Tata Steel announces the winners of its flagship open innovationprogramme‘MaterialNEXT’ 5.0

Jamshedpur, May 7, 2024:Team ‘Karotimam Innovations Pvt. Ltd.’, a woman-led start-up nurtured by Virginia Tech. India from IIT Madras Research Parkandincubated atIIITDM Kancheepuram, was declared the winner of the fifth edition of ‘Tata Steel MaterialNEXT’ at the finale held in Jamshedpur on May 3, 2024. The winning team comprisingDr. Sanal K Mohanan and Mr. Dinesh Kumar was mentored by Dr. Chithra Lekha P. The team presented the solution ‘Eco-friendly Flexible Strain Sensor’for which they were awarded a cash prize of Rs 5 lakh. 

Further, Team ‘PGEC Thermoelectrics’ from JNCASR, Bengaluru which showcased‘Phonon-Glass electron-crystal-like thermoelectric materials’ secured the 1st runner-up position. The team members Ms. Vaishali Taneja and Mr. Riddhimoy Pathakwere mentored by Dr. Kanishka Biswas, and received a cash prize ofRs. 2.5 lakh. Team ‘Miner’ from IITMadras which presented‘Sweat-Free PPE Jacket’bagged the 2nd runner-up place and received a cash prize of Rs. 1 lakh.

The grand jury comprised Dr Debashish Bhattacharjee, Vice President, Technology and R&D, Tata Steel, Peeyush Gupta, Vice President – TQM, Group Strategic Procurement and Supply Chain, Tata Steel, Uttam Singh, Vice President, Iron Making, Tata Steel, Prof. Goutam Sutradhar, Director, NIT Jamshedpur, Prof. Suddhasatwa Basu, IIT Delhi, and Prof. Suman Chakraborty, IIT Kharagpur.Prof. Anil Kumar Gupta (Padma Shri awardee, CSIR Bhatnagar Fellow, Founder – Honey Bee Network, National Innovation Foundation, SRISTI.org and GIAN.org) from IIM Ahmedabad delivered a lecture on ‘Harnessing open innovations for sustainable industrial growth: diversity for disruption’.

Dr Debashish Bhattacharjee, Vice President (Technology and R&D),Tata Steel, said: As we applaud our winners and celebrate the success of MaterialNEXT 5.0, it’s essential to highlight the programme’s role in fostering an innovation ecosystem in India. Innovation thrives within environments where ideas converge and opportunities emerge. MaterialNEXT provides a platform for deep-tech startups and innovators to flourish, with Tata Steel supporting technology adoption. This is just the start; sustained efforts are crucial to nurture these ideas. Together, we propel our nation towards technological leadership. Congratulations to all the winners and sincere thanks to all the participants.”

In addition to the cash prizes, the winners and runner-up teams from both tracks get awarded post-event mentorship and grants for the next level of development, if applicable. The remaining five teams in the top 8 were presented with a cash prize of Rs 25,000 each for demonstrating their innovative solutions and ideas.

The fifth edition of MaterialNEXT received 186 innovative ideas from 54 institutions across India. The proposals were invited in four technology theme areas – Energy Materials, Sustainable Materials, Advanced Composites, and Functional Materials, through the ‘Research’ or ‘Start-up’ tracks. The best18 ideas were selected after 2 rounds of evaluation and accelerated for 2 months with mentoring as well as small revenue expense support to develop a proof of concept.Through the pre-finale round, the top-8 team was selected further culminatingintothe Grand Finale on May 3,2024.

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