Can Data Science solve Food Security?


The LinkedIn Group Analytics for Management, as well as The Business Analytics Institute, are proud to support Queen's International Innovation Challenge, which challenges post-graduate students from all over the planet to use their data analytical skills to solve one of the most pressing issues in the 21st century Food Security.

Whist the world produces enough food to feed everyone, billions of people still go hungry. The issue of hunger affects certain populations in all continents, in both developed and developing countries. When addressing the issue of eradicating issues of hunger and malnutrition, it is important to fully understand the full dimension of factors that play a role in the problem. Variables such as population dynamics, changes in food consumption, geography can contribute to food insecurity. The debate of how to eradicate world hunger takes centre stage whenever the world faces a global crisis, in 1974 during world food crisis and again in 2007, with the food, fuel and financial crises. Decades later, there's still no solution to the complete eradication of food poverty.

Data is integral to decision making

The 2017 Queen’s International Innovation Challenge urges post secondary students to take advantage of the ease of accessibility to various datasets available through open government initiatives, NGOs and the United Nations to study these Food Security problems and propose solutions. And challenges them to consider the problem of food security, analyze available data and propose a solution over the course of October and November 2017.

This challenge is open to all students from around the world, with the restriction that all participants must be enrolled in a post-secondary educational program(certificate, diploma, degree or post-doctoral fellowship) throughout the duration of the Challenge(October 6, 2017 to November 24, 2017).  Currently, there are students from Ukraine, Netherlands, Australia and India that have registered. Although not a requirement, participating Institutions are encouraged to appoint a faculty mentor to their teams to maintain the quality and productivity of their student teams.  It will also be useful for the students to have help on hand as they work through the problem.

Creativity and originality are awarded in the Challenge.  The opening event of the Challenge ,which will be recorded and shown via Facebook, on Friday 6, October 2017, will have a number of speakers who will discuss different types of problems or questions surrounding food security. And to keep up with commucations visit

 And the winner takes it all...

The top five teams will each win a cash(CDN$) prize and will be invited to Toronto:

1st           20000
2nd          10000
3rd           5000
4th           3000
5th           2000

Travel Bursaries

There will be travel busaries available. The rules for the TRavel Bursary are as follows:

The competition will attract top talent from around the world. Consequently, teams arriving from outside the Greater Toronto Area are eligible for a partial reimbursement of their travel and accommodation expenses. Meals are not eligible.

The following additional restriction/conditions apply:

Only teams that reach the finale qualify for reimbursement.

        The competition will have a tiered reimbursement:

  • Outside Greater Toronto Area (GTA) but within Canada: up to $1000 for travel and accommodation expenses will be reimbursed for the entire team
  • Outside Ontario but within Canada or the United States: up to $2000 for travel and accommodation expenses will be reimbursed for the entire team
  • Outside North America (including Mexico): up to $3000 for travel and accommodation expenses will be reimbursed for the entire team

Accommodation reimbursement is limited to a maximum of $200 / night / room including taxes for a maximum of two nights. A maximum of 2 rooms per team will be reimbursed.

Reimbursement is calculate per Ontario Public Sector rules and student teams must provide original receipts. All receipts must be received no later then December 10, 2017. If mailing the receipts, please send them to Attention: Dean McKeown, Smith School of Business, 99 University Ave. Queen's University, Kingston, ON K7L 3N6

The reimbursement processing time can take 4 - 8 weeks; and cheques mailed to the addresses provided by student team during registration.

Here is the link to register:


We wish you all the best.