Research pitches earn international awards for next-generation leaders

Young researchers have earned recognition for quick research pitches while participating in an international leadership program. The online contest was held by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), based in Kenya. ILRI is an implementation partner for the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems, based at the University of Florida.

ILRI’s Capacity Development Grand Challenge (CapDev Grand Challenge) invited 51 participants from 21 countries to its 10-month leadership program. All participants created three-minute videos in which they pitched their research. Congratulations are due to three outstanding researchers, supported by the Livestock Systems Innovation Lab, who earned a silver medal finish in the contest. They are (and our connection to them):

Women in Livestock Science Category:

  • Clarisse Umutoni is a postdoctoral fellow at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in Niger. She works on a large research project to improve crop-livestock systems.

“The key to communicate your project effectively is to believe in what you do and in its impact. Believing in what you do gives you the strength to defend your work with passion to anyone, to connect with your audience, and to persuade them with simple, but powerful arguments.”

Biosciences Category:

“The pitching contest helped me appreciate the need for summarizing my research findings and delivering it to broad audiences in a short period of time. This has given me a better understanding of how to deal with challenging questions and situations and the need to always be ready to tackle issues.”

I learned to put end users of one research intervention at the center and think my innovative idea around them. The process was empowering in such ways that during preparation I practiced thinking outside the box to make sure I will be understood, and this enhanced aspects of my skills in research for development.

The top finishers in each category were recognized in a virtual ceremony on March 16, 2021.

“Congratulations on this achievement. Your stellar efforts and excellent work continue to be recognized by others,” said Dr. Adegbola Adesogan, the director of the Livestock Systems Innovation Lab.

The CapDev Grand Challenge Continues

After the pitching contest, all participants spent two days working in teams to increase the potential of their future research to impact society. They will now embark in the leadership and interpersonal skills training.

The Livestock Systems Innovation Lab has supported 7 of the 51 early-career scientists or graduate students in the ILRI CapDev Grand Challenge, which concludes in October 2021. The goal of the program is to create a cadre of transformational next-generation livestock researchers who effectively lead, communicate and influence science. Last year’s winner was Daniel Korir, who stated to ILRI:

“Apart from equipping me with new skills I now realize I really needed this experience for my science and technical skills to be effective in creating change. The ILRI CapDev Grand Challenge experience has given me a totally fresh way of looking at research and how we ought to think in a systems perspective if our research findings are to create real change and faster.”

Read another blog about this contest and program at


Posted: April 12, 2021

Category: Professional Development
Tags: Engagement, International, Leadership, Research



December 10, 2021

great post!

Kedir Abdi
September 16, 2021

Change... change... change... We are working for change! Building the basis for One Health and Food Safety in my country Ethiopia. Be Positive Always! Yes we Can! Kedir Abdi

Wellington @EkayaEkaya
May 6, 2021

Dear Yitagesu, We are excited to have you going through the CapDev Grand Challenge process. Feel free to get in touch. Your invitation for the ‘Integration gender into livestock research training course’ is on the way!!!

Erdachew Yitagesu Tesema
May 6, 2021

Thank you Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems, based at the University of Florida & ILRI. I am one of the feed the future innovation lab project funded young livestock researcher. I am glad to be screened for the long term CapDev training.

Belisa usmael
February 25, 2021

Great team (lab and field) and great work! Go ahead again and again!

February 25, 2021

good!,go ahead,

Ibsa Aliyi Usmane
February 24, 2021

Thank you very much proffesor Arie, we work for change not for lunch(field team slogan).

Ross Colgate, PhD MPH
February 24, 2021

Congratulations CAGED team, both on your important work during the pandemic and getting CAGED off the ground! We're following your progress closely and look forward to learning from the excellent science you're producing!

Ibsa Aliyi
September 20, 2019

Dr. Sara Mackune is very intelligent person who I always work with her in practical research activities in Ethiopia. May God bless Dr. Sara Mackune.

February 26, 2019

this is nice story

Adiba Rogers
October 18, 2018

A great personality, a fast-paced thinker with a strong passion for whatever she does.

Sanjoy Chandra Bhattacherjee
October 18, 2018

Hello Alice, I am pleased to hear your experiences. I am also working with Mastitis in our area of work and now I am involved in a dairy project here in Bangladesh. I am going to participate in an international mastitis forum this month. I want to hear more from you about your training of dairy farmers on safe and clean milk production. How can I do that? I will be very pleased to hear from you.

Arie Havelaar
October 17, 2018

Working with Sarah is one of the great pleasures of being associated with LSIL; she is fully dedicated to whatever she does and never fails to deliver. She also is a great traveling companion!

Kathy Colverson
October 17, 2018

Sarah rocks! I'm only too honored to work with her on a daily basis :)

Catherine Karow
September 26, 2018

Amazing woman!

Kelly Quintana
September 26, 2018

Amazing. Such an intelligent and compassionate woman doing incredible work. Her projects are changing lives all around the world in the present and for the future.

Beau Beery
September 20, 2018

Um, wow, she doesn’t have to stutter when someone asks her if she is making a positive difference on the world. I am proud to know her.

J. Parrish
September 20, 2018

Busy? You can’t even imagine. As her lucky husband and the father of our 3 kids, I’m uniquely qualified to confirm this lady is extraordinary and amazing in every way.

September 19, 2018

Thank you Mrs. Alice for your contribution on the improvement of milk quality and safety in the value chain in our community. Keep it up

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