As part of Indo-Danish bilateral Green strategic partnership, Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog in partnership with Innovation Center Denmark (ICDK) - a unit under Embassy of Denmark and Denmark Technical University (DTU) concluded the global finals of the Next Generation Water Action (NGWA) Water Innovation Challenge.
The AIM-ICDK Water innovation challenge was placed to identify promising innovators from India, who could represent and form the Indian participation in the global Next Generation Water Action program hosted by International Water Association and Denmark Technical University. The challenge saw innovation submission from 400+ applicants and eventually identified a total of 10 Indian teams including 6 Student teams and 4 startup teams from across the country.
The selected teams formed the Indian participation for the ‘Next Generation Water Action’- an initiative anchored by DTU to engage young talents from leading universities and innovation hub of 5 countries (India, Denmark, Kenya, Ghana and South Korea) to build their skills and apply their technical disciplines, innovation capacity and solutions to challenge and catalyse water solutions towards smart livable cities.
As part of the India challenge, student and startup teams were invited to present their ideas in following challenge areas: Digital water management solutions, Solutions for monitoring and prevention of leakage in city water supply, Waste water management across rural belts and urban settlements, Rainwater harvesting in rural and urban settlements, and Safe and sustained drinking water.
India in addition to sending participation to the challenge was also a challenge partner host. AIM was the challenge-host for India, Ghana water company for Ghana, Ramboll Foundation for Brazil, Grundfos Foundation for Denmark and Daegu Metropolitan for South Korea. The selected teams across the participating nations worked with each of the challenge partners.
India, as a challenge partner, hosted three Indian student teams and one team each from Denmark and South Korea, these teams worked on solving India specific challenges; additionally, one Indian team participated in Ghana, Denmark and Brazil specific challenges.
The global program saw participation of 11 startup teams, 4 from India, 3 from Denmark, 2 from Kenya and 2 from Ghana. The startup teams competed at International level for the Innovation awards at Next Generation Water Action finals. The four startup teams from India include Agromorph, Digital Eco-Innovision, Troncart Solutions and Mecentro. AIM onboarded academic partners - IIT Delhi, IIT Bombay and International Center for Clear Water at IIT Madras and Incubator partners - AIC- Sangam and AIC FISE to guide the teams. Teams working on India problems were provided mentorship support by a carefully curated and illustrious panel of water experts. Additional support was provided by the Next Generation Water Action team in form of virtual knowledge, mentorship and networking sessions.
The teams submitted their final innovation submission on 30th April 2021, after a three-month long development phase from February-April 2021. The student after which teams took part in the global semi-finals on 12th May 2021, hosted by their respective challenge host countries. Of the 6 Indian student teams that presented in the semifinals, 4 were shortlisted to pitch their solution in the finals.
While the startup teams pitched directly in the Global finals, an event hosted by DTU on 18th May 2021.
The final event was held physically in Denmark Technical University with participation virtually from local hubs in 5 participating nations. India hosted its final all virtually and as part of as part of the final event, a panel discussion was hosted by Mission Director, Atal Innovation Mission Dr Chintan Vaishnav.
Speaking during the final event Dr Chintan said, “I commend all of the innovators for working on water related issues, as both technology and business model innovations in this sector require much creativity and grit. I also thank the Innovation Center Denmark for hosting this worthy challenge.”
The panelist presented their perspectives on future of water technology innovations in India. The panel discussion was followed by the global final event, which saw participation of all the participating countries, partners and innovators. Dr Chintan Vaishnav addressed the gathering as keynote speaker and announced the winners of the Indian challenge.
The following India teams were announced winners in the Final event of the Next Generation Water Action:
1. Acceleration award: Vaishali and Kowshalya for their solution Sustainable Management by Affordable Recovery Technologies (SMART).
2. Most promising solution: Mihir Palav and Ektavyam team for their solution - technology enabled multi stakeholder platform for water governance.
3. International World Water Congress 2022 Scholarships: Mihir Palav and Ektavyam team for their solution - technology enabled multi stakeholder platform for water governance.
1. Top 5 startups: Two Indian startups Agromorph led by Akansha Agarwal and Digital Ecoinnovision led by Mansi Jain were selected among top 5 startups.
2. International World Water Congress 2022 Scholarships: Agromorph led by Akansha Agarwal
The partnership between two Innovation bodies - Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog from India and Innovation Centre Denmark - is aligned with the goals of the larger the Green Strategic Partnership between India and Denmark, a Statement of Intent (SoI) was signed between both bodies on 12th April 2021. AIM and ICDK shall continue to work together for the greater good in the area of environment and sustainability.