AIM NITI Aayog, & Embassy of Denmark launches 2nd edition of water innovation challenges to address global water woes

New Delhi : Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog and the Royal Embassy of Denmark to India announced the second edition of water innovation challenges here on Monday to address the global water woes through innovations as part of the Indo-Danish Bilateral Green Strategic partnership.

Doubling down on the efforts to scale up innovations in the water sector, the AIM-ICDK water challenge is being rolled out under the year-old ambitious partnership of AIM, NITI Aayog and Innovation Center Denmark (ICDK) under the aegis of Denmark Embassy in India, and the Denmark Technical University (DTU).

The initiative aims to identify innovative & next-gen solutions to solve proposed challenges in collaboration with corporate and public partners. The initiative will engage young talents from leading universities and innovation hubs across the nation to build their skills and apply their technical disciplines and innovation capacity.

The winners of the challenges will also represent India at the International Water Congress 2022. The Denmark Embassy in India, and the DTU will be preparing the Indian participants for the Global Next Generation Water Action (NGWA) program to be hosted by DTU.

The applications are live now and participants can apply through the linkhttps://aimapp2.aim.gov.in/icdk2021/login.php also given on the AIM, NITI Aayog’s official website. The participants will receive awards in different categories and will be able to network with innovators across the globe.

Addressing the virtual event, Vice chairman NITI Aayog Dr. Rajiv Kumar said thatthis collaboration will provide solutions to improve sustainable water supply in India and at the global level.

“This will aid in catalysing global cross-sectorial learning environments, innovation & impact on SDGs. We need innovation to augment supply, conserve water &rationalise our water consumption as regional disparity of water availability is one of the biggest problems in our country,” He asserted.

Ambassador of the Royal Danish Embassy to India H.E Freddy Svane while speaking on the occasions said “On the ground, the climate crisis is first and foremost a water crisis, especially in rural communities. I hope to see concrete and scalable water tech solutions coming from our 2022 AIM-ICDK Water Challenge.”

Mission Director Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog Dr. Chintan Vaishnav while launching the challenge said “The collaboration between AIM & ICDK is in line with our efforts to bring together stakeholders with an aligned vision of addressing & mitigating the water-related issues faced by our country & the world.”

He further said the India-Denmark partnership holds great potential for impactful innovations across other sectors as well most importantly health sector.

Deputy Director General at Danish Agency for Science and Higher EducationDr. Stine Jørgensen, while sharing her views said “An important driving force in the green transition – and the Green Strategic Partnership – is technology, especially entrepreneurship driven technology. The water challenge will foster this, but also bring it to on the ground implementation. I am thrilled to see the initiative go forward this year.”

Mr. Carsten Orth Gaarn-Larsen, Senior Vice President, Denmark Technical University also spoke during the virtual launch and expressed great interest in building even stronger relations with India, both within research and entrepreneurship, supporting the Green Strategic Partnership between the two countries.

He said “Next Generation Water Action is a university-powered initiative to boost international cross-sectorial innovation to inspire, empower and connect a next generation of young talents from around the world. I am thrilled to see that the Indian government and our Innovation Center Denmark in India have decided to partner with us in this project. I look forward to welcoming the Indian students and entrepreneurs to Copenhagen September next year as part of the IWA World Water Congress, and I hope this will be the first of many similar joint projects for us.”

Member NITI Aayog Ramesh Chand stressed upon the water crises, he said the water sector comes at the top in terms of need for innovations.

“I can see several reasons for putting water sector at the top for developing innovations, the foremost reason that comes to my mind is that many developing counties including India having water crisis, both in terms of availability and quality of water,” he said.

The challenges were launched in the presence of dignitaries including VC NITI Aayog Dr Rajiv Kumar, Ambassador at the Royal Danish Embassy H. E. Freddy Svane, Mission Director AIM, NITI Aayog Dr. Chintan Vaishnav, Member NITI Aayog Prof. Ramesh Chand, Program Director AIM Ishita Agarwal, Advisor water Vertical, NITI Aayog, Mr. Avinash Mishra, Programme Manager, international cooperation, Danish environmental protection agencyMr. Tobias Kvorning, Dr Stine Joergensen, Deputy Director General at Danish Agency, Carsten Orth Gaarn-Larsen, Senior Vice President, Denmark Technical University.

Last year, ten innovation teams identified in the challenge were provided support to develop their products through partners on boarded specifically for the purpose. The Indian teams along with their peers from 5 countries also participated in the global finals held in May this year and out of the 10 teams selected, 5 teams won six awards at the global finals.