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Syngenta Seeds and the Analytics Society of INFORMS announce winner of 2021 Syngenta Crop Challenge in Analytics

Winning team represented CSIRO Data61, a digital research network associated with Australia’s national science agency

DOWNERS GROVE, Ill., USA, April 15, 2021 – Syngenta Seeds and the Analytics Society of INFORMS selected a team affiliated with CSIRO Data61 in Australia as the winner of the 2021 Syngenta Crop Challenge in Analytics.

The Syngenta Crop Challenge in Analytics is a collaborative effort between Syngenta Seeds and the Analytics Society of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS). Now in its sixth consecutive year, the competition brings together experts in data analytics, mathematics and statistics to create analytical solutions to agriculture challenges.

This year’s competition focused on optimizing corn hybrid breeding processes. Using real-world crop data, participants were charged with developing analytical approaches and models aimed at optimizing seed product development systems to help increase performance and crop yield potential across diverse environments.

The winning team, which included Reena Kapoor and Rodolfo García-Flores, was awarded a $5,000 prize for their submission, “Optimal Schedules for Corn Planting and Storage.”

They represented CSIRO Data61, a digital research network associated with Australia’s national science agency that is known for creating analytical solutions to real-world problems. Kapoor and García-Flores noted that the competition aligned well with their research interests in addition to serving as a great team building exercise.

“Efficiently managing crop planting decisions and storage capacity at warehouses under future climate uncertainty is crucial to meeting the growing food demand,” said Kapoor. “By participating in the Syngenta Crop Challenge, we learned how we can bring value to the crop industry using efficient optimization and data analytics tools.”

Four finalist teams presented their submissions during the Virtual 2021 INFORMS Business Analytics Conference, where the winners were announced in a virtual awards ceremony on April 14.

“The finalists in this year’s competition demonstrated how cross-discipline collaboration can uncover new ways to use agriculture data to inform seed breeding research and development,” said Durai Sundaramoorthi, senior lecturer of data analytics at Olin Business School, Washington University in St. Louis, and Crop Challenge prize committee chair. “After careful deliberation, we selected the team affiliated with CSIRO Data61 as the winner due to their creative and methodical approach to improve complex seed product development processes with an innovative model.”

The runner-up submission, “A Multiobjective, Soft Constraint Solution to the 2021 Syngenta Crop Challenge,” authored by Mingshi Cui, Kunting Qi and Byran Smucker from Miami University (USA), received a $2,500 prize.

The third-place entry, “Optimizing Crop Planting Schedule Considering Planting Window & Harvesting Capacity,” authored by Saiara Samira Sajid and Guiping Hu from Iowa State University (USA), received a $1,000 prize.

“Analytics and data science play a more vital role than ever in agriculture as growers face increasing pressures from climate change, soil erosion, biodiversity loss and changes in consumer tastes,” said Gregory Doonan, head of advanced analytics, Syngenta Seeds. “The finalists in this year’s competition delivered innovative, analytical solutions and demonstrated why collaboration across industries is crucial to improving crop productivity and meeting the needs of a growing population.”

Established in 2015, the Syngenta Crop Challenge in Analytics is supported by Syngenta Seeds and hosted by the Analytics Society of INFORMS. It was initially funded by prize winnings donated by Syngenta in connection with the company’s 2015 win of the Franz Edelman Award for Achievement in Operations Research and the Management Sciences.

The competition exemplifies Syngenta Seed’s commitment to accelerating innovation to address the increasing challenges farmers face and the changing views of society.
For more information about the Syngenta Crop Challenge in Analytics, visit

About Syngenta
Syngenta is one of the world’s leading agriculture companies, comprised of Syngenta Crop Protection and Syngenta Seeds. Our ambition is to help safely feed the world while taking care of the planet. We aim to improve the sustainability, quality and safety of agriculture with world-class science and innovative crop solutions. Our technologies enable millions of farmers around the world to make better use of limited agricultural resources. Syngenta Crop Protection and Syngenta Seeds are part of Syngenta Group with 49,000 people in more than 100 countries working to transform how crops are grown. Through partnerships, collaboration and the Good Growth Plan, we are committed to accelerating innovation for farmers and nature, striving for carbon neutral agriculture, helping people stay safe and healthy, and partnering for impact. To learn more visit and Follow us on Twitter at and

With more than 12,000 members from around the world, INFORMS is the largest international association of operations research (O.R.) and analytics professionals and students. INFORMS provides unique networking and learning opportunities for individuals and organizations to better understand and use O.R. and analytics tools and methods to save lives, save money, and solve problems. The INFORMS Analytics Society, a community of INFORMS, promotes the integration of a wide range of analytical techniques and supports activities that illuminate significant innovations and achievement in the growing field of analytics.

Syngenta Media Contacts:        
Jason Sparks

Christina Beckett

INFORMS Media Contact:
Ashley Smith

Web Resources:
Syngenta Crop Challenge
Know More, Grow More
Syngenta Newsroom
Syngenta U.S.

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