IIT Madras Students bag two of top three honors in UK India Social Innovation Challenge

“Participating in UKISIC was an enriching experience for us." said Rohit Prajapati, PhD Student from Civil Engineering Dept, IIT Madras.

By Author  |  Published: 11th Feb 2019  4:01 pm
Mr. Ram VG (L) & Mr. Rohit Prajapati (R) from IIT Madras who placed first in UK India Social Innovation Challenge

Hyderabad: Indian Institute of Technology Madras students have bagged the first and third positions in UK India Social Innovation Challenge. The competition aims to find, fund and support innovative and sustainable solutions to the global problem of waste management.

This is the second edition of the competition launched by the UK India Social Entrepreneurship Education Network (UKISEEN), a collaboration between the Social Impact Lab, University of Southampton, Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship, IIT Madras, the open innovation platform ‘Babele,’ and British Council.

The competitors had to submit a business model for a social enterprise which tackles the issues of Waste Management. Twelve projects made it to the final round and following were the top-ranked projects: 1st Place: Recycling of demolished waste concrete using solar energy – IIT Madras Team; 2nd Place: Eco-Friendly Construction blocks from C&D Debris using the Innovative CO2 Sequestration Technique – Kongu Engineering College, Erode, Tamil Nadu; and 3rd Place: Catalytic Degradation of kraft lignin by Ultraviolet Light and Ultrasound – IIT Madras Team, a press release issued by the IIT-Madras said here on Monday.

The Evaluation was done by a jury of faculty and industry practitioner based on the criteria like understanding of the problem area, the innovativeness of the solution, and the sustainability of the business model.

The top three applications have also submitted a short video outlining their solution. These videos will be made available on the UKISEEN website (link: http://ukiseen.org/uk-india-social-innovation-challenge-new) The top three submissions will receive cash prizes of £1,400, £1,000 and £500 for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd places respectively.

Speaking about the importance of this competition, Prof R. Nagarajan, Head, Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Madras, and Faculty Coordinator, CSIE (Centre for Social innovation & Entrepreneurship), said, “Waste management is a more practical solution than waste elimination, given that every process generates waste as by-product. This competition tests not only the innovative abilities of students, but also their business acumen. The latter is an aspect that many technologists tend to ignore until too late.”

Mr. Akhil T. (L) & Mr. Aneesh J. (R) from IIT Madras who placed third in the UK India Social Innovation Challenge

Rohit Prajapati, PhD Student from Civil Engineering Dept, IIT Madras who placed first in the contest, said, “Participating in UKISIC was an enriching experience for us. It has helped our team to think through the entire stages of the project which evolved from technology development to a complete business model. I work in the area of concrete technology and my teammate Ram V.G. works in the supply chain challenges of construction and demolition waste management. Thus, this competition has forged a synergistic partnership between the two of us. We would like to use this opportunity to thank our mentors for their valuable guidance and UKISIC for providing a platform and support, to project our idea to the society and market. We are planning to utilise the funds for research activities including the development of processing technology that is in pursuit and towards the costs that might be incurred for field testing.”

Akhil. T, a Fifth Year student from Chemical Engineering Department from IIT Madras team which won the Third place, said, “It has been a great experience participating in the UKISIC 2018 where we got a chance to come across many impactful Social innovations that can make a difference and work towards a viable business model for our project. We are planning to spend a major portion of this prize money on building our first industrial prototype to be piloted in industry. We would also like congratulate all other winners and extend our heartfelt thanks to people who have made this innovation challenge possible,” the press release added.