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Challenge Labs

Creative workshops designed to find solutions to current and future challenges in the food and agriculture system

EIT Food Challenge Labs are designed to tackle the big problems faced by the agrifood sector by bringing together diverse groups of people: graduate and postgraduate students, technologists and scientists, experienced professionals, consumers and companies. Challenge Labs builds also capacity among the participants to develop entrepreneurial skills.

Through ideation and design thinking methodologies, the Challenge Labs will spark co-founder relationships, lead to the creation of new businesses and build links between industry, academia and startups. The core of the activity seeks to fully understand the perspective of the problem-holder, understand their needs, get to know their challenges and check whether the designed solution (service, product, system, process) really meets these needs. EIT Food has successfully carried out +20 Challenge Labs at the national level in Europe in the past three years with +600 participants.

The 2022 edition is now a pan-European competition with participants from 22 countries. The 2022 Challenge Labs edition will be organized in two tracks, one for participants from the South of Europe (SE) and the other for the Central-East of Europe (CEE) geographic area*. Tracks will be organized independently and the best teams of each one will be invited to a final event to present in front of a common jury to compete for the Grand Final Awards. It is a large, but well curate competition, we will select the best 120 participants to take part in this activity!

*Challenge Labs is developed under Regional Innovation Scheme - RIS. You can read more about the scheme here.

If you would like to find out what were the challenges of the Polish agrifood industry that were the topic of the Polish edition of Challenge Labs workshop, please download the Innovation challenges in Polish agrifood industry report here (Polish version only). 

Who can apply?

  • Workshop participants: alumni or PhD students, startup founders, entrepreneurs, MBAs and professionals from areas of food technology, nutrition, biotechnology, marketing, business administration, psychology and other areas with possible application in agrifood sector.
  • Experts/mentors: experienced professionals having at least 5 years of experience in the agrifood sector in different roles such as R&D, Business Development, Innovation, Strategy, Sales etc.

Who is eliglible?

For Challenge Labs South: citizens of Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece and Turkey.

For Challenge Labs CEE: citizens of Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine.

Why should you join the programme?


Teams with the best solutions will be awarded prizes of € 4,000, € 3,000 and €2,000!

If you reach the joint FINAL, a larger prize awaits you!

Apply for the Challenge Labs in Central and Eastern Europe

How we work?

Challenge identification – We work with agrifood companies to identify a meaningful and real challenge or problem they are facing.

Interdisciplinary teams – We select the best participants ensuring the best mix of expertise and skills in building the teams, if you are applying as a team you are welcome to keep on working together.

Challenge solving – The problem can be approached from different perspectives by people with engineering, science, business, nutrition and logistics backgrounds and interests.

Experts support – We partner with leading innovation and creativity experts to guide you in identifying and developing an opportunity and with we bring our sector experts from key companies to help your ideas to respond to a real problem.

Industry connection – Our challenges respond to specific needs and problems of agrifood companies, this gives participants the opportunity to interact with key executives and innovation staff and validate the viability of the solution.

Universities – We actively seek engaging universities and young and talented innovators. Some of the most knowledgeable universities in disciplines relevant to agrifood bring their talents to the challenge. The challenge is a great means to put together talent and large companies.


EIT Food | Challenge Labs 2021 Poland | Aftermovie


EIT Food | Challenge Lab 2021

Programme outline

Local Challenge Labs editions in 2022

This year additionally local Challenge Labs editions will take place between April and June 2022.

  • Estonia: 22-24 April 2022
  • Slovenia: 15.04 and 22.04.2022
  • Romania: 16-25.05.2022
  • Poland: 16-28.05.2022
  • Hungary: 6.06, 13.06, 20.06 and 27.06.2022
  • Slovakia: 15-30.06.2022
  • Croatia: 14-16 September 2022
  • Latvia: TBA
  • Lithuania: 4-5 May 2022
  • Czechia: TBA
  • Bulgaria: May-June (TBD)
  • Serbia: May-June (TBD)

If you are a representative of agri-food industry and would like to join Challenge Labs by proposing a challenge or becoming an expert in one of the labs - please contact Paweł Ciach -

Project lead

Paweł Ciach EIT Food North-East

Project Manager on Business Creation

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Amparo de San José EIT Food South

Entrepreneurship Programme Manager

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