Covid-19: Global Grad Show to drive social innovation

The open call received 390 submissions from 125 universities, with graduate projects covering the fields of design, science, technology and engineering

By   |  Published: 5th Jun 2020  12:18 amUpdated: 10th Jun 2020  9:19 pm
The innovation and entrepreneurship programme held in partnership with Investment Corporation of Dubai focuses on finding solutions to counter Covid-19.

Hyderabad: Global Grad Show, an initiative by the Art Dubai Group and platform for social impact innovation, introduced an open call beyond its yearly programming. The open call invited graduates, undergraduates and professors from universities across the world, including India, to present their innovative proposals to any of the issues surrounding Covid-19 beyond the medical challenges. The programme received 18 submissions from Indian universities and institutions including Jawaharlal Nehru Technology University and Vignan Institute of Technology and Science from Hyderabad.

Global Grad Show, held in partnership with Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD), is a year-round programme for graduates and universities working on social impact innovation projects. As part of Dubai Design Week, Global Grad Show promotes graduates on an international stage and its entrepreneurship programme helps innovators to accelerate their projects towards market implementation, with the support of ARM Holding’s AED 10 million-fund (about Rs 20 crore).

The open call received 390 submissions from 125 universities, with graduate projects covering the fields of design, science, technology and engineering. Final winners will be announced in the coming weeks.

Collaborative format

Brendan McGetrick, spokesperson, Global Grad Show, told Telangana Today, “Covid-19 not only presents a medical crisis but also several other challenges. We are seeing the pandemic through a wide lens. To find solutions to the current problem, as a part of the Global Grad Show, we have reached out to our network of design, technology and art schools across the world. We have invited proposals for the participants on what opportunities they see to address one or more challenges presented by Covid-19. The pandemic has made countries realise the limits of their medical infrastructure, workforce and equipment. We need to have different ways to augment the capacity building. Global collaborations in information sharing and capabilities have become critical giving rise to the need of having an open source to help each other in production of protective devices and sharing best practices, not only on the medical front but also to streamline food supply chains so that people don’t hoard things and cause scarcity.”

Global Grad Show not only encourages high-end technologies but also those that are analog or non-mechanical to serve different applications. As new technologies take a lot of time to be developed, he says, it is time to explore new use cases of existing technologies and leveraging them as real-time solutions.

One team from China for instance, integrated the existing app WeChat to create a platform called Help Ourselves that connects volunteers with people in need. There are also projects that focus on how to help and engage elderly during this crisis time and those receiving treatment in hospitals.

Global Grad Show is enabling networking of innovators across the world, to develop a solution for a universal problem. The aim is to cross-pollinate their ideas and give the confidence to each innovator that he or she is on the right track.

Core parameters

Global Grad Show finds sustainability, innovation, responsiveness, long-term value as some of the core parameters of any innovative idea. In the current edition, it is also important that the participants present a proof-of-concept and feasibility of implementing a solution globally, an idea that is universal in nature.

The submitted proposals were evaluated by a jury of experts. Around 20 shortlisted candidates entered phase two of detailed analysis and interviews to further shortlist projects to the next phase of acceleration. The winners will get industry connect, mentorship and development support helping them accelerate from proof-of-concept to making final products. One-year tuition will also be covered for students who win the programme.

Geographic spread

He said, “Design and technology is dominated by a handful of nations in the world such as the US, Europe and East Asia. One of the goals of the Grad Show is to provide a platform for schools and institutions from South Asia, Africa and developing economies, which have young, vibrant and talented population.”

 Global Grad Show
Brendan McGetrick, spokesperson, Global Grad Show

In terms of India participation, Brendan McGetrick says, Indian and India-origin students have always presented innovative ideas. The students had been able to come out with solutions that not only solve India’s problems but global problems.

A pharmacy student, Valmiki Sai Kiran, Jawaharlal Nehru Technology University, Hyderabad, who has applied for the programme, said, “The widespread of the pandemic has resulted in a state of panic and misinformation with many people unsure of what they can do to prevent contagion. My project combines all the preventive measures and efforts to help contain the spread of the virus, including current screening methods in place and public health measures.”


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