LSC grad students finalists for Ag Innovations Prize

Monitag LogoTwo LSC graduate students are on of one of 25 teams competing in the final round of the national Agricultural Innovation Prize Powered by 40 Chances on April 25 and 26 at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery.

LSC doctoral student Leona Yi-Fan Su and dissertator Kristin Runge are creating the marketing communication and distribution channel strategy for MoniTag, a low-cost nanotechnology-based food sensor that is designed to reduce food waste from spoilage as agricultural products move from farm to table through various distributors and retailers.

Leona and Kristin were recruited to the MoniTag team by Biological Systems Engineering graduate students Yi-Cheng Wang and Lin Liu, who were seeking fellow team members with expertise in science communication, marketing strategy and an understanding of the messaging surrounding nanotechnology.  Both LSC graduates work on nanotechnology opinion research for LSC’s SciMep group.  Wesley Lee, MBA, Wisconsin School of Business is also on the team.

This is the inaugural year for the Agricultural Innovation Prize, which was founded by CALS professor Molly Jahn.   Over $200,000 in prize money will be awarded to top teams by this year’s sponsor, 40 Chances.  Four teams from UW Madison were selected for the final round and will compete against teams from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Yale University, Duke University and the University of California-Los Angeles, among others.

Professors Gunasekaran Sundaram (Professor Biological Systems Engineering, Department of Food Science) and Troy Runge, (Assistant Professor Biological Systems Engineering) have served as consultants on the entry.  Professor Sundaram is the inventor of the technology used in MoniTag and holds the patent for the technology through WARF.  Professor Runge is serving as the go-to-market and packaging engineering consultant.

If you would like to learn more about Monitag, or cast an ‘audience choice’ vote for the team, follow this link.