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The 17th edition of the Global Development Competition took place over GDN’s Global Development Conference on ‘Science, Technology and Innovation for Development’ on 22-23 March  2018, in New Delhi, India. The winners in two categories of the competition have been announced. Finalists competed for the awards, after going through a multi-stage selection process, with 271 submissions received from 59 different countries. 

The winners of the 2017 Awards Competition were announced by François Bourguignon, Chairperson of the GDN Board of Directors, at the closing ceremony of the conference. “We recognize the best, young talented minds showcasing excellence in development research, thinking and deserving innovation in development,” he said. Bourguignon was one of this year’s high-level jury, which was composed of Sonal Shah of the Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation, Alex Ntale of the Rwanda ICT Chamber, Cecilia Ugaz of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, and Howard White of the Campbell Collaboration, to name a few. 

The Japanese Award for Most Innovative Development Project

The first prize of the Japanese Award for Most Innovative Development Project was awarded to the South Asian Forum for Environment. The second and third prizes went respectively to SERMA Africa and DADREG. At the prize giving ceremony, Dipayan Dey, chairperson for research and planning at the South Asian Forum for Environment accepted the first prize of US$30,000 for hydroponic aqua-farming in India, Abraham Bungkuac, country director of SERMA Africa, accepted the second prize of US$10,000 for addressing poverty through agribusiness, trading and research in South Sudan, and George Onyango, executive director of the Dandora Dumpsite Rehabilitation Group in Kenya accepted the third prize of US$5,000 for addressing food insecurity through modern farming techniques. 

The Japanese Award for Outstanding Research on Development 

In the category of the Japanese Award for Outstanding Research on Development, the jury decided to award two joint second prizes of US$ 22,500 each to Ms. Merve Sancak and Dr. Yadeta Bekele, particularly recognizing the importance of their research for future policy. Mr. Rishikesan Parthiban received an honorary mention for his research. There were no first or third prizes awarded for this category. At the prize giving ceremony, Merve Sancak, Ph.D. candidate at the University of Cambridge, UK accepted the joint second prize for research on finding skills in transition economies and Yadeta Bekele, lecturer and researcher at the Jimma University also accepted the joint second prize for a study on coffee certification and contract farming among smallholder coffee producers in Ethiopia. 

The conference where teams pitched for the top award was attended by 224 researchers, policymakers and practitioners, and was followed online with a global reach of over 290 persons. It provided the finalists with tremendous recognition and exposure through their presentations. In fact, the finalists obtained insightful comments from the audience which included academics, policymakers, development practitioners and young researchers. Not least, they received a training in communicating research and development, prior to the competition.

The Global Development Awards Competition is an innovative award scheme launched by the Global Development Network (GDN) with the support of the Ministry of Finance, Government of Japan.

Winning Proposals

Most Innovative Development Project (MIDP)

  • Dandora Dumpsite Rehabilitation Group (Kenya) for their project‘Addressing Food Insecurity Through Modern Farming Techniques’ [Sub-theme 1: Agriculture]
  • SERMA Africa Organization (South Sudan) for their project ‘Addressing Poverty through Agribusiness, Trading and Research (APATAR)’ [Sub-theme 1: Agriculture]
  • South Asian Forum for Environment (India) for their project ‘Hydroponic Aqua-Farming for Building Capacities towards Climate Resilient Agriculture in Indigenous Smallholders of Indian Eco-Region’ [Sub-theme 1: Agriculture]

Outstanding Research on Development (ORD)

  • Ms. Merve Sancak (Turkey), PhD Candidate in sociology at University of Cambridge, UK, for her research project on ‘Finding Skills in Transition Economies’ [Sub-theme 2: Manufacturing]
  • Mr. Rishikesan Parthiban (India), Doctoral Research Scholar at IIM Kolkata, India, for his research project on ‘A Virtual Time-Bank based Sharing Economy Model for Effective Engagement of Human Capital in Rural India’ [Sub-theme 3: Digital Technology]
  • Mr. Yadeta Bekele (Ethiopia), Lecturer and Researcher at Jimma University, Ethiopia, for his research project on ‘Promotion of Coffee certification and contract farming participation: The case of smallholder coffee producers in Jimma Zone, southwest Ethiopia’ [Sub-theme 1: Agriculture]

Read more about the history of GDN awards and competitions.

Follow the awards online with #GDNawards.

For questions, write to awards@gdn.int.

Watch a short film below featuring last year's finalists.


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