Editorial Team

IIT Palakkad’s Technology IHub Foundation (IPTIF) is launching a National Grand Challenge to boost innovations, research and development in the energy sector Called the ‘Oorja Grand Challenge’, it is a pre-incubation activity to pave way for innovation in the National and Global Energy Sector.

The Prize Money could be up to Rs. 1.5 lakh for designing after shortlisting, up to Rs. 10 lakh for prototyping after design review and up to Rs. 25 lakh for incubation after prototype review.

Oorja Grand Challenge aims to enable innovators to design and develop intelligent collaborative systems in the energy domain. Students, Researchers and Entrepreneurs can form teams with the ability to lead fundamental research, product development, industry development, and job creation for Indian and global energy sectors.

The applications would be accepted from 10th January 2022. The last date to Apply is 1st March, 2022. Those interested can apply through the following link: https://tinyurl.com/Oorja-Challenge-registration

Established by IIT Palakkad to enable a vibrant innovation ecosystem and provide a reliable platform for technology-based start-ups and entrepreneurs, IPTIF is a Section-8 company supported with a Rs. 100 Crore-support from Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India. IPTIF focuses on attracting available nationwide potential and harnessing the expertise, thus fostering class research innovation, technology and product development.

Highlighting the expected outcomes from ‘IPTIF – Grand Challenges and Competitions,’ Dr. Albert Sunny, Director, IPTIF, and Project Director, Technology Innovation Hub on Intellisgent Collaborative Systems (TIH ICS), said, “The aim of this national-wide contest is to scout for technology solutions in the energy domain. These solutions should be safe to use, economical at large scale, with high efficiency. The expected technology solutions include but are not limited to those for energy storage, generation, conversion, and transportation / distribution.”

Further, Mr. Harilal Bhaskar, General Manager of IPTIF, said, “We are also looking at energy generation technologies that are greener (like solar thermal, and wind, among others), with high power/energy density (similar to Nuclear reactors), and are safe to use (Ex: better nuclear storage/usage, better hydroelectric planning to avoid flooding risks).”

IPTIF is conducting a two month-long Oorja Webinar Series from 11th January to 24th February 2022 on all Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays of every week. Everyone will have the opportunity to participate in the webinars and breakout sessions with the topmost leaders in the energy industry.

The main goals of Oorja Grand Challenge include:

Ø Discover and nurture new, innovative, viable, and sustainable technology solutions for significant Energy challenges that are faced by India

Ø Encourage ideas from latent sources and convert them into start-ups

Ø Generate better awareness about entrepreneurship amongst India’s masses and lend a helping hand to aspiring and existing entrepreneurs through active media outreach.

Ø Expand the pipeline of potential incubatees

Ø Provide structured mentoring, guidance, prototyping grants, and seed-funding for innovative ideas applying for such programs.

Establishing a network between academia, financial institutions, industries, and other institutions and thereby, building a vibrant start-up ecosystem is also a key objective of this effort.

Other expected solutions from Oorja Grand Challenge include Energy conversion technologies that are greener like those that eliminate the usage of rare earth magnets in motors and Energy transportation/distribution technologies that are more green (Same as microgrids and local renewables, distributed power plants) and have easy accessibility (Ex: hydrogen can be filled as easily as petrol, battery swapping may take similar time as petrol filling).

Those entering the contest must form a team with at least one subject-matter expertise industry / academic mentor. The applicants can be graduates from any Indian university and have at least five members or more in a team with a track record of invention/tinkering solutions, among others, or volunteering with organizations to address/solve problems with societal/environmental impact.

Priority would be given to applicants who are entrepreneurs with a business plan that can result in Technology/manufacturing jobs and Innovators who have:

Recent graduates and innovators who have:

Energy focused business ideas with bigger technology uncertainties and/or long gestation periods.
Energy focused business ideas leveraging technology or IP from publicly funded research or academic organizations.
Technology business ideas with considerable potential for social impact.
Evaluation Criteria: Applications will be evaluated based on:

I.Technology innovation

II.Business model innovation

III.Market addressed

IV.Customer feedback

V.Scalability & potential

VI.Competitor evaluation & pricing

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