IIT Madras students top UK India waste management innovation Challenge

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Students from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras have been reported to have won the first and the third position of the UK Indian Social Innovation Challenge, which aims to “find, fund, and support innovative and sustainable solutions to the global problem of waste management”.

The Highlights of the Challenge are listed below:

  •  The competition was launched by the UK India Social Entrepreneurship Education Network (UKISEEN) and this year it was its second edition.
  • The social innovation competition is conducted through 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.
  • Participants were instructed to submit a business model for a social enterprise which resolves the issues of waste management.
  • Twelve projects made it to the final round this year.
  •  The top three winners were supposed to receive cash prizes of £1,400, £1,000 and £500 for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd places respectively.
  • The models were adjudged on the basis of three disciplines namely understanding of the problem area, the innovativeness of the solution, and the sustainability of the business model.

The Challenge served many purposes which were stated by Prof R Nagarajan, Head, Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Madras, and Faculty Coordinator, CSIE (Centre for Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship), saying “Waste management is a more practical solution than waste elimination, given that every process generates waste as a 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,” he added.

The Winners of the UK India Social Innovation Challenge were:

  • 1st Place: Recycling of demolished waste concrete using solar energy – IIT Madras
  • 2nd Place: Eco-Friendly Construction blocks from C&D Debris using the Innovative CO2 Sequestration Technique – Kongu Engineering College, Erode, Tamil Nadu
  • 3rd Place: Catalytic Degradation of kraft lignin by Ultraviolet Light and Ultrasound – IIT Madras

The Fist Place was won by the model proposed by IIT Madras student which aimed at “Recycling demolished waste concrete using solar energy.”

“I work in the area of concrete technology and my teammate Ram VG 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,” said Rohit Prajapati, Ph.D. Student from Civil Engineering Dept, IIT Madras, who was part of the team winning the first position.

“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,” he added.

“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,” he said

“We are planning to utilize 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,” added Prajapati.

The Third place was again won by the model proposed by IIT Madras student which aimed at “Catalytic Degradation of kraft lignin by Ultraviolet Light and Ultrasound.”

“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,” said Akhil T, a fifth-year student from the IIT Madras Chemical Engineering Department which won the third place.

“We are planning to spend a major portion of this prize money on building our first industrial prototype to be piloted in industry,” he said.

“We would also like congratulate all other winners and extend our heartfelt thanks to people who have made this innovation challenge possible,” added Akhil.



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