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Student Engagement

Building the Next Generation of Innovators

GCFSI connects students with opportunities to conduct and apply research, work with international partners, and develop the interdisciplinary perspective necessary to solve food systems challenges. GCFSI serves students from Michigan State University, Malawi's Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and a host of international research institutes and universities.

Student Innovation Grants

GCFSI awarded 10 students from around the world with a $10,000 grant to develop, refine or scale up a food system innovation. The grants mobilize students to use their passion and skills to improve food security on a global scale. 

Research Team Members

Graduate students, many at the PhD level, are members of each GCFSI research group. They make key scientific contributions and play a vital role in field research and outreach activities in Malawi, Kenya and Tanzania. 

Communicating for Impact

The Translational Scholars Corps, led by David Poulson, associate director of MSU's Knight Center for Environmental Journalism, provides communications training to students and researchers. Generating podcasts, videos and articles for GCFSI's multimedia platform, The Food Fix, students develop the crucial ability to take highly complex research findings and distill them into accessible stories for the general public. MSU students curate content, host podcast interviews and write articles on the latest food systems innovations. 

Through the Global Partnership Series, The Food Fix broadcasts food security-related radio segments recorded by Malawian reporters, and previously aired on local stations.

Frugal Innovation

The Frugal Innovation Practicum gives students from MSU and Malawi's Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources the opportunity to learn about barriers to food security, develop real-world problem-solving skills, and experience cross-cultural exchange while improving their communication and presentation skills.

Offered over the summer, the practicum combines a series of online and in-person classes, local field trips, and applied research. While conducting field work in Lilongwe, Malawi, students work with local food retailers to identify solutions to market challenges that block innovation, limit profits and undermine urban food security. Student teams consult with market committees, the Lilongwe City Council and other decision-makers to develop locally-controlled innovation plans.