• Any other relevant information for the judging panel

Selection criteria will be based on:
• Quality PhD or post-doctorate research
• Innovativeness
• Sustainability of the proposal
• High quality and value for agri- and aquaculture industries

Deadline: The final submission date for researchers is December 9, 2019.

The judging panel consists of leading experts in the field of sustainable nutritional solutions including Nutreco's heads of Research & Development, Leo den Hartog, Alex Obach, and Coen Smits, in addition to Viggo Halseth, Chief Innovation Officer Nutreco and José Villalón, Corporate Sustainability Director Nutreco.

The prizes will be awarded in person in Europe in early 2020. There will be a traveling budget for the nominees to attend the award ceremony.

For more information visit the Nutreco website, HERE.

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