Innovation Challenge Design Bengaluru

The Challenge is a project of the Tata Centre for Development at UChicago and the Urban Development Department of the Government of Karnataka

Local Innovation For A Better Environment

The Tata Centre for Development at the University of Chicago is joining with the Urban Development Department of the Government of Karnataka to launch Bengaluru Innovation Challenge. The Challenge will tap grassroots creativity and expertise to identify innovative ideas for addressing the most pressing environmental and energy challenges in Bengaluru.

The winners will receive funding support (up to Rs. 1.5 crores over two years) to test and evaluate their ideas in the field, with guidance and input from the Government of Karnataka and leading faculty at the University of Chicago. If successful, the ideas could become policy solutions the government could implement at a large scale, and may provide an important model for other cities to follow.

The Tata Centre for Development is generously supported by Tata Trusts. 

Current Stage: Announcing Winners - November 2018

  • 1

    Challenge Announcement - February 7
  • 2

    Submission Deadline - April 20
  • 3

    Finalists Announcement - June 4
  • 4

    Announcing Winners - November 2018

Application Process

Organizations, agencies, students, researchers, and practitioners across India with promising programs or interventions aimed at solving Bengaluru’s urgent energy and environmental problems are encouraged to apply.

Ideas are solicited in the broad area of energy and environment, with special attention to these focus areas:

  1. Reduce air pollution;
  2. Enhance traffic management;
  3. Improve waste management;
  4. Encourage water conservation;
  5. Provide drinking water and sanitation solutions;
  6. Incentivize energy efficiency; and/or
  7. Facilitate decentralized energy solutions.

The applicants must demonstrate that they have the capacity to implement the proposed intervention and be willing to work with the University of Chicago to rigorously evaluate it. It is strongly suggested that the applicant is: an organization based in India; has been in existence for at least two years, and if invited to submit a full proposal, is able to produce audited financial reports for the last two years.

Although letters of interest are invited from across India, this Innovation Challenge seeks promising ideas that can be implemented in the city of Bengaluru.

Please check the following document ( to learn more about the application process and details requested as part of Letter of Interest (LoI). 

Those interested in applying should send LoI to by April 20th, 2018.

LoI (max. of three pages) should include:

  1. A description of the proposed intervention;
  2. An explanation of how the intervention will address the problem and have transformational impact;
  3. A detailed plan for implementation;
  4. A methodology to evaluate the impact of the proposal;
  5. An estimated project timeline;
  6. An estimate of the overall annual project cost to conduct the intervention;
  7. Partners and assistance needed from the Karnataka Government (if applicable); and
  8. A list of agencies and organizations that would partner in the intervention (if applicable

Have questions? In addition to an information session and webinar, we'll be holding office hours throughout the month of March. Request an appointment below. 

Applicants will be notified via email on June 4th, 2018, about whether they have been selected to submit a full proposal.

Feb 7 

Innovation Challenge launch

April 20

Letters of Interest (LOIs) due

June 4

Finalists announced

August 6

Final proposals due from finalists

Late September

Announcement of winners

End of 2018

Program implementation begins

  • Can I submit multiple applications?

Yes, one organization can submit multiple applications, the teams may or may not be same across all applications.

  • Can I/we partner with other organizations?  

Yes, the application can be submitted in partnership with other organizations

  • Can an individual researcher/professional submit an application?

Yes. But, you need to demonstrate the ability to implement the project. You could partner with an organization that can help you implement

  • We are based in Delhi, can I apply?

Yes, applications are invited from across India. But, the intervention/program needs to address an issue relevant to Bengaluru, and if selected, the intervention will be implemented in Bengaluru

  • Will INR 1.5 crores be given to one project?

INR 1.5 crores is the total award amount which will be allocated towards one or more winning projects. The total awarded amount depends on project costs

  • Does the idea have to be innovative technology?

Ideas should address energy and environment issues in Bengaluru. They may or may not be technology focussed

  • If my idea involves a technology, do I need a working prototype to apply?

Yes, the proposals will be evaluated on basis of how readily scalable they are. The projects that are still in the proof of concept or R&D phase are likely to not be selected. We prefer that entities have working prototypes and ideally a few working demonstrations. To emphasize again, the idea does not need to involve a technology

You can know more by glancing through this presentation.



The Challenge is a project of the Tata Centre for Development at UChicago and the Urban Development Department of the Government of Karnataka, in partnership with the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago’s India team (EPIC-India) and UChicago Energy and Environment Lab.

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