Wageningen Soil scientist awarded $250.000 for groundbreaking work

Published on
June 6, 2019

Dr. Gerlinde de Deyn, professor in Soil Ecology at Wageningen University & Research, was awarded $250,000 by investment organisation FoodShot Global. The first edition of the ‘GroundBreaker Prize’ was awarded to De Deyn for her groundbreaking work in soil health to support a healthy, sustainable, and equitable food system.

FoodShot Global, an investment platform that catalyses innovation to transform the food system, awarded De Deyn the GroundBreaker Prize to advance her extraordinary work on plant biodiversity. De Deyn uses trait-based approaches to gain a understanding of how plants and soil interact and how this influences ecosystem functioning, including productivity, nutrient cycle, suppression of diseases, and soil carbon sequestration. She is one of in total three FoodShot winners, who all have access to guidance, mentorship, and capacity-building resources for maximum impact and scale.

Foundation for next generation solutions

FoodShot Global received 176 GroundBreaker Prize nominations and 235 applications for debt/equity investment from 6 continents and over 40 countries. “The three people we announced today are all groundbreakers whose inspired work lays the foundation for the next generation of solutions to the urgency we now face as a civilization,” according to FoodShot founder Victor Friedberg. “I couldn’t be more impressed and inspired by these inaugural FoodShot Global award winners and look forward to sharing what they’re doing with a larger audience.”

Innovation Soil 3.0 challenge

The GroundBreaker Prize is part of the Innovating Soil 3.0 challenge. The goal of Innovating Soil 3.0 is to identify the breakthrough scientific research, game-changing technologies, and innovative business models that can shift agriculture to a 21st century soil operating system that will support the planet. FoodShot Global winners are building a new soil foundation by providing technological or ecological tools that enable farmers to maximize yield and the long-term health of the land.