Syngenta Wins 2015 INFORMS Edelman Prize, Leading Award in Analytics, O.R.


Ashley Smith
Public Affairs Coordinator


HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA, April 14, 2015 - Syngenta, which used analytics and operations research to improve food supplies to an increasingly crowded planet, has won the 2015 Franz Edelman Award for Achievement in Operations Research and the Management Sciences. The award is sponsored by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS®), the leading association for analytics professionals.

The competition took place last night at the 2015 INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics & Operations Research, which was held at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa.


"Winning the Franz Edelman Award demonstrates the scientific excellence and leadership science is bringing to the farmer in the field,” said Joe Byrum, Syngenta Global Head Soybean R&D. “It's a level of leadership that has hasn't been demonstrated in agriculture until now. We're honored to win the Franz Edelman Award and thank the judges, our coaches - Arnie Greenland of the University of Maryland and John Birge of the University of Chicago - and to all on the INFORMS staff who helped make the event possible. It further demonstrates the impact our Good Growth Plan is having on the world, and we're proud to share that message with the masses." 

The Franz Edelman competition attests to the contributions of analytics and operations research (O.R.) in the profit and non-profit sectors. Since its inception in 1972, cumulative dollar benefits from Edelman finalist projects have reached nearly $225 billion.

With current breeding methodologies, the rate of increase in crop production is not sufficient to meet today’s food needs. Syngenta changed that by applying O.R. methods to make better breeding decisions, reducing the time and cost required to develop crops with high productivity. This data-based transformation helps Syngenta achieve its commitment to meeting the world’s growing food needs in an economically and environmentally sustainable way.

Each of four O.R. tools used by the prize winner supports one or more key “pipeline” phases: variety design, variety development, and variety evaluation.

Syngenta’s trait introgression (TI) tool and the breeding project lead (BPL) tool make processes within the pipeline more efficient. Syngenta is using the TI tool to transfer favorable traits from one soybean variety to another. It uses the BPL tool to develop varieties with higher productivity. With each tool, the project lead compares alternative TI and breeding strategies until a strategy is identified with a high probability of success, as well as minimal cost and time.

Yield trial design (YTD) optimizer and data quality cart (DQC) tools are supporting decisions that impact the quality of variety selection and advancement toward commercialization.

The new analytical tools dramatically improve project lead training, decision-making, and planning, resulting in cost avoidance for soybean R&D of more than $287 million from 2012-2016 and substantially improving the probability of successfully delivering a portfolio value exceeding $1.5 billion. Syngenta recognizes the positive impact these tools have on soybean R&D and is initiating a multi-year effort to customize and launch similar tools across all major crops.

This year’s Franz Edelman Award competition finalists were:

  1. IBM for “Predictive Cloud Computing with Big Data: Professional Golf and Tennis Forecasting”
  2. Ingram Micro for “End-to-End Business Analytics and Optimization in Ingram Micro’s Two-Tier Distribution Business”
  3. LMI/Defense Logistics Agency for “Peak and Next Gen: Effective Inventory Control for Items with Infrequent or Frequent, Highly Variable Demand”
  4. Saudi Arabia Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs for “A Decision Support System for Hajj Crowd Management”
  5. Syngenta for “Good Growth through Advanced Analytics”
  6. U.S. Army and Sandia National Laboratories for “Maximizing the Army’s Future Contribution to Global Security Using the Capability Portfolio Analysis Tool (CPAT)”

Additional information about the INFORMS Franz Edelman Award and Competition can be found online here.


INFORMS is the leading international association for professionals in analytics and operations research (O.R.). INFORMS advances research, and develops and promotes best practices in analytics and O.R. through collaboration, knowledge sharing, and professional development. INFORMS helps business, government, and other organization professionals make better decisions to drive value to their organizations and society. Our certification program (CAP®), highly cited publications, educational meetings and conferences, continuing education, industry and process focused networking communities, competitions, and recognition provide professionals with the knowledge and connections they need to achieve ever greater value for their organizations. Further information about INFORMS, analytics, and operations research is at or @informs.