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AIM (Atal Innovation Mission), in association with CSIRO, is organizing a two-day hackathon on circular economy, ‘India–Australia Circular Economy Hackathon (I-ACE)’, on 7 and 8 December.

The idea of I-ACE was conceived during a virtual summit on 4 June, between the Indian and Australian prime ministers, exploring innovative ways to boost circular economy in India and Australia.

I-ACE will focus on identification and development of innovative technology solutions by bright-minded students, startups and MSMEs of both nations.

The four key themes for the hackathon are as follows:

  1. Innovation in packaging reducing packaging waste
  2. Innovation in food supply chains avoiding waste
  3. Creating opportunities for plastic waste reduction
  4. Recycling critical energy metals and e-waste

Shortlisted students and startups/MSMEs will be called for the hackathon, where two winners (one student and one startup/MSME) per theme from each country will be announced at an award ceremony on 11 December.

Launching the hackathon, AIM Mission Director and NITI Aayog Additional Secretary R. Ramanan said, ‘We are looking at how we can address the circular economy challenge, which can create possible solutions for not only eliminating waste but also for reusing waste.’

CSIRO Chief of Division of Land and Water Dr Paul Bertsch, said, ‘India and Australia have had a strong and productive bilateral partnership since a decade and our collaborations across a broad range of areas have yielded significant results.’ He also highlighted that by coming together, India and Australia can align research and developmental efforts to achieve more at a challenging time in the history of mankind.

Concurring with Dr Paul Bertsch, Dr Heinz Schandl, at CSIRO Senior Science Leader of Land and Water, said, ‘In the long run a circular economy model will provide more jobs and higher economic growth. It will also reduce cost, drive innovation and have significant environmental benefits.’

Gracing the occasion, NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Dr Rajiv Kumar said, ‘This is a very important initiative to make our economy less resource intensive and ensure our economic growth is ecologically compatible.’

Highlighting the importance of combining Australia’s Research and Development base with India’s scale and record of frugal innovations, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said, ‘The need of the hour is to adopt a disruptive way of doing things, which is based on sustainability and moving towards a circular economy.

The winning Indian student and startup/MSME teams will be awarded a prize of Rs 2 lakh and Rs 5 lakh, respectively, coupled with post-hackathon product development opportunities. The winning Australian student will be awarded a prize of AUD$3500 and the winning Australian SMEs/startup team a prize of AUD$9500.

The last date for application submissions is 6 November 2020. Those interested can apply via http://aimapp2.aim.gov.in/iace/.

AIM Launches India–Australia Circular Economy Hackathon(I-ACE), with Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
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