Delhi, India – Students, researchers, entrepreneurs, non-profit and for-profit organizations and citizens from across India and around the world submitted nearly 250 ideas to improve their environment as part of the Urban Labs Innovation Challenge: Delhi. Each idea presents a unique perspective on some of Delhi’s most difficult environmental challenges. Submissions focused on issues such as air pollution, waste management, clean energy, water, sanitation, transportation, and energy efficiency with the ultimate goal of making India’s capital cleaner and healthier for residents now and into the future.
The distinct backgrounds of the proposals and the different areas of focus provide exciting possibilities as the challenge now proceeds to its next stage: inviting the most promising applicants to submit full proposals for the Rs. 2 crore grant that will allow the winners to put their ideas into action in close collaboration with the Delhi government and University of Chicago.
Ashish Khetan, Vice Chairman of the Delhi Dialogue Commission said, “The enthusiastic participation and creative ideas put forth by applicants show how citizens can work with the government to help solve Delhi’s environment problems. We look forward to working with winners of the Innovation Challenge and the University of Chicago to make Delhi a clean and prosperous city.”
“The scope and diversity of the ideas we have received for the Delhi Challenge is amazing,” said Anna Agarwal, who is leading the Challenge for the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago’s India Office (EPIC-India). “The people of Delhi are clearly invested in making our city a cleaner, healthier place for all. It will be difficult to narrow these proposals down for the next step of our challenge, but the amount of interest and enthusiasm we have seen is encouraging and we are optimistic that one or more of these ideas will make a significant difference in improving Delhi’s environment.”
While most of the applicants are from Delhi, the challenge also attracted proposals from across India and even the world—including from Singapore, China, Europe and the Americas. This widespread interest demonstrates that the call to improve Delhi’s environment is both a global concern and an opportunity to test a solution that could then be scaled up in cities throughout the world.
The Urban Labs Innovation Challenge: Delhi was launched in December of 2015 as a partnership between UChicago Urban Labs, EPIC-India, and the Delhi Dialogue Commission. An expert review committee with diverse experience in the field of energy and environment will now review all of the letters of interest submitted and recommend the most promising applications be invited to submit a more comprehensive proposal by end of April. Those full proposals will be due at the end of June, with an eventual winner—or potentially multiple winners—decided on by the end of the summer.
To learn more about the Urban Labs Innovation Challenge: Delhi and the next steps in the process, visit urbanlabsdelhi.uchicago.in.