Norman Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application

June 15, 2022

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Location (s):

  • United States of America
  • Worldwide
Award ceremony: Des Moines, Iowa


The $10,000 Norman Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application, endowed by the Rockefeller Foundation, will be presented every October in Des Moines, Iowa, by the World Food Prize Foundation.


This award will recognize exceptional, science-based achievement in international agriculture and food production by an individual under 40 who has clearly demonstrated intellectual courage, stamina, and determination in the fight to eliminate global hunger and poverty.

The award will honor an individual who is working closely and directly “in the field” or at the production or processing level with farmers, animal herders, fishers or others in rural communities, in any discipline or enterprise across the entire food production, processing, and distribution chain.

To nominate a deserving individual, please visit the nomination form page. Nominations are due June 15.

Award Jury:

An independent jury of international agricultural experts appointed by the World Food Prize will review and evaluate nominations, deliberate, and select an annual winner of the Norman Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application. The Award Jury is chaired by Dr. Ronnie Coffman, a member of the World Food Prize Council of Advisors, and a person who worked directly in field research with Dr. Borlaug in Mexico.

The Rockefeller Foundation is not involved in the selection process. Communication concerning the nomination to Dr. Coffman, any other member of the jury or the Rockefeller Foundation may result in the disqualification of the nominee. 

Announcement of the Award:

The recipient of the Norman Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application will be announced to the public and the media in the period of August/September.

Presentation of the Award:

The Norman Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application will be presented in a ceremony during World Food Prize Week events in Des Moines, Iowa, on or near World Food Day, October 16.

Any questions about this award may be directed to Ms. Ellen Franzenburg, World Food Prize Director of Secretariat Operations.

Opportunity is About:


Candidates should be from:

Description of Ideal Candidate:

Candidates will be evaluated and selected based on the attributes and accomplishments that reflect those demonstrated by Dr. Borlaug during his work in field research and application, which include:

  • Persistence. Exhibiting Dr. Borlaug’s “never give up” attitude, even in the face of adversity, difficult circumstances, limitation of resources, and/or critique from colleagues. 
  • Innovation. Applying Dr. Borlaug’s credo “reach for the stars” in pursuing innovative pathways, methods, and solutions in a quest to provide adequate food and nutrition for the world’s people.
  • Communication. Emulating Dr. Borlaug’s example of understanding local cultures; working effectively in cross-cultural, cross-disciplinary situations; identifying the needs and assets of people in a given community or region; and connecting with a diverse array of stakeholders.
  • Research/Science.  Facilitating positive change through rigorous research methods, techniques, management approaches, and/or strategies that result in increased food production, availability, distribution, and/or better nutrition.
  • Extension. Extending innovative discoveries and technologies in plant science, animal science, and/or food science to underserved farmers and consumers.
  • Education. Providing hands-on science training and education to stakeholders in rural communities, including farm families and agricultural and food production workers.
  • Application. Applying improved technologies and/or management systems to crops and/or animal agriculture for sustainable production, more nutritious food, and a reduction of poverty.
  • Leadership. Demonstrating leadership of other agricultural professionals, field researchers, and/or practitioners working in collaborative programs aimed at reducing hunger and poverty and revitalizing communities.
  • Impact. Increasing the amount of food available through all of the above.  Dr. Borlaug was always about making a difference and “putting more food on the plate.”

Nominee Eligibility:

  • Nominees must be under the age of 40 (40th birthday not reached before World Food Day, October 16, of the year in which the award is presented).
  • Nominees must be actively working in the discipline, research area, position, or on the project(s) for which they are being recognized. They may be associated with a public or private educational, research or development organization or related entity. 
  • Nominees remain eligible for consideration beyond the year of their nomination, at the discretion of the Award Jury, as long as the award criteria and age requirement are met. 
  • The award is intended to be presented to one person. In unusual and rare circumstances, another person may share the award for pronounced collaborative efforts and achievement.

Who Can Nominate:

  • Any individual or organization may submit a nomination.  Nomination letters from organizations must be signed by an executive officer. Self-nominations will not be accepted.
  • Nominators should have a direct knowledge of the nominee’s work and should provide a number of specific examples, explaining how the nominee’s accomplishments align with the award criteria.
  • Letters of support may come from individuals or organizations with a direct knowledge or a basic understanding of the nominee's work.

Requirements of the Nominee:

To receive the award, individuals selected must attend the award ceremony and also participate in media events and other World Food Prize events in mid-October in Des Moines, Iowa, United States. The World Food Prize Foundation will provide roundtrip air transportation for one award winner from his or her place of employment, as well as meals and lodging while in Des Moines.


Deadline: June 15, 2022

Cost/funding for participants:

$10,000 prize.

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