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Air Quality Open Call: Innovating for Clean Air in India

Cities worldwide are struggling with both air pollution and the proliferation of Electric Vehicles (EVs) and the wide-ranging infrastructure challenges they present.

Connected Places Catapult, Energy Systems Catapult and Satellite Applications Catapult are running a joint programme to support UK and Indian innovators in Bengaluru city to promote best practice innovation and technology exchange.

The Innovating for Clean Air (IfCA) Programme aims to improve the local business ecosystem and create a sustainable platform for ongoing UK-India government and industry cooperation.

The IfCA programme comprises of two workstreams:

  • The Air Quality (AQ) Innovation stream (details below) seeks to identify promising innovations with the potential to improve air quality and tackle pollution at source
  • The Electric Vehicle (EV) Innovation stream seeks to support the uptake and integration of EVs in Bengaluru and India as a whole. Follow this link if you are interested in this challenge.

The open call

Connected Places Catapult (CPC) invites UK and Indian companies with innovative air quality solutions to apply for the exciting opportunity to demonstrate these in an urban testbed in Bengaluru, India for up to 9 months between March and December 2020. Those selected will have the opportunity to connect with local partners, to demonstrate a measurable impact in a real-life environment, and to refine their approach – all of which will act as a potential springboard for the scaling and commercialisation of UK and Indian clean air innovations.

We are looking to hear from companies:

  • Headquartered in the UK or India
  • Have a strong interest in forming collaborative relationships across the Indian and UK market
  • Propose clean air innovation corresponding to Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 5 or higher, i.e. a prototype that has been tested but not fully commercialised
  • Can demonstrate how their solution addresses at least one of the urban air quality challenges outlined in the section below.

Clean air challenges

Through a series of engagements and exploration workshops with Indian partners, we have identified key air quality challenge areas for the city of Bengaluru, scroll down to find out more:

Challenge 1: Active mobility

How can we encourage a shift away from private vehicles?

Over the last 30 years, vehicle registration in the city of Bengaluru has increased at an annual rate of 10.6%, with 90% of new registrations being personal vehicles. In the meantime, the share of people using non-motorised transport continues to fall. Could your solution help promote healthy, sustainable, inclusive and accessible commuting patterns? Could it encourage active transportation, especially walking and cycling?

Challenge 2: Smart waste management

How can we limit emissions from urban waste generation and management?

Rapid economic growth and urbanisation have resulted in increased generation of waste. Approximately 5,000 tons of waste is generated in Bengaluru, with a recycling rate of 10%. Could you help promote circular waste practices such as recycling, segregation or composting? Could your innovation improve waste logistics or support identification of waste hotspots?

Challenge 3: Clean residential energy

How can we reduce pollution from heating and cooking?

Smoke from burning solid fuels for cooking and heating increases exposure to poor indoor air quality and often hurts the most vulnerable urban dwellers. Could innovation accelerate the transition to clean stoves and fuels? Could your solution ensure low-emission home cooking and heating practices in a way that is affordable, reliable, and safe?

Challenge 4: Accessible data and monitoring

How can we improve personal air quality exposure understanding?

The availability of hyperlocal pollution data and accessible information is key to improving social acceptance of and support for urban air quality management measures. We are looking for products or services that measure, assess, display or forecast indoor and outdoor air pollution in creative ways. Does your proposal address open data, visualisation and other accessibility issues to emphasise the scale of the problem and conceptualise different types of pollutants?

Challenge 5: Citizen engagement and behavioural change

How can we leverage innovation to raise public awareness on the importance of clean air and encourage sustainable habits?

Due to the invisible nature of air pollution, communities and citizens can often be unaware of the adverse effects poor air quality has on their everyday health and wellbeing. Could we use innovation and creative tools, such as gamification for example, to drive behaviour change and provide individuals or groups with toolkits to tackle sustainability issues?

What’s in it for you?

Testbed access and support:

A testbed is an environment where city stakeholders can identify promising solutions and their providers. For innovators, the testbed forms a safe space to test interventions in real-life conditions, understand their impact, and interact with stakeholders in order to further develop their products and services.

Through the IfCA programme, the Catapults are working with partners in the city of Bengaluru to:

  • Provide a location to pilot and test a product, service or intervention that helps contribute to solving the air quality challenges
  • Provide the necessary infrastructure to create a baseline, against which the impact or success can be assessed
  • Allow those implementing interventions to engage with citizens and relevant stakeholders
  • Reduce the risk of up-front investments in innovations, and enable further development of future iterations.

Companies will be selected by an expert panel to deploy their air quality solutions in this testbed and develop practical collaboration activities in Bengaluru for a trial period running from March to December 2020.

Using the urban testbed will be “rent-free” for the selected companies. There will be some support available for UK companies for shipping/transport etc.

Knowledge sharing & B2B matchmaking:

The Catapults collaborate with a number of industry partners in India and the UK and will connect successful candidates to our network in order to:

  • Facilitate access to Indian / UK businesses who may wish to explore commercial opportunities (for example as a supplier, distributor, or franchisee)
  • Identify partners who can support firms wishing to enter the Indian market (“soft landing” services)

Partners include:

UK companies shortlisted for the pitching stage will also be invited to a “Doing Business in India” masterclass delivered by Connected Places Catapult and the UK-India Business Council in February 2020. This will provide finalists access to a wide range of influencers and market players and an additional opportunity to showcase solutions to potential adopters, exchange market insights, and make new connections.

Exposure and promotion through an Innovating for Clean Air Pitchbook:

Qualifying candidates that fall within the scope of the outlined challenges will be included in an Innovating for Clean Air Pitchbook – a portfolio of companies to be disseminated to industry partners and decision-makers in India designed to stimulate future collaborations and business development opportunities.

Approved candidates will be invited to input to the pitchbook with content and visuals following a pre-designed format.

To Apply

UK applicants:

Applications are invited through the F6S portal from November 18th 2019 https://www.f6s.com/innovatingforcleanair-uk/apply

The deadline for clarification questions is midnight, December 16th 2019. Questions and responses will be made available to all applicants.

The closing date for the receipt of applications is midnight, January 5th 2020.

Connected Places Catapult will hold an open briefing event on December 4th 2019 in London for those interested in finding out more about the Open Call and meeting potential collaborators.

Applications will be shortlisted and finalists invited to a presentation stage of the competition during the w/c January 20th 2020 where they will give a 10-minute presentation and answer any questions the evaluating panel may have.

All applicants should (barring any unforeseen complications) be informed of the outcome by w/c 27th of January 2020. The testbed period will run from March to December 2020 and winners will be required to deploy their solution for a pre-agreed period within this timeframe.

Indian applicants:

Applications are invited through the F6S portal from November 18th 2019 https://www.f6s.com/innovatingforcleanair-in/apply

The deadline for clarification questions is midnight, December 16th 2019. Questions and responses will be made available to all applicants.

The closing date for the receipt of applications is midnight, January 5th 2020.

Applications will be shortlisted and finalists invited for a presentation or face to face meeting in January 2020.

All applicants should (barring any unforseen complications) be informed of the outcome by w/c 27th of January 2020. The testbed period will run from March to December 2020 and winners will be required to deploy their solution for a pre-agreed period within this timeframe.

Timeline

The Catapult reserve the right to amend the UK and Indian timeline at their discretion. All announcements regarding results of evaluations will be sent at the appropriate time.

If you have any questions, please email cleanair@cp.catapult.org.uk.