ARLINGTON, VA. — The National Science Foundation (N.S.F.) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have launched the BREAD Ideas Challenge, a prize competition for the Basic Research to Enable Agricultural Development (BREAD) program.

According to the groups, the BREAD Ideas Challenge will be an opportunity for researchers in the agricultural sciences to identify, in 100 words or fewer, what they believe are the most pressing issues facing smallholder farmers in the developing world. Up to 25 winners will receive $10,000 each. Their ideas will be showcased on the BREAD Ideas Challenge web site (

“The BREAD Ideas Challenge builds on the success of the BREAD program by stimulating and eliciting new ideas from the global research community,” said John Wingfield, assistant director for biological sciences at the N.S.F. “We expect the prize winning ideas to catalyze new international collaborations that will explore untested, but potentially transformative, basic research that could improve the lives of smallholder farmers in the developing world.”

Interested researchers have until 5 p.m. E.D.T., April 30, to submit their ideas describing a challenge or research focus consistent with BREAD Program objectives. The BREAD Ideas Challenge is open to graduate students, postdoctoral associates and faculty at universities, colleges and non-profit research organizations in the United States and internationally.

Entries will be judged by an internal panel of experts from the N.S.F. and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Prizes for U.S. winners whose ideas fall within the scope of the N.S.F.’s Plant Genome Research Program, which financially supports the BREAD program, will be paid from N.S.F. funds. All other prizes, including those to international winners, will be supported by funds from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which also financially supports BREAD.