NEW YORK, February 8, 2012—On Wednesday, February 8, Scientists Without Borders was recognized at an event at the White House for its model to foster game-changing innovations with the potential to solve long-standing global development challenges. At the event, hosted by Dr. John P. Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; Gayle Smith, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director, National Security Council; and Dr. Rajiv Shah Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development, the Administration highlighted select partnershipsthat demonstrate how the government, the private sector, and NGOs are harnessing science, technology, and innovation to promote global development. The White House included two Scientists Without Borders projects as examples of its unique model for successfully combining the organization's strength in crowdsourcing with its world-class strategic partner network to accelerate innovation in critical nutritional interventions.
"We are honored that the Administration has recognized our unique, open, and innovation-driven model for leveraging science and technology to surface and accelerate solutions to the most urgent development challenges, along with the other important efforts announced today" said Shaifali Puri, Executive Director of Scientists Without Borders. "We believe that these projects demonstrate our capacity to leverage our highly credible and independent network of scientific expertise and combine it with the resources and assets of our world-class partners to identify potentially game-changing solutions, and drive them to implementation and impact."
In response to the President's call to action, Scientists Without Borders formed a partnership with PepsiCo on a $10,000 global maternal malnutrition challenge seeking innovative and scalable solutions for tackling micronutrient deficiency among women of childbearing age in the developing world. In 2011, that challenge reached 300,000 people worldwide and generated ideas from 22 countries. Scientists Without Borders and PepsiCo are partnering once again to advance the winning solution to triple fortify salt with folic acid to the pilot and implementation phase.
"At PepsiCo, we realize that no one organization can solve complex, global issues alone. Public-private partnerships and open approaches to innovation are critical to achieving meaningful progress in the fight again chronic disease," said George Mensah, MD, Vice President of PepsiCo Nutrition. "We're proud to support Scientists Without Borders and their vitally important work to alleviate folic acid deficiency among women of childbearing age in the developing world. Their competition sparked many ideas with great potential and we're excited to continue our partnership as they work to advance implementation of the winning idea."
Also reflecting the President's call to action, Scientists Without Borders announced a recent partnership with DSM and its humanitarian arm, Sight and Life, to design and issue a new challenge seeking innovative ideas for more sustainable packaging for micronutrient powders (MNPs), one of the most widely-distributed and cost-effective nutrition interventions in resource-poor settings. The current foil packaging for MNPs creates significant waste since 200-300 million are distributed a year and two-thirds of the current cost of production of MNPs is attributable to the packaging. A new delivery mechanism could dramatically reduce waste and make the powders more cost efficient-potentially increasing their availability to the world's hungry. Scientists Without Borders, in conjunction with the Sackler Institute for Nutrition Sciences at the New York Academy of Sciences, will announce the challenge this Spring, and DSM and Sight and Life will sponsor a prize of at least $25,000 for the most innovative ideas.
"DSM and its humanitarian nutrition think tank, Sight and Life, are excited to partner with Scientists Without Borders to find more innovative and sustainable approaches to tackle malnutrition," said Dr. Klaus Kraemer, Director of Sight and Life. "Micronutrient powders are one of the most effective nutritional interventions in resource-poor communities. By sponsoring an incentive prize designed by Scientists Without Borders, to challenge researchers to conceive of novel packaging and distribution models, we hope to better reach millions of people with this critical intervention, improve their lives, and have a better effect on the environment."
About Scientists Without Borders
Scientists Without Borders, a public/private partnership led by the New York Academy of Sciences, is a web-based collaborative community that generates and advances innovative and effective science and technology-based solutions to the world's most pressing global development challenges. Scientists Without Borders's unique model leverages a free online platform to connect a worldwide group of cross-disciplinary, multi-sector users to develop and openly share concrete and effective solutions to these challenges. To learn more about Scientists Without Borders, visit www.scientistswithoutborders.org.
About the Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science at the New York Academy of Sciences
The New York Academy of Sciences, in partnership with The Mortimer D. Sackler Foundation, Inc., established The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science to convene key stakeholders across industry, government, and academia for precompetitive dialogue in order to create a coordinated effort to support and disseminate nutrition science research. The Sackler Institute is a neutral venue for high-level collaboration among leading organizations that, individually, have a limited positive impact, but together, have the power to compel real, widespread transformation in the area of malnutrition. For more information on the Sackler Institute, visit www.nyas.org/Nutrition.
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 visit us online at www.nyas.org.