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GIX Innovation Competition 2021

Advancing global agriculture through data-driven technology.

2021 Theme: Data-driven Technology for Agriculture

Studies have demonstrated the need to significantly increase the world’s food production by 2050. However, there is a limited amount of additional arable land, and water levels have also been receding. Although technology could help, the adoption rate of new technological solutions is slow due to factors including cost, maintenance, and limited power and internet connectivity.  

Data, coupled with the farmer’s knowledge and intuition about his or her farm, can help increase farm productivity, and also help reduce costs. However, getting data from the farm is extremely difficult since there is often no power in the field, or Internet access at the farms.

The Global Innovation Exchange invites submissions for the following challenge as part of the 2021 competition, sponsored by Microsoft FarmBeats. Compete for nearly $20,000 in prizes!

The Challenge

We are seeking original, technologically inventive projects in areas such as the internet of things, intelligent hardware, low-cost sensors, drones, robotics, computer vision and machine learning algorithms, and cloud computing to help address farming challenges anywhere across the world. For example, drones and robots are being used to collect data sets on fields and crops to improve efficiency, health,  yield of crops, and to address other farming challenges. AI and sensor data can also be used to predict or detect pest/crop disease, measure cover crop, or monitor crop growth, crop yield, soil tilling practices.  Devices can enable data-driven approaches to farm management.

Create an innovative solution that will increase farm productivity, reduce costs, protect crops, or address other farming challenges in a specific context. Prototypes are encouraged but not required.

Key Dates

Registration opens
November 1, 2020
Virtual info session
November 16, 2020
Registration closes
February 15, 2021
Preliminary round pitches due
March 15, 2021
Finalists announced
March 22, 2021
Final round presentations
April 15, 2021

Competition Details

Competition Overview

  • All aspects of the competition will be held virtually.
  • Teams may have 2-5 members. To be eligible to compete, participants must be either 1) a current undergraduate student within two years of graduating or 2) have graduated from a degree-granting institution within the past year.
  • Your team must register between November 1, 2020 and February 15, 2021.
  • Teams will be judged by an international team of experts from academia and industry

Submission Requirements

  • Preliminary round: All competing teams must submit a 5 minute video presentation of their solution or algorithm via GitHub repository.  Optional: Teams may also include an additional 2-minute video of prototype or demo. Prototypes are encouraged but not required.
  • Final round: 6 finalists will be selected to give a live virtual presentation + Q&A with judges.


  • November 1: Registration opens
  • February 15: Registration closes
  • March 15 (Deadline extended): Preliminary round pitches due
  • March 22: Finalists announced
  • April 15: Final competition

Evaluation Criteria

  • Problem and proposed solution are both clearly defined. Explanation addresses whether the solution is original or is a novel application of an existing product, service, or algorithm.
  • Scope of the opportunity is addressed, with a focus on need, affordability of solution, and global impact.
  • Solution fits the problem, and the rough cost of the solution fits the impact of the problem, considers farmer needs and perspectives, and is appropriate/feasible for target users. If applicable, model created is accurate and optimized/computationally efficient.
  • Quality of 5-minute presentation and 2-minute demo (simulation, prototype/proof of concept, poster, video).
  • Includes an estimated timeline for full development or implementation of the solution


Special thanks to this year’s sponsor Microsoft FarmBeats!  Current prize pool includes nearly $20,000 in Azure credits and cash prizes.

One person can’t do it all. Having a great idea does not always lead to a great solution. It all depends on the execution.

Arielle Leung, 2018 Competition Finalist, Team Miirabella

About the GIX Innovation Competition

The GIX Innovation Competition aims to spur innovative and inclusive solutions to global challenges.  Learn more about previous competitions in connected devices: 2016 | 201720182021