XPRIZE calls young Indians to participate in innovation competition

Last Updated: Jan 08, 2015, 13:22 PM IST

The US-based non-profit organisation has set up base in India to look for innovators who think-out-of the box and help tackle social, economic and hygiene challenges through technology.

Are you a person with an innovative bent of mind? Do you have technological ideas that can help develop India's infrastructure? Then you may want to consider participating in the new competition in town that looks to foster innovative solutions. Us-based non-profit organisation XPRIZE begins its India operations this year, with the announcement of the $15 million Global Learning XPRIZE, a competition that challenges teams from around the world to develop open source and scalable software that will enable children in developing countries to teach themselves basic reading, writing and arithmetic in just 18 months. "We incentivise innovation in order to motivate young innovators to create masterpieces that will earn them money and also solve society's chronic problems," says Robert K Weiss, vice chairman and president, XPRIZE.

Currently, 250 teams have registered for the competition the deadline to register is March 31. Participating teams will get 18 months to develop their solutions, at which point, a panel of third-party expert judges will then evaluate and select the top five teams to proceed in the competition. Each of the five teams selected will receive $1M and advance to the next phase and their solutions will be tested in the field. Each of the five teams’ solutions will be tested across a minimum of 100 villages in a developing country, reaching at least 3,000 children (ages 5-12), over an 18-month period. The competition will take place in a country where English is a primary language of instruction. "At the end of 18 months, the team whose solution enables the greatest proficiency gains in reading, writing and arithmetic will receive the Grand Prize of $10M. All of the top five finalist solutions, including the winner’s, will be open-sourced to the world," informs Weiss.

Based on the US model, XPRIZE India has plans to eventually call for innovative technological projects that can solve some of the country’s grand challenges in the areas of clean drinking water, development of micronutrients, solid waste management, mobility, mass connectivity and transportation, sanitation and clean air, resulting in the transformation of entire industries and impacting the lives of millions. "We want to tap into the vibrant innovative talent pool that young India has to offer," says Zenia Tata, programme director, Global Development at XPRIZE. She further adds that this is the best time to enter India, as the country is at the threshold of development and at the same time needs innovative solutions to battle a number of problems that plague it.