Researchers, civic leaders, entrepreneurs, organizations and citizens from across India and throughout the world have submitted more than 170 ideas to address pressing environmental and energy challenges as part of the Bengaluru Innovation Challenge. A range of innovative proposals aimed at reducing pollution, decongesting traffic, addressing waste management, conserving water, saving energy, and more. The Challenge was launched by the University of Chicago and the Urban Development Department of the Government of Karnataka earlier this year.

While most of the applications came from people or organizations in Bengaluru, some also came from other areas across India, China and the United States. An expert review committee with diverse experience in the field of energy and environment are currently reviewing all of the applications and will invite the most promising applicants to submit full proposals for the INR 1.5 crores funding support in the coming weeks. The winners will be announced towards the end of the year and will work in close collaboration with the Karnataka Government and the University of Chicago.

Mahendra Jain, Additional Chief Secretary of the Urban Development Department said, “We are enthused at the overwhelming response received on this initiative and Govt of Karnataka are fully committed to implement the chosen proposals as well as other ideas to improve the quality of life for the citizens of Bengaluru.”

“People are thinking deeply about solutions. We are amazed to find out the kind of innovations that are happening in people’s minds and labs,” said Anna Agarwal, who is leading the Challenge for the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago’s India Office (EPIC-India). “Selecting the best will be a very challenging task that the review committee has in hand. What is crucial for us is to assess if the idea can be turned into a policy solution for the Government and if it can be scaled up not just in Bengaluru but in other cites as well.”

The Challenge launched in February 2018 is a project of the Tata Centre for Development (TCD) at UChicago and the Urban Development Department of the Government of Karnataka, in partnership with the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago’s India team (EPIC-India) and UChicago Energy & Environment Lab. The Bengaluru Innovation Challenge builds on an earlier challenge that took place in Delhi in 2015-16 in partnership with the Delhi government.