2021 Science Awards


Since 1993, IFA has granted the IFA Norman Borlaug Award to a person whose research or extension work has led to significant advances in crop nutrition.

In 2021, IFA decided to expand its awards in recognition that it is important to look at plant nutrition in a new way - a new paradigm that follows a food system approach and pursues multiple socioeconomic, environmental and health outcomes.

The IFA Science Awards for excellence in plant nutrition science, innovation and extension for sustainable development are as follows:

The IFA Norman Borlaug Plant Nutrition Award, which recognizes a large portfolio of research achievements, demonstrating that the individual candidate has made significant contributions to knowledge as well as concrete solutions that are essential for achieving the new paradigm.
The IFA Emerging Scholar Award, which recognizes an individual’s portfolio of research that suggests the candidate will make significant contributions to knowledge essential for achieving the new paradigm for responsible nutrition.

The judges for each award will consider the nominations in the context of the “New Paradigm for Plant Nutrition” as developed by the Scientific Panel on Responsible Plant Nutrition.

Fertilizers and those nutrients that occur in nature play a critical role in raising crops and livestock for food security, human nutrition and other uses in the bioeconomy such as recovering nutrients from waste streams and recycling back to crop production.

Nutrient production and management must change to nourish crops, improve human nutrition, reduce harmful environmental effects caused by greenhouse gas emissions and nutrient losses, and contribute to the restoration of soil health more effectively.

The IFA Science Awards recognize the role that scientists play in advancing and promoting new, more sustainable crop nutrition solutions that would support the five interconnected aims of responsible plant nutrition as outlined in the New Paradigm for Plant Nutrition:

  • Emissions and environment
  • Nutrition and health
  • Soil health
  • Waste and recycling
  • Income, productivity, efficiency and resilience

Eligibility and Application

General eligibility: The two awards are offered to individuals (not to teams, organizations or companies) for their research efforts. Women scientists are particularly encouraged to apply.

IFA Norman Borlaug Plant Nutrition Award

This award recognizes a large portfolio of research achievements, demonstrating that the candidate has made significant contributions to knowledge as well as concrete solutions that are essential for achieving the new paradigm for responsible plant nutrition. This may include significant discoveries made in fundamental research, inventions, or novel applied research that could lead to practical solutions. The likely winner of the award will have completed his/her PhD more than 10 years ago and have a strong record of publication and professional activity that has demonstrated their work to be relevant, significant and with impact. Eligibility is restricted to researchers who are still active in science i.e., retired scientists are not eligible.

IFA Emerging Scholar Award

This award recognizes a portfolio of research that suggests the candidate will make significant contributions to knowledge essential for achieving the new paradigm for responsible plant nutrition. This may include significant discoveries made in fundamental research, inventions, or novel applied research that could lead to practical solutions. The likely winner of the award will have completed his/her PhD no more than 5 years ago and have a record of publications and professional activity that has demonstrated their work to be significant and with impact potential. Graduate students near the end of their PhD may also apply, provided that they meet the stated criteria.

Application Form

Nominations should be submitted to science@fertilizer.org by August 30, 2021.