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Nobel Peace Prize for World Food Programme

Published: 09th October 2020 Last updated: 12th October 2020

Today it was announced that the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. Tilburg University’s Zero Hunger Lab is very pleased about this recognition. It has worked together with the WFP for years.

In a first reaction, Hein Fleuren, one of the founders of the Zero Hunger Lab (ZHL), has said that he is ‘thrilled that the World Food Programme has won this Prize. Not only because they do very good work, but also because this will raise awareness of the increasingly great problem of hunger in the world.’


The ZHL has worked together with the Supply Chain Planning department of the WFP for more than eight years. By building and optimizing mathematical models, researchers have succeeded in improving the emergency aid. This has resulted not only in better logistics but also in a more optimal food basket.

Recently, the ZHL has also collaborated with the WFP’s Nutrition department. As part of this project, the researchers have looked specifically at the food basket that families receive. Not only the nutritional value (nutrients) and costs are taken into account, but also the environmental footprint (CO2, use of water, etc.).

Koen Peters, alumnus and an external PhD researcher at Tilburg University, is affiliated to both the ZHL and the WFP. He works as a data scientist at the WFP in Rome on a mathematical model to make the food program better and more efficient. As a consultant, he makes the model accessible for staff who are non-experts in data science. His first reaction: "Wow! COVID-19 makes this one of the toughest years for our work ever, so this award really heartens all my colleagues!


More information on the Zero Hunger Lab


Zero Hunger Lab is made possible thanks to donations from alumni to the Tilburg University Fund.