World Bank seeks Proposals for #Prize Administration for Low Carbon Technology Deployment in India

The Technology Development Board (TDB), Department of Science & Technology, Government of India with the help of World Bank intends to create a Facility for Low Carbon Technology Deployment (FLCTD) which will aim at promoting and adopting increasing use of new technologies which shall require lower consumption of Energy to deliver required performance especially in the three focus areas: a) Industrial Low-grade Waste Heat Recovery; (b) Pumping; and (c) Heat transfer in HVAC, cold storage, etc.

The main activity of this project will be innovation challenges that will award teams who develop prototypes that meet performance-based technical specifications and also provide support for deployment of the selected prototypes by industrial and other users.

The TDB seeks Expression of Interest (EOI) from eligible Agencies/ Firms/ Consortium Groups/ Parties to indicate their interest to act as Project Management Unit (PMU) for the Facility for Low Carbon Technology Deployment (FLCTD).

The selected organization will act as PMU and will be responsible for supporting the Facility’s operations, including: (a) identifying technology needs and designing proof-of- concept challenges; (b) coordinating Expert Panels and international advisors; (c) running grand challenges; (d) testing prototypes; and (e) assisting deployment of prototypes through partnerships with industry and other partners.

As this project is being implemented with the help of World Bank, procurement of contracts financed by the World Bank will be conducted through the procedures as specified in the World Bank’s Guidelines: Procurement under IBRD Loans and IDA Credits (current edition), and is open to all eligible bidders as defined in the guidelines. Consulting services will be selected in accordance with the World Bank’s Guidelines: Selection and Employment of Consultants by World Bank Borrowers (current edition) and also the World Bank’s policy on conflict of interest.

Terms of Reference (ToR) containing the salient features of the Project, eligibility criteria for the selection of PMU and Application Form for submission to this EOI can be accessed at the website of Department of Science and Technology at


$100,000 @ReadingGCD Prize Competition for Book-Writing Software. #publicprize

“Enabling Writers” global prize competition aims to improve reading skills through technology:

Waltham, MA (February 27, 2014) – All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development (ACR GCD) announced Thursday the launch of “Enabling Writers,” a $100,000 prize competition to incentivize the design of technology that helps writers draft materials to improve reading skills of children in developing countries.

The global competition seeks to spur the development of software solutions that allow authors to easily write and publish texts in mother tongue languages to help early-grade students learn to read. To solve this important challenge, ACR GCD aims to attract individuals, companies and communities from all fields, but especially the software development, digital literacy and education communities.

One of the main barriers to improving children’s reading skills is the lack of appropriate and engaging reading materials in local languages, meaning children are unable to get the reading practice they need in the language they know best.

“Literacy is the cornerstone of economic and social development—but millions of children around the world still lack basic access to books in their native language,” said Christie Vilsack, Senior Advisor for International Education for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). “To strengthen global literacy we need to first bolster access to suitable early-grade reading materials, and that means starting at the beginning by making it easier, faster and more affordable to produce age- and language-appropriate books that kids want to read.”

The ACR GCD partners: USAID, World Vision and the Australian Government, have created the ‘Enabling Writers’ prize competition to drive the development of new software technologies—and the improvement of existing programs—that make it easier, cheaper and faster to write high-quality early-grade reading materials.

The prize competition, powered by InnoCentive, a global leader in crowdsourcing innovation problems, is one of several technology-for-literacy competitions that ACR GCD will launch in 2014. The prize competition format, newly implemented in Round 2 of ACR GCD, is part of the initiative’s strategy to expand its network of innovators and solvers tackling specific problems where an injection of innovation, a new approach, or a new product will move the needle in getting all children reading. ‘Enabling Writers’ will award a grand prize of $100,000 for software that helps authors create books and other reading materials for students after receiving less than 20 hours of training. Applicants must design a solution or product that provides user-friendly directions and prompts in a common national language, while allowing authors to write in local languages.

After the submission period closes, three finalists will receive feedback and awards of $12,000 each. After having incorporated the judges’ feedback, their innovations will be piloted and reviewed in three countries with ACR GCD partner programs. The highest performing software will win a grand prize of $100,000.

Today, the ACR GCD also launched its multi-million dollar Round 2 grant competition for technology-supported education innovations that leapfrog existing infrastructure challenges to reach early-grade learners.

Launched in 2011, ACR GCD calls on innovators around the world to help develop scalable solutions to increase literacy rates among children in developing countries.

To learn more about the ‘Enabling Writers’ prize or the Round 2 grant competition, go to

Crowd-Funded Twittering Nano-Satellite Successfully Deploys from ISS

Get ready for tweets from space.

Just before midnight Pacific Standard time last night, SkyCube, the crowd-funded, twittering, nano-satellite was deployed from the International Space Station, where it had been stored since it was taken into space aboard an Antares rocket in January. This was the moment that the training wheels would come off, and the satellite’s creators, including team leader Tim DeBenedictis, and the projects Kickstarter funders, would find out if their device was working.

You can check videos of the deployment herehere, and here.

There was plenty that still could go wrong, according to DeBenedictis. “SkyCube has been in cold and dark storage for 4 months. We never tested how the batteries hold charge over that long,” he said. “they may have discharged.” Forty-five minutes after initial deployment, SkyCube’s solar panels and radio antennas came to life, just as SkyCube came into the direct path of the sun’s light. If everything was working properly, ground control would be able to communicate with the satellite as it passed overhead, downloading telemetry files from the CFTNS.

