First India XPRIZE to change our view on water

 Zenia Tata, Program Director, Global Expansion, XPRIZE Foundation, has claimed that the first Grand Challenge in India funded by Coca-Cola South Asia on the theme of water “will completely change perceptions about where water comes from and how you can use it”. 

Within India, she is grappling with creating a level-playing field. “Innovators from even small towns should be able to take on a team from, say, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) notwithstanding the latter’s savvy, contacts, and access to funding,” she said. “I want to level the field for the makers and the tinkerers and the people with one brilliant idea.”

Today, XPRIZE in India has two confirmed donors. Besides Coca-Cola, the Motwani-Jadeja Foundation is another. But the latter is at a much preliminary stage, with Asha Jadeja, wife of late Prof. Rajeev Motwani, a mentor to Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, merely expressing her intent to fund another Grand Challenge on the theme of women and girls.

 Culver City, California-based XPRIZE Foundation has earned a name for itself in kicking off a series of audacious prize money competitions designed to develop technology that could benefit millions. 

The first of these, the Ansari Prize awarded in 2004, is credited with inspiring the private space travel industry. Of the current Grand Challenges, an Indian team (Team Indus) is a participant in the $30-million Google Lunar Prize, while another team (Danvantri) is among the 10 vying for the $10-million Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE.

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