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DBT-UK collaboration scouts for new technology to reduce industrial waste

Rapid fire:

  • DBT along with Innovate UK & Research Councils, BBSRC & EPSRC looks to support innovative solutions to reduce industrial waste in India.
  • The aim of this competition is to encourage partnerships between India and UK
  • Funding of this competition is as part of the Newton Bhabha Fund
  • Only Indian academic institutions or research organizations can lead the project in India
  • Proposals needed for waste reduction using biotechnology in one or more of these 5 sectors leather/tanning/textiles, municipal solid waste, paper and pulp, sewage and sugar cane

Indian organizations are invited for competitive application for funding to DBT to work with UK partners on biotechnology solutions for industrial waste challenges in India. Registration for this competition will close on 11th October 2017.

India has experienced decades of intense growth resulting in densely populated areas and large scale industrialization. The industrial sectors targeted in this competition are some of the largest in India. While their processes can have a negative impact on India’s environment and ecology, they are major employers, often of economically weaker and marginalized communities. The leather, tanning and textile industries are prioritized under the Government of India’s flagship ‘Make in India’ initiative, with high growth anticipated over the next five years. India produces 13% of the world’s leather hides/skins and is the world’s second-largest producer of footwear and leather garments, with the second-highest textile manufacturing capacity. Textiles represent 14% of India’s industrial production and constitute 15% of the country’s export earnings. The leather industry employs almost 2.5 million people. The textiles industry is the second largest employer in India. From 2015 to 2016, the industry employed nearly 51 million people directly and 68 million people indirectly. Indian cities need new solutions to reduce landfill waste and incineration of municipal solid waste. Every year India generates 62 million tonnes and collects 43 million tonnes of waste. Of the amount collected, 72% is land filled, and the balance undergoes some form of treatment. Solutions that reduce landfill and increase value recovery have an important social, economic and environmental role to play in India’s urban areas. India’s pulp and paper industry has 500 paper mills producing 14 million tonnes annually. This is estimated to increase to 20 million tonnes a year by 2020.

Only around 30% of India’s sewage is treated. Untreated sewage from urban areas is one of the largest sources of surface water pollution and groundwater contamination in the country. The Government of India recognizes the urgency of the impact on health, the environment and the economy. The centralized sewage treatment plants in the country have failed to achieve the prescribed effluent discharge standards, for various reasons. However, some experts in the sector do not consider centralized sewage systems to be a viable solution. In 2015, India was the second-largest world producer of sugar cane. The sugar cane industry is the second-largest agro-based industry in the country and supports approximately 60 million farmers and their families.

Department of Biotechnology, Government of India is investing with matching resources with Innovate UK and Research Councils, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) in projects that use cutting-edge solutions to reduce industrial waste in India.
The aim of this competition is to encourage partnerships between India and UK. Department of Biotechnology, Government of India and Innovate UK, the Research Councils are funding this competition as part of the Newton Bhabha Fund.

Projects should address reducing industrial waste and pollution, and improve value recovery from waste using biotechnology in one or more of these 5 sectors:

  • leather/tanning/textiles
  • municipal solid waste
  • paper and pulp
  • sewage
  • sugar cane
  • The total project grant will not exceed £2 million per project for UK partners. Match funding will be made available for Indian project partners by the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India. Projects should last between 30 months and 3 years.

Projects must include one UK business and one UK higher education institution or research council institute eligible for BBSRC/EPSRC funding. You also need to partner with one Indian academic institution or research organization. Preference will be given to project consortia that also include an Indian business partner or an Indian urban or other local government body, who would be the end user of the proposed solution.
Additional UK and Indian businesses, research and academic partners are allowed. Either a business or a research organization (including but not limited to UK higher education institutions or research council institutes) can lead the project in the UK. Only Indian academic institutions or research organizations can lead the project in India.

Proposals are invited under India-UK Industrial Waste Challenge 2017