Jamaicans Named As Winners of 20,000 Euros Research Grant Competition

Jamaicans Named As Winners of 20,000 Euros Research Grant Competition
Written by StephanieK

The Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition (BCFN) YES! Research Grant Competition named Jamaicans Anne-Teresa Birthwright and Shaneica Lester as its winners for 2016. The competition is designed to encourage multidisciplinary and international solutions that will address critical problems in the global food system. Birthwright and Lester’s project focused on the development of farming livelihoods and maximizing crop yields in Jamaica via education, improvements in methods of irrigation, and social capital. The goal of their project is to create an action-oriented program to explore solutions in the realm of national sustainability. This led to the created of an irrigation-specific Knowledge Transfer Curriculum (KTC) to target the realities faced by small-scale farmers in Jamaica, which included increasing water stress as a result of changing rainfall patterns and prolonged drought. Farmers have addressed the problem by using local traditional knowledge, but this has been insufficient to mediate the dry conditions and enhance productivity. The BCFN YES! Grant will be used to implement small and interactive sessions with 15 participants to explore a community’s situation. Each of the program’s units (Unit 1 –Climate-Smart Water Conservation Management, Unit 2- Soil Water Management Unit 3 – Plant-Water Interactions) will be integrated into the wet and dry seasons in Jamaica, establishing a relationship with small farmers in a community by collecting information and determining the best community in which to implement each unit of the curriculum. Over 100 applicants from 40 nations submitted research proposals in the BCFN competition. A jury comprising international experts reviewed the applications and chose ten finalists based on the organization, robustness and practicality of their projects. The finalists then presented their proposals to the 7th International Forum on Food and Nutrition at Bocconi University, in Milan, Italy, before ultimately selecting Birthwright and Lester as the winners of a one-year grant totaling 20,000 euros.

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