The India Smart Protein Innovation Challenge 2023

Grow your skills. Innovate. Build the future of food.

Applications for the 2023 edition have now closed
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The India Smart Protein Innovation Challenge (ISPIC) is GFI India’s flagship initiative for building a future ready talent pipeline and a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem for the global alternative protein sector.
Built on the foundation of meeting global climate goals while sustainably feeding billions, this challenge aims to stimulate research and solve for scientific whitespaces as well as accelerate go-to-market for dozens of entrepreneurs so that we, as a country, can be one step ahead of the curve in building the future of food.
ISPIC, a first-of-its-kind challenge in the world, has trained over a thousand new innovators in the business and science of smart protein, fostering the next generation of talent and entrepreneurs for the Indian smart protein sector.

ISPIC 2020 was the world’s first alternative proteins challenge, inspiring similar hackathons globally

ISPIC 2021 expanded to include plant-based, fermentation-derived and cultivated protein solutions, with two tracks separately focused on ideation and entrepreneurship

ISPIC 2023 will focus on industry white spaces that are in need of solutions, as outlined in the Challenge Statements section.

ISPIC 2023 is a fast-paced virtual competition that will inspire you to unearth your true potential. After a five month journey of intensive learning, collaborative hard work, and expert mentorship, the challenge comes together with a career showcase and a live Demo-Day.

The winning teams stand to win prize money of 1 lakh each along with follow-on internships, incubation, and research opportunities!


Talent Development

Capacity building for students, researchers, early-stage professionals to fill the talent gap in the sector

Filling Innovation Gaps

Targeted challenge statements addressing global whitespaces and bottlenecks

Venture Building

Incubating promising smart proteins ventures solving for gaps across the value chain

ISPIC 2023 Snapshot

  • Track 1: Smart Up
  • Track 2: Start Up

Apply for the Challenge and make the final shortlist


Phase 1: Complete the curated Smart Protein Digital Lab or Startup Toolkit depending on your track


Phase 2: Network with the cohort to form teams and attend expert master- classes to submit your primary proposal for the chosen challenge statement


Phase 3: Access dedicated mentorship, attend the Career Showcase and Industry Mixer, formulate and submit your final proposal


Demo Day with experts from academia and industry forming the judging panel

View Detailed Timeline

Why Participate?

Driven Cohort

Connect and learn from like-minded peers — students, PhDs,researchers, and entrepreneurs to find potential collaborators and co-founders.

Expert Mentorship

Receive guidance and feedback from smart protein industry leaders across business, scitech, and policy on your smart protein research or ventures.

Prize Money

Win cash prizes worth 2 Lakh* per winning team to help you bolster your post-challenge research, education, career or venture building.

Curated Programming

Get certified through a one-of-its-kind smart protein mass open online course, benefit from a curated startup toolkit, and attend interactive expert webinars and 1:1 sessions with mentors.

Exclusive Networking Opportunities

Participate in the Career Fair to meet prospective employers in the Indian smart protein space, take advantage of the Industry Mixer to discuss business with industry stakeholders across the value chain, in addition to pitching to and connecting with VCs, corporates, and academics at the Demo Day.

Post-Challenge Benefits

Receive letters of recommendation from mentors along with follow-on research fellowships and internships with leading academic institutions and smart protein startups. Connect with partners across industry and academia for potential post-challenge incubation and support.

*Prize money is subject to tax deductions as applicable