The first passes over ground came at 3 and 4:30 am Pacific time, when SkyCube orbited over Australia. A signal went out. No response. That wasn’t surprising—it takes time for the solar arrays to gather enough energy to power these kinds of satellites. DeBenedictis didn’t expect to hear anything. Some teams have taken up to weeks to establish contact. The next chance would be around 8:00 am, as the CFTNS passed over New Mexico. DeBenedicts would try again.

At 8 am, another hail went up from the ground. “We repeatedly sent it ‘Get telemetry’ commands, meaning ‘send me your battery level, solar panel voltages, overall health level, etc.’ Every 10 seconds or so. For the first minute or two, no response,” wrote DeBenedictis in an email to supporters of the project. “Then the ground radio started detecting signal, then a digital signal. It wasn’t quite strong enough to fully decode all the bits, but there was definitely signal coming back. The signal stopped coming back when the satellite crossed over the horizon, as expected. The guys here are 100% sure that was signal from the satellite.” As he put it, “the patient is alive.”

As we wrote about last April, the CFTNS is a four-pound, four-inch on a side cuboid that will orbit the earth, sending out personalized tweets written by those who donated to the project on kickstarter.DeBenedicts told us last month, just before the launch, that one of the project goals was the reawaken popular interest in space exploration and use: “The American space program has been sleepy. It’s remote, removed. People like it, but it’s not participatory. Twitter may be banal, but it’s yours.”

Virginia Tech Students to Design Remote-Controlled 3-D Printed Aircrafts, Vehicles For $15K

Virginia Tech never fails to impress with its long list of inspired events that showcase students’ talent within the engineering realm. Today’s no different.

The Blacksburg school announced Friday that it will host its first-ever university-wide competition for students to build their own on-demand, remote-controlled 3-D printed aircraft or ground vehicle. Undergraduates and graduate students alike will have the chance to win $15,000 in cash prizes March 4 in the Spring 2014 Additive Manufacturing Grand Challenge.

“This competition is a tremendous opportunity for all Virginia Tech students,”said Christopher Williams, head of Virginia Tech’s Design, Research, and Education for Additive Manufacturing Systems Lab and one of the organizers of the competition. Students, no matter their course of study, will have the opportunity to test their skills at building an operational, remotely piloted ground or air vehicle created via 3-D printing.

According to the university, hopes are that these students’ work “will allow future deployed military or civilian engineers to fabricate remotely-piloted vehicles while in battlefield or austere environmental conditions, such as the site of a natural disaster to search for survivors or carry out reconnaissance missions.”

Participants will be tasked with paving the way for a strong future partnership between additive manufacturing and robotic systems. Reason being that civilian and military organizations plan to design shipping containers that have several 3-D printers. The printers could be used by engineers to easily download and print replacement parts or to create mission-specific parts on-demand. This way military personnel will not need to wait for relief by rescue workers, they’ll be able to make what they require in the field via 3-D printing.

At the final competition on May 15, students will be judged on their vehicle’s ability to navigate the course – time to finish the mission and number of obstacles cleared – their effective use of additive manufacturing, the amount of time it took to print and assemble, as well as the number of 3-D printed parts that make up the structure of their product.

As for the funding for the competition, the Air Force’s Office of Scientific Research is providing the majority of the money. Other sponsors include the National Defense University’s Center for Technology and National Security Policy. Robotic Research LLC is also helping out by donating vehicle electronic kits while the Stiefel Family Foundation provides the cash awards.

As mentioned before, though, it’s the Air Force’s Office of Scientific Research that is the biggest supporter of the challenge, and for good reason. “Additive manufacturing is a potential game-changing manufacturing technology for our military platforms,” said David Stargel, division chief of Dynamical Systems and Control at the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. “The Air Force Office of Scientific Research is excited to help lead the development and education of our future engineers through this Grand Challenge competition on the design of additive manufacturing.”

Join Cisco’s #Security Challenge: Secure the Internet of Things. #prize

We’re connecting more of our world every day through smart, IP-enabled devices ranging from home appliances, healthcare devices, and industrial equipment. These new connected devices are offering new ways to share information and are changing the way we live. This technology transformation is what we call the Internet of Things (IoT) – and it is evolving daily.

Yet, as our connected lives grow and become richer, the need for a new security model becomes even more critical. It requires that we work together as a community to find innovative solutions to make sure that the IoT securely fulfills its potential and preserves the convenience that it represents.

With this in mind, Cisco is launching the Internet of Things Security Grand Challenge. We’re inviting you — the global security community — to propose practical security solutions across the markets being impacted daily by the IoT.

For example, in the healthcare sector, it’s easy to imagine how Internet-connected devices and systems are revolutionizing patient care. In the transportation sector, technologists are already connecting vehicles and their subsystems to the Internet. It is also, unfortunately, too easy to imagine how these world-changing developments could go terribly wrong when attacked or corrupted by bad actors.

The Internet of Things Security Grand Challenge offers visionaries, innovators, and implementers like you the opportunity to define a future of a secure IoT. With the IoT as a significant part of the larger Internet of Everything (IoE) market transition that brings together connected devices with people, processes, and data, it’s even more imperative that we ensure the things we connect are secure.

Here’s the fun part: the Challenge offers up to US$300,000 in prize money, with awards from US$50,000 to US$75,000 for up to six recipients. Winning solutions will be announced and showcased at the Internet of Things World Forum this fall.

A Cisco team of security experts will evaluate proposals based on the following criteria:

  • Feasibility, scalability, performance, and ease-of-use
  • Applicability