Entries are now open for the Fieldays Innovation Awards, with organisers hoping that the forecast economic downturn drives more people to seek innovative solutions to challenging environments.
The awards have a total prize package of cash, services and products worth more than $60,000.
Fieldays programme manager Steve Chappell said they predict a high calibre of entries this year.
“We expect to see development in all areas, especially agri tech, autonomous systems, software developments, robotics in manufacturing, and solving worker shortages” Chappell said.
“Innovation in these areas usually reflects the climate we are in, and often we see companies needing to think smarter and be more efficient when times are harder. Data collection and measuring tools, management apps, and a big focus on environmental reporting are also topical currently.”
Fieldays Innovation Awards represent the innovation lifecycle in three categories: Prototype, Early-Stage, and Growth & Scale. Special recognition is also given to younger innovators, with an award for the Fieldays Young Innovator of the year award.
“The short turnaround since Fieldays 2022 means this year’s entries will really be hot of the press. We expect entries from all around the world in the food and fibre sector,” Chappell said.
The Fieldays Innovation Awards are an opportunity to showcase an idea or innovation, receive feedback from Fieldays visitors, and connect with potential partners, distributors, investors and the New Zealand innovation ecosystem.
Entries are encouraged from across the primary sector: dairy, meat & wool, forestry, horticulture (including viticulture), seafood (including aquaculture and fishing), arable, and agri tech (including food tech and green tech).
Building on a similar format from 2022, the following criteria have been altered:
• The Young Innovator Award is now for entrants 19 years and under. Fieldays wants to showcase the amazing innovations coming from school-age entrants. “So many great ideas are coming through that deserve acknowledgment, and we expect a lot of competition,” Chappell said.
• The Growth & Scale category is now for innovations commercialised in the past four years and for sale in at least two countries, one of which must be New Zealand.
• Entrants can now add additional information to their entry once it is accepted into the awards to ensure the judges have the most up-to-date information.
• A new rotation system will be introduced to the awards judging panel, with new judges joining the existing broad range of experts from across the innovation ecosystem.
Entrants can also display their innovations around Fieldays on their sites, as part of the Fieldays Innovation Trail on the Fieldays App.
Entries are open until 1pm on Thursday, May 4.
Full details of the awards, including terms and conditions, FAQs, and category criteria, can be viewed on the Fieldays website.