Vishwakarma Awards 2023 Will Felicitate Students Innovating in Water and Sanitation, Clean Technology, and Smart Mobility
Vishwakarma Awards for Engineering Innovation Returns

Maker Bhavan Foundation, a US-based charitable organisation aiming to modernise STEM education in India, has announced the return of the Vishwakarma Awards for Engineering Innovation in 2023. Founded by the Maker Bhavan Foundation, the Vishwakarma Awards is a nationwide thematic prototyping challenge that aims to incentivise talented student innovators and tinkerers to develop scalable technological solutions that tackle real-world problems and boost India’s economy.

The three tracks of this year’s challenge are water and sanitation, clean technology, and smart mobility. Developing deployable technologies in these emerging areas would lead to considerable benefits for India. According to the World Bank, although India has 18% of the world’s population, it has only 4% of the world’s water resources, which makes it among the most water-stressed countries worldwide. As regards clean technology, a sunrise sector for the Indian economy, efforts to achieve India’s target of producing 450 GW of renewable energy by 2030 could open up investment opportunities to the tune of USD 221 billion, according to Shri Bhagwanth Khuba, Union Minister of State for New and Renewable Energy, and reaching net zero emissions by 2070 could create USD 11 trillion in economic value in India, according to Deloitte. Likewise, in the smart mobility space, there is a wealth of opportunities to rethink India’s transport and mobility infrastructure to make it more sustainable and efficient. In March 2023, Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia revealed that India’s drone market will reach Rs 3 lakh crore in value by 2030 and employ 3–4 lakh people. Thus, the Vishwakarma Awards presents an opportunity for solving real-world problems while increasing students’ employability skills and sparking new enterprises.

Commenting on the initiative, Ravi Mariwala, Advisor, Board of Members, Maker Bhavan Foundation, and Founder, Promoter, and CEO, of Smaart Water, said, “The second Vishwakarma Award for engineering marks a seminal milestone for innovations in engineering from the participants of tomorrow’s world. The world molded by population growth, urbanization, digitization and climate change has created its own sets of issues. Maker Bhavan Foundation recognizes these and believes that the thinking which created the issues can not solve the issues. We need fresh thinking. Vishwakarma Awards is an initiative to recognize the fresh thinking and innovation by the stakeholders of tomorrow’s world – the young generation of engineers to participate in this exciting journey through interdisciplinary and hands on experience. I look forward to seeing the rich depth and breadth of ideas and innovations to address the pressing problems of the world in practice.”

The Vishwakarma Awards was launched in 2022 by Maker Bhavan Foundation, a California-based public charity that works with science and engineering colleges in India to promote a culture of making and active learning in STEM education in India and, thereby, improve student learning outcomes. Maker Bhavan Foundation has partnered with Wheels India Niswarth (WIN) Foundation, Addverb Technologies, and the Indian Institute of Technology – Delhi (IIT-Delhi) for this year’s awards. IIT-Delhi will also be the host for the Vishwakarma Awards 2023.

Paresh Vora, Director of WIN India Programs, commented, “the second year of Vishwakarma Awards brings new opportunity for young student innovators to bring even more innovative ideas to solve India's water and allied challenges, and create new business and livelihood opportunities. This is in line with WIN Foundation's mission to promote innovations in Water and Sanitation and bring it to the grass roots for benefit of rural, tribal and urban slum communities. We are glad to partner with Maker Bhavan Foundation for these awards.”

Sangeet Kumar, Global CEO of Addverb Technologies, said, “We are pleased to partner with Maker Bhavan Foundation for the Vishwakarma Awards. There are exciting opportunities in the Smart Mobility space and India’s young minds can contribute meaningfully and significantly in developing futuristic solutions in this domain. Vishwakarma Awards is an excellent platform for these young minds to blossom.”

The grand jury and mentors are drawn from industry veterans, entrepreneurial leaders, angel investors, academics, and NGOs who represent the end users. Among this year’s grand jury is Meher Pudumjee, Chairperson of Thermax, who remarked, “It is an honour and privilege for me to be on the jury panel. Am very happy to see that this award is for STEM student innovators that develop scalable technological solutions tackling real world problems in the challenging areas of water & sanitation, clean technology and smart mobility. India and the world needs many such solutions for a sustainable future.”

Applications are now open for the Vishwakarma Awards 2023. Undergraduate and postgraduate students from science and engineering colleges across India will be invited to form interdisciplinary teams (of up to 4 members) and collaborate to develop an innovative, commercially viable product with a fully functioning prototype. Shortlisted teams gain financial support to build their prototype, mentorship from domain experts, and a platform to showcase their solutions.

The teams selected for having the “best product design” and “most innovative solution” in each of the three tracks will be awarded INR 1 lakh. Selected awardees who wish to further develop their prototype into a marketable product may get selected for the MBF Innovation Fellowship with maximum support up to an additional 2 lakh, released based on milestones defined mutually.

About Maker Bhavan Foundation

Maker Bhavan Foundation was formed in 2019 as a US 501(c) 3 public charity with a vision to modernise STEM higher education in India so that its students could inculcate a culture of making, active learning, real-world problem-solving, and life-long learning. The foundation works with higher education science and engineering institutions, their faculty, and their students to make STEM education more relevant and responsive to the real-life needs of people and society. It has partnered with institutes such as IIT (Bombay, Gandhinagar, Hyderabad, Jammu, and Madras); BITS Pilani, Pilani and Goa Campuses; Institute of Chemical Technology Mumbai; Nirma University, Ahmedabad; Pravara Rural Engineering College, Loni; and Sai University, Chennai.

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