CONTEST #0340296




Challenge Summary   Terms & Conditions    Community Forum 




Consider Corn Challenge:

New Uses for Field Corn as Feedstock for Making Sustainable Chemicals



Field corn production makes incredible contributions to human nutrition as a primary source of feed for cattle, hogs and poultry; to cleaner air and reduced greenhouse gases as the source of ethanol fuel; and to the economy.


The Consider Corn Challenge invites innovators, entrepreneurs, scientists and academics to redefine the role of corn and explore the broad horizon of opportunity for corn as a feedstock for making sustainable chemicals.


Today’s sustainably produced, consistent supply of renewable corn makes it an optimal resource to drive research and accelerate society’s shift to a thriving bio-based community.






NineSigma, on behalf of The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), invites proposals for new uses of field corn as a feedstock for producing sustainable chemicals which have market demand.




The total prize pool is up to US$150,000 in the form of up to 6 prizes of US$25,000 each.  NCGA may also explore funding or other support of an Entry for further development and/or commercialization, even if the Entry is not a prize winner.







The successful proposal will:

  • Use components of the corn kernel as primary feedstock
  • Have a clear path for scale-up to commercial scale
  • Enable a new market for corn
    • Should not detract from an existing corn market
    • Should lead to products with significant market demand
  • Involve a team with experience taking a process or plan from lab scale to commercial scale


Download the Challenge Summary for a full description of the Success Criteria.



This challenge is about finding new uses for field corn, the type of corn grown to feed animals and create a variety of products.  This challenge is not about sweet corn.


Field corn production in the United States has increased from 4.2 billion bushels/year in 1970 to 13.6 billion bushels/year in 2015.  Right now, there is a field corn surplus of 1.8 billion bushels.  Farmers’ continued efficient production drives the need for new uses for field corn.  The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) strategic plan includes a goal to establish three new uses that each utilize 25 million bushels or more by 2020.


Field corn is a reliable, cost-effective, and sustainable feedstock for chemicals.  Corn growers have consistently produced more corn with fewer inputs and now there is adequate supply beyond what is needed for food for humans and feed for animals.


Learn more about NCGA online at


Must submit a response by September 28, 2017 by 5:00 PM EDT to be eligible.  See the Challenge Terms & Conditions for details. 




Sorry, you are no longer able to submit a Response.



Kevin Andrews


Kevin Andrews, Ph.D.
Senior Program Manager 



Welcome to our Innovation Contest!

Questions?  Feel free to email us at




Larry Hoffmann 
Chair, Corn Productivity & Quality Action Team, NCGA


Bruce Peterson

Vice Chair, Feed, Food & Industrial Action Team, NCGA 


Paul Bertels

Vice President, Production & Sustainability, NCGA


Layla Soberanis

Manager Public Policy and Regulatory Affairs, NCGA


Nathan Danielson

Principal, BioCognito


Jim Bauman 

Director of Market Development, NCGA