The Global Center for Food Systems Innovation (GCFSI) at Wageningen University

We are the coordinators from Wageningen University who work for the development lab Global Center for Food Systems Innovation (GCFSI), coordinated by Michigan State University. This lab is one of the seven labs funded by USAID in their Higher Education Solutions Network (HESN) which includes the College of William and Mary, Duke University, Massachussetts Institute of Technology, Michigan State University (MSU), Texas A&M, University of California Berkeley and Makerere University in Uganda. Through HESN, USAID hopes to harness the intellectual capacity of American and international research and education institutions to help solve the most pressing global developement problems.

The Global Center for Food Systems Innovation is a global consortium led by MSU and includes GCFSI@WUR, Sokoine University of Agriculture (Tanzania) and The Energy and Resources Institute (India). Resource partners include CRDF, Lincoln University, QED and the University of Pretoria. GCFSI lab focuses on generating solutions to the most critical problems facing the developing world’s food systems.

Core Tenets of GCFSI (in 2013):
  • The GCFSI is a platform to engage students and faculty in creating science, technology engineering, and institutional based solutions to international development challenges.
    • GCFSI is dedicated to advancing knowledge and effectively transferring innovations to stakeholders while building the next generation of development scholars.
    • Finding, incubating and evaluating new and potentially disruptive knowledge and technology based solutions to development challenges by employing sound science, technology, and engineering is the core mission of the GCFSI.
    • The GCFSI also serves as a resource laboratory for USAID to increase the agency’s efficiency and effectiveness by providing information, analysis and decision support. GCFSI will work closely with the newly created Food Security Innovation Center to align, complement and support food security programs at USAID.
    • The GCFSI is integrated in our approach, looking across disciplines, methodologies, and approaches to build multidisciplinary, multigenerational, and multisectoral teams to address development challenges that engage the university, private sector, and other stakeholders.
    • The GCFSI is a “soft walled” laboratory dedicated to connecting across campus, across the Higher Education Solutions Network (HESN) and across the globe to the best thinking on transformative solutions to development challenges.
    • Gender is a key consideration across all activities of the GCFSI and its programs.
    • The GCFSI is dedicated to the goals and objectives of the broader HESN and actively seeks partnerships, collaboration, and networking with the network members.
  • The GCFSI takes a broad view of innovation that encompasses technology, policy, markets, management techniques, analytics and combinations of these tools.
We aim to develop a global learning and action network among universities, farmers, businesses, NGOs, civil society organizations and governments worldwide that:
  1.  allows GCFSI researchers and outside stakeholders to learn from each other and jointly identify what are the most important questions to tackle and the most important actions to take;
  2.  allows USAID to learn from the most important innovations from stakeholders worldwide and to consider applying them to its global food security strategies.
  3.  facilitates the development of research and education projects with impact on food security and sustainable development.

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