Seeding the Future

Student Innovation Challenge

Seeding The Future

Student Innovation Challenge

The Food & Nutrition Innovation Institute is the home for an array of activities that the Friedman School has built upon after prioritizing discovery and innovation in our School’s strategic plan. From gatherings of entrepreneurs and experts to career fairs and competitions; we’re building a truly unique group who can navigate the complexities of the food system and find new ways of working.

The Overview

With climate change, inequities, and increasing population concerns becoming ever more omnipresence in the conversation around food systems, there is an urgent need for impactful solutions. With a generous donation from the Seeding the Future foundation, the Food & Nutrition Innovation institute is excited to bring a new program to Tufts University. The purpose of the program is to support the development of innovative solutions for a more equitable and sustainable food system by providing a cross-discipline group of students with relevant training and resources.


Student, faculty, or organization interested in getting involved? Please contact Morgan Springer.

Aarti Singh
Aarti Singh

Sally Williams
Sally E. Williams

Caroline Andrews
Caroline K. Andrews

Leah Beaulac
Leah K. Beaulac

Seeding the Future

Seeding and accelerating innovative, multidisciplinary, and scalable approaches to create solutions that sustainably improve the food supply and reduce chronic hunger.

Started by Dr. Bernhard van Lengerich, Seeding the Future (STF) van Lengerich Foundation, is looking to feed “the next billion” by supporting robust and scalable solutions with the highest long-term impact.

Learn More

Dr. Berhard van Lengerich

Bernhard completed his Doctorate Degree (Dr.-Ing.) in Food/Biotechnology at the University of Berlin, Germany. His work experience includes Unilever Germany, RJR Nabisco, and Buehler AG in Switzerland. In 1994 Bernhard joined General Mills, Inc. in Minneapolis and was Chief Science Officer and Vice President for Technology Strategy. He led the development of key enabling technologies resulting in major product innovations. Bernhard authored/co-authored over 160 patents and patent applications, established a Game Changer program and created a novel ‘Cashless Venturing’ initiative, enabling faster and more disruptive innovations. Under the Obama Administration, he was an invited participant at the White House Office for Science and Technology Policy for discussions on global protein security. Bernhard retired in 2015 after more than 20 years with General Mills and serves now as a Board Member at several organizations in the US and Europe.

Read More

Seeding the Future Food Systems Sustainability Challenge

Application Description

About the Food Systems Sustainability Challenge:


Application closed


This new program is funded by the Seeding the Future Foundation whose vision is “a global food system that always provides equitable access to safe, nutritious, affordable, appealing, and trusted food for everyone and improves the health of people and our planet by being sustainable, resilient, and regenerative”.  With concerns of climate change, social inequities, and increasing populations becoming ever more omnipresence in the conversation relating to food systems, there is an urgent need for impactful solutions. In partnership with the Food & Nutrition Innovation Institute at the Friedman School at Tufts University, this program aims to support the development of innovative solutions for a more equitable and sustainable food system by providing a cross-discipline group of students with relevant training and resources.

During the first semester, students will be selected from across the Friedman School programs. These students will work to research and identify challenges, gaps, and areas of opportunity at varying levels of the food system. Selected students will receive human-centered design training, access to mentors and networking, as well as time and space to develop ideas. Students will push boundaries, receive professional insight, and propose real solutions. By the end of the semester, Friedman students will narrow down their focus areas.

The spring term will build off of the research done in the Fall, but in partnership with students from the Master of Science in Innovation & Management program. Not only will this collaboration encourage a cross-discipline approach, but it will drive the creation of innovative solutions through market identification, product testing, and business planning.

In addition to participating in the program’s components, students will have the ability to shape the program for the coming years.

Who we are looking for:

Are you insatiably curious? Entrepreneurial in spirit? Have a fervent desire to make a difference? Do you love innovation?

We are looking for current Friedman School students to take on the challenge of creating a better food system. This program will bring together keen minds from across-disciplines to tackle various issues within the food landscape. Though there is no set skillset necessary, students should bring a variety of interests and expertise – exposure to areas such as business, agriculture, nutrition, policy, STEM may be most relevant.

Qualities that we are looking for:

  • Self-motivated – we’re talking that internal drive factor
  • Ability to dive into the details while also maintaining the big picture
  • Interest in making a positive impact, sustainably
  • Desire to learn about areas outside of current studies
  • Passion for food, agriculture, nutrition, or related topics
  • Collaborative
  • Willingness to fail
    • Because we’re aiming high and creating the next “big ideas”, not every innovation is going to be a success.
  • Thrive in ambiguity
    • The program will provide students with the appropriate resources, but let them take the lead; though there will be set events and some structure, there is no syllabus like a traditional course. This encourages taking initiative to collaborate and develop solutions while also providing critical feedback to the implementation and development of the Seeding the Future program.

If this sounds like you, please apply by the August 23rd!

We are asking for a commitment of both semesters—a full academic year. To compensate for the time and work, participants will receive $22/hr.

About Seeding the Future Van Lengerich Foundation:

Seeding the Future is the vision of Dr. Bernhard van Lengerich. After several decades with various food companies focusing on the intersection of science, technology, and innovation, Dr. Van Lengerich now seeks to help feed the next one billion people by helping to support innovative solutions for a more equitable and sustainable food system.

For more information about Dr. Van Lengerich and the Seeding the Future Foundation, visit here

Please send a resume and statement of interest to Morgan Springer

For additional information, please visit here.


Feel free to contact us with any questions
Katie Stebbins
Katie Stebbins
Executive Director, Food and Nutrition Innovation Institute

Morgan Springer
Program Director, Seeding the Future Student Challenge

Interest Form

This is an initial interest form. A formal application will come later.