News and Announcements / News and Announcements

The Rockefeller Foundation Announces New Set of Global Challenges for 21st Century Problem-Solvers

The Rockefeller Foundation, celebrating 100 years of global innovation, today announced the launch of a series of new online challenges to source innovative ideas that have the potential to create long-term impact in an increasingly dynamic and complex world. The Innovation Challenges, which run through May 25, seek to gather ideas from around the globe on three important topics: data collection and usage, irrigation efficiency, and farming.

As The Rockefeller Foundation marks its centennial, the search has begun for innovative ideas that will solve problems for the next 100 years. The Innovation Challenges are designed to discover and reward ideas that show unique promise for addressing global needs from a variety of geographies, perspectives, and contexts.

Fifteen finalists, five in each category, will be selected by a distinguished panel of judges and recognized at the 2012 Rockefeller Foundation Innovation Forum this summer. As many as nine out of 15 finalists will be selected by the Foundation to apply for up to $100,000 in grant support to further develop or implement their ideas.

“The Rockefeller Foundation’s centennial occurs at a time of great dynamism, change, and uncertainty in the world,” said Michael Myers, Director of The Rockefeller Foundation’s Centennial Initiative.“We are challenging the world’s best thinkers and doers to offer their most innovative ideas for addressing the challenges facing humanity in the 21st century.”

The Rockefeller Foundation looks to attract global changemakers whose ideas could lead to new services, tools, and choices in the following three issue areas:

  • DECODING DATA: Ideas that create better ways to address urban challenges through the application of data.
  • IRRIGATING EFFICIENCY: Ideas that help reduce barriers—such as lack of investment, incentives, or political will and capacity—to implementing and scaling agricultural water use efficiency.
  • FARMING NOW: Ideas that encourage and help young farmers to become more productive, more resilient, and more profitable by addressing cultural perceptions, economic conditions, and/or climate change.

The 2012 Innovation Challenges are the second in an annual series, which began in 2011 and are designed to source cutting-edge ideas to some of the most pressing challenges around the world. The first Innovation Challenges sought innovative uses in mobile technology to improve health systems and outcomes. The second annual 2012 Innovation Challenges will accept entries until May 25, 2012.

About The Rockefeller Foundation

The Rockefeller Foundation’s mission to promote the well-being of people throughout the world has remained unchanged since its founding in 1913. Today, that mission is applied to an era of rapid globalization. Our vision is that this century will be one in which globalization’s benefits are more widely shared and its challenges are more easily weathered. To realize this vision, the Foundation seeks to achieve two fundamental goals in our work. First, we seek to build resilience that enhances individual, community and institutional capacity to survive, adapt, and grow in the face of acute crises and chronic stresses. Second, we seek to promote growth with equity in which the poor and vulnerable have more access to opportunities that improve their lives. In order to achieve these goals, the Foundation constructs its work into time-bound initiatives that have defined objectives and strategies for impact. These initiatives address challenges that lie either within or at the intersections of five issue areas: basic survival safeguards, global health, environment and climate change, urbanization, and social and economic security.


For Media Inquiries
Laura Gordon,The Rockefeller Foundation, 212-852-8216,