Impact - Zero Hunger Lab

With the use of data science, less hunger in the world

Zero Hunger Lab

The hunger problem in the world is huge. Today, according to the United Nations (UN), as many as 820 million people regularly go to bed hungry. Every three seconds a child dies of hunger somewhere in our world. Tilburg University’s Zero Hunger Lab wants to use data science to contribute to realizing global food security.

Sustainable Development Goals

Globally, all countries have made agreements and laid them down in the seventeen UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The second goal (SDG-2) is Zero Hunger. The five agreements made in this respect are:

  1. By 2030, safe, nutritious and sufficient food
  2. By 2030, end malnutrition
  3. By 2030, double the agricultural productivity and incomes of small scale food producers
  4. By 2030, ensure sustainable food production
  5. By 2020, maintain the genetic diversity of seeds, cultivated plants and farmed, and domesticated animals and their related wild species.
Zero Hunger Lab - Goal 2

Bytes for Bites

Tilburg University’s Zero Hunger Lab wants to contribute to the attainment of these five agreements based on data science. Only by working together intelligently can we put an end to hunger in the world. We do this by advising aid organizations, companies, and government institutions through mathematics and smart algorithms: we call it Bytes for Bites.

Our mission is to make people independent from food aid and to ensure sustainable food security. We do this not only in Africa, Asia, or the Middle East but also in the Netherlands, where 150,000 people depend on the 170 Food Banks for their daily meal.

Achieving food security

We believe that, with a joint approach to food security problems, we will make more impact in the fight against hunger. Many of our food systems need to be fundamentally overhauled over the next decade. Not only to help people in need but also to make sure we are ready to provide more than 10 billion people with a healthy meal by 2050 and find structural solutions to stop the effects of increasing global warming and pollution on our planet.

The lab is part of Tilburg University’s IMPACT program, which connects several scientists with social partners to realize impact together.

What have we already achieved?

15-20% more people
fed by the WFP

thanks to our model Optimus

After use in many countries
WFP wants to deploy

the model in 80 countries

In achieving greater food security, we have to deal with an enormous complexity of factors. This also means that changes take time and, sometimes, results do not become concrete until after a number of years.

Strong together

The Zero Hunger Lab cooperates with its program partners Tilburg University and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Research and project partners include the World Food Programme, Solidaridad, WUR, Oxfam, ORTEC, Welt Hunger Hilfe, INSEAD, BlueRock Logistics, and Voedselbanken NL.

Join in the Help

Reducing the world's great hunger problem requires not just more efficient and effective (emergency) food aid. On the contrary, it is also necessary to share knowledge, also from other disciplines such as behavioral, legal, or economic sciences. It is important to strengthen local capacity so that farmers, businesses, and communities themselves can ensure sustainable food security and become independent of support.

The solution to the food problem lies in cooperation. Help us achieve this solution.