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Scientists Without Borders Challenge Offers $10,000 for Solutions to Combat a Critical Consequence of Malnutrition

November 15, 2010

NEW YORK, Nov. 15, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — Scientists Without Borders, a public/private partnership led by The New York Academy of Sciences, unveiled today an open innovation challenge to address the critical malnutrition problem of folic acid deficiency in women of child-bearing age in the developing world, which contributes to high rates of infant mortality and birth defects.

Scientists Without Borders will offer $10,000 in prizes for the most innovative ideas submitted by December 12, 2010, that offer low-cost, easy-to-implement, scalable methods that enable women, at home or in their community, to fortify or supplement staple foods.

“Undernutrition, which includes deficiencies in micronutrients like folic acid, is one of the world’s most serious and least addressed global development issues, leading to an estimated 3.5 million preventable maternal and child deaths each year,” said Shaifali Puri, Executive Director of Scientists Without Borders. “Effective methods to provide crucial interventions have either remained unavailable or have failed to reach the women and children at greatest risk. This is an area that urgently requires innovation.”

To harness the insight and expertise of as many diverse and creative problem-solvers as possible, Scientists Without Borders is leveraging its unique, free, web-based platform and worldwide network to disseminate this challenge to a diverse pool of Solvers. It has also partnered with InnoCentive, the leading company in open innovation, to administer the challenge and to access a pool of 200,000 expert Solvers. For sponsorship of the award, Scientists Without Borders has teamed up with PepsiCo.

“Scientists Without Borders’ partnerships with these world class organizations reflects our commitment to utilizing innovative approaches to identify solutions to vexing development challenges, and to leveraging multi-sector science and technology resources and expertise in order to drive those solutions to impact and scale,” said Puri.

“The work that Scientists Without Borders is doing is critically important. Combating global undernutrition is something PepsiCo is equally committed to, and achieving success will require collaborative efforts across multiple sectors,” said Mehmood Khan, CEO of PepsiCo’s Global Nutrition Group, the company’s chief scientific officer and a member The New York Academy of Sciences Board of Governors. “We’re excited to see the innovative ideas that will be sparked by this challenge.”

“Scientists Without Borders is a remarkable organization dedicated to solving some of the world’s most pressing global scientific and technological challenges,” said Dwayne Spradling, President and CEO of InnoCentive. “We look forward to leveraging our Solver network of more than 200,000 to help find a solution to this critical Challenge of undernutrition that has caused millions of preventable deaths among women and children.”

To ensure scientific rigor and independence, Scientists Without Borders convened an Advisory Panel of three of the world’s leading nutrition science and policy experts and vested them with the independent authority to identify the appropriate parameters, specific focus area, and criteria for this challenge. These esteemed scientists–Dr. Zulfiqar Bhutta of Aga Khan University in Pakistan; Dr. Eileen Kennedy, Dean of the Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy at Tufts University; and Dr. Ricardo Uauy, a professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and former president of the International Union of Nutritional Sciences–will also assist Scientists Without Borders in the selection of the prize-winning solution.

Once a winning solution is identified, Scientists Without Borders will publish it on its web platform and, if possible, work with the winning Solver to further develop the solution for implementation and scale.

To see further details and criteria for the challenge, and to register to solve this challenge, go to www.innocentive.com or www.scientistswithoutborders.org/m/answers/ILP/Maternal_Health_and_Nutrition.

About Scientists Without Borders

Scientists Without Borders is a public-private partnership conceived by The New York Academy of Sciences in conjunction with the United Nations Millennium Project. The initiative provides a web-based collaborative community dedicated to generating, sharing, and advancing innovative science and technology-based solutions to the world’s most pressing global development challenges. Scientists Without Borders enables a worldwide community of users and its strategic partner network to frame and tackle specific scientific or technological challenges in areas of critical global need and to collaborate to identify solutions and exchange resources and expertise. We do this in a neutral, credible, and noncommercial way. Please see www.scientistswithoutborders.org.

About PepsiCo

PepsiCo offers the world’s largest portfolio of billion-dollar food and beverage brands, including 19 different product lines that each generates more than $1 billion in annual retail sales. Our main businesses – Frito-Lay, Quaker, Pepsi-Cola, Tropicana and Gatorade – also make hundreds of other nourishing, tasty foods and drinks that bring joy to our consumers in more than 200 countries. With annualized revenues of nearly $60 billion, PepsiCo’s people are united by our unique commitment to sustainable growth, called Performance with Purpose. By dedicating ourselves to offering a broad array of choices for healthy, convenient and fun nourishment, reducing our environmental impact, and fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace culture, PepsiCo balances strong financial returns with giving back to our communities worldwide. In recognition of its continued sustainability efforts, PepsiCo was named for the third time to the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index (DJSI World) and for the fourth time to the Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index (DJSI North America) in 2009. For more information, please visit www.pepsico.com.

About InnoCentive, Inc.

Since 2001, InnoCentive has helped corporate, government, and non-profit organizations to better innovate through crowdsourcing, strategic consulting services, and internal Software-as-a-Service offerings. The company built the first global web community for open innovation where organizations or “Seekers” submit complex problems or “Challenges” for resolution to a “Solver” community of more than 200,000 engineers, scientists, inventors, business professionals, and research organizations in more than 200 countries. Committed to unleashing diverse thinking, InnoCentive continues to introduce new products and services exemplifying a new corporate model where return to investors and individual passion go hand in hand with solving mankind’s most pressing problems. http://www.innocentive.com/

About The New York Academy of Sciences

The New York Academy of Sciences is an independent, not-for-profit organization committed to advancing science, technology, and society worldwide since 1817. With 25,000 members in 140 countries, the Academy is creating a global community of science for the benefit of humanity. The Academy’s core mission is to advance scientific knowledge, positively impact the major global challenges of society with science-based solutions, and increase the number of scientifically informed individuals in society at large. Please see www.nyas.org.

SOURCE The New York Academy of Sciences


Source: newswire