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Ico launches annual award competition for excellence in coffee-related research

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MEXICO CITY, Mexico – Within the framework of its Five-Year Action Plan, namely Strategic Goal II (B) ‘Priority actions to strengthen engagement with third parties’, the International Coffee Organization is launching an annual award competition for young economists to submit papers related to the coffee sector.

This essay writing competition is expected to stimulate research on emerging issues in the global coffee sector while strengthening partnerships of the Organization with universities and research institutions.



  • Promote high quality economic research on coffee-related issues with emphasis on the ICO yearly thematic focus and the Five-Year Action Plan.
  • Strengthen the relationship between the Organization and the academic community.
  • Engage young economists in assessment of economic issues affecting the coffee sector.
  • Generate innovative approaches to address development-related issues in coffee-producing countries.
  • Stimulate debate in the area of ‘sustainable coffee value chain and international development’.
  • Reward those making outstanding contributions to the debate relating to the role of coffee in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.


  1. The research paper should cover a relevant topic related to the sustainable development of the coffee sector. Some ideas for particular topics could include improving the contribution of the coffee sector to Sustainable Development Goals and/or the importance of coffee in social and economic development. While candidates have freedom to choose their own topics, provided they are relevant to the coffee sector, preference will be given to those papers addressing research questions falling under the ICO annual thematic focus.


  1. The competition is open to all economists and researchers in social sciences who are in the process of completing a PhD or who have completed their degree in the last five years, from an ICO Member country or affiliated to an institution based in a Member country, with a proven interest in the area of coffee economics. To enter the competition, the candidate should submit his/her essay, thesis work or journal article, in an official language of the ICO (English, French, Portuguese and Spanish), preferably English, which should not exceed [15,000] words.

Selection panel

  1. The selection panel will comprise three university professors of economics, one editor of an economic magazine and two senior officers of the Organization. The Head of Operations will coordinate the work of the panel. Two university professors will be designated by the spokespersons of the ICO’s exporting and importing Members while the third professor will be designated by the Executive Director. The panel will be requested to evaluate and select the best essay. The work of the panel is on a voluntary basis and will not be remunerated.

Closing date

  1. The award competition will run for three months from May to July every year.

Announcement of winners

  1. The announcement of the winners will be made during the September Council Session.


  1. The prize for the award winner will be £2,000. In the case of a co-authored paper, the prize would be equally divided among the authors. To enable the winner to attend the award ceremony in person, travel costs of up to £800 shall be covered by the ICO. An award certificate will be provided to the winner. The winning essay will be published in a specialized magazine, on the ICO website and also circulated to Members.


  1. The Organization may consider looking for potential sponsors of the competition through forging partnerships with the private sector, foundations, donor institutions as well as the coffee industry and trade associations in Member countries.


  1. All submissions should be sent to essay.award@ico.org. Submissions should include as separate attachments in PDF format:

(a) The essay.

(b) The CV of the author(s), specifying:

  1. Current affiliation(s).
  2. The academic institution awarding the PhD and the year (or expected year) of completion of the degree.

iii. The date of birth of the author(s).