2019-2020 Special Category:

Re-purposed Farmlands & Tobacco Crops



While there are infinite positive impacts to reducing smoking around the world, unfortunately there are negative consequences for low-income countries that depend on tobacco farming as a thriving industry. The reduced demand of tobacco could bring devastating consequences to smallholder tobacco farmers, many of whom are economically dependent on tobacco crops for their livelihood.

The Conrad Challenge is partnering with the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World (FSFW) to create a special category for the 2019–2020 competition. We need you to develop 21st century agricultural technology solutions to increase smallholder agriculture efficiency and productivity to either re-purpose tobacco farmlands for a different crop, or to utilize the tobacco plant for a different purpose. Let’s work together to ensure these farmers have a path to success as tobacco demand decreases around the world.

Recent articles framing the issue:

Jump Start to Brainstorming:

Don't miss your chance to join this revolution! This special category gives you a seat at the table to help FSFW determine which alternatives are the most viable to addressing this challenge. In the future, FSFW plans to bring together private, development and public players to invest in pilot solutions.  


  • The Smoke-Free World category will follow all of the traditional guidelines for all three rounds of the Conrad Challenge and will adhere to the same Challenge deadlines.

  • Teams are subject to the full registration fee of $399, unless they have registered in another Challenge category resulting in a discounted rate.

  • Smoke-Free World will be judged with the same criteria in all three rounds of the competition and a Pete Conrad Scholar will be selected within this category. Smoke-Free World will also have special judges from the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World participate, with the potential for additional prizes and awards along the way.


The Foundation for a Smoke-Free World (FSFW) is an independent, nonprofit organization established in 2017. It funds research, promotes innovation, and supports collaborative initiatives to accelerate progress in reducing harm and deaths from smoking worldwide. The purpose of FSFW is to end smoking in this generation. FSFW’s areas of focus include smoking cessation and harm reduction, as supported by new technologies, therapies, alternative products, behavioral science, and other approaches. FSFW employs and promotes a human-centered approach to problem-solving. It builds tailored strategies that address the unique challenges faced by smokers and vulnerable populations affected by the elimination of the use of cigarettes and other forms of combustible tobacco. It is guided by an evidence-based research philosophy grounded in gender sensitivity and multiculturalism.