Tata Steel announces winners of its open innovation programme MaterialNEXT 4.0

~ Winning team presented the solution – ‘Integrated technologies for the sustainable and economical production of Methanol from CO2‘ ~

~ 1st Runner-up team showcased the solution – ‘Development of high-performance rechargeable Zinc-air batteries’ ~

~ Two Joint 2nd Runners-up teams demonstrated the solutions – ‘Hybrid Composites for Hydrogen storage tank’ and ‘Sustainable durable geopolymer coating through homogenous dispersion of Graphene’ ~

~ 158 (number of) active ideas were registered in the fourth edition of MaterialNEXT programme ~

Jamshedpur, May 12, 2023: Team ‘Breath Applied Science Pvt. Ltd.’ of Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) emerged as the winner of the fourth edition of ‘Tata Steel MaterialNEXT’ at the finale held in Jamshedpur on May 11, 2023. The team comprising Rakshith Raghavan Belur, Shan K R and Haritha R Nath was mentored by Prof. Sebastian Peter. The team presented the solution ‘Integrated technologies for the sustainable and economical production of Methanol from CO2’ for which it was awarded a cash prize of Rs 5 lakh. 

Further, team ‘High Energy Zone’ of the TIFR Hyderabad which showcased the solution ‘Development of high-performance rechargeable Zinc-air batteries’, secured the 1st runner-up position. The members, Pallavi Thakur and Subhra Patttanayak, were mentored by Prof. T. N. Narayanan and received a cash prize of Rs 2.5 lakh. 

Team ‘Interface Icon’ of NIT Rourkela and Team ‘Graphecon Materials’ of IIT Guwahati, demonstrated the solutions – ‘Hybrid Composites for Hydrogen storage tank’ and ‘Sustainable durable geopolymer coating through homogenous dispersion of Graphene’ respectively and jointly bagged the 2nd runners-up position. Team Interface Icon, which included Satyaroop Patnaik, BNVS Ganesh Gupta K and Rajesh Prusty, was mentored by Prof. Bankim Chandra Ray and Team Graphecon Materials, which included R S Krishna and Neha Sethy, was mentored by Prof. Biranchi Panda. The two teams received a cash prize of Rs 1.0 lakh each.

Congratulating the winners, Peeyush Gupta, Vice President, Group Strategic Procurement & Supply Chain, Tata Steel, said: “We are thrilled with the response that MaterialNEXT 4.0 received from the young innovators of the country. The solutions showcased today were outstanding, and we are confident that they have the potential to make a significant impact in the industry. At Tata Steel, we are committed to fostering a culture of open innovation and collaboration, and MaterialNEXT is an excellent platform to promote this spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship. We are proud to be part of this initiative and to provide mentorship, funding, and guidance to these aspiring innovators.”

The remaining four teams in the top eight won a cash prize of Rs 25,000 each for demonstrating their innovative solutions and ideas. This edition of MaterialNEXT received registrations from more than 40 institutions across India, with 158 final active ideas. The proposals were invited in various sub-areas through the ‘Research’ or ‘Start-up’ tracks.

While ‘Research’ track was open to aspiring registered PG and PhD students and research scholars from academia/research centres across India, ‘Start-up’ track allowed incubated startups in seed or Series A funding level to participate. MaterialNEXT 4.0 had a total of four themes under both tracks – Applied Nanomaterials, Novel Composites, Emerging Construction Materials, and Energy Materials. Across both tracks, teams competed for cash prizes, mentorship, and grants for the next level of project development.

The grand finale jury comprised Prof. B L V Prasad (Director, CeNS-Bangalore), Prof. A M Kuthe (Professor, VNIT-Nagpur), Dr. Ramanuj Narayan (Director, IMMT-Bhubaneswar), Peeyush Gupta (VP, Group Strategic Procurement & Supply Chain, Tata Steel), Vinay Vasant Mahashabde (Chief, Research & Development and Product Technology) while other delegates in attendance included Chiefs, Heads, Principal Scientists and Researchers of Technology and New Materials Business division. 

Tata Steel has been actively pursuing research in advanced materials for over a decade, with a focus on nanotechnology and graphene. In 2016, the Company launched the Graphene Initiative and opened the Graphene Centre in Jamshedpur. By 2018, Tata Steel in India established the New Materials Business division, specialising in composites and ceramics, to become a technology leader in the steel and materials business. Two Tata Steel Advanced Materials Research Centres were also established in FY17, in Chennai and Bengaluru, in collaboration with IITM and CeNS, respectively. These centres aim to work closely with academia and other centres to advance materials research and its applications.

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