With the goal to enable talented innovative students and start-ups from Australia and India to address common national issues through innovative technology solutions, AIM and Australia’s national science agency (CSIRO) kick started the India-Australia Circular Economy (I-ACE) Hackathon, 2021.
The concept of I-ACE joint Hackathon originated in the virtual bilateral summit between the Hon. Prime Minister of India and the Hon. Prime Minister of Australia, held on June 4th, 2020 where they committed to joint circular economy innovation initiatives between the two countries.
More than 1000 applications received from both countries went through a rigorous screening process, after which Top 80 applications are selected for an unique bi-lateral Hackathon, wherein students and startups of both the nations will work together on Innovative ways of boosting Circular Economy in priority themes viz. Innovation in packaging reducing packaging waste, Innovation in food supply chains avoiding waste, Creating opportunities for plastics waste reduction, and Recycling critical energy metals and e-waste.
I-ACE is supported by the Australian Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER), AIM Atal Incubation Centre network, and various domain experts.
Between 8th to 11th February 2021, the shortlisted teams were scheduled to be working on creating ingenious solutions which are Relevant, Innovative, Deployable, Impactful, and can be Commercialized in the global market.
Attending the opening ceremony, CSIRO’s Director, Business Development & Global, Nick Pagett shared “The theme of this hackathon, circular economy, is incredibly important for Australia, as it is for India. As Australia’s national science agency, we are focused on solving the greatest challenges through innovative science and technology. This includes ensuring we have a resilient and valuable environment, are moving towards clean energy and resources, and supporting the growth of future industries around these goals”
He further added, “A 'circular economy' model, which employs not only waste management, but reuse, recycling and responsible manufacture can support the development of new industries and jobs, reducing emissions and increasing efficient use of natural resources.”
During the keynote in virtual inauguration of the hackathon, Mission Director Atal Innovation Mission and Additional Secretary R Ramanan said “Diversity of creative and innovative ideas and their cross-border applications are the need of the hour. Circularity of products, by products and end products post usage particularly in the Food, Dairy products and e-waste sectors will need to be explored.”
He further added that Indian ecosystem will need to evolve towards sustainable consumption and production processes, incorporating elements from reuse, reduce and recycle model approach.
“With one of the largest consumer bases, India will need to equip itself with newer technologies to treat and manage waste,” he stated.
The final presentations were scheduled on February 11th, 2021 and evaluated by a panel of experts from both the countries as Jury. The total prize pool for the I-ACE Hackathon is around fifty-six lakh rupees altogether. The winners will be felicitated in presence of key Government dignitaries from both the countries.
AIM and CSIRO are committed towards enabling the youth of their countries to further strengthen the circular economy in both India and Australia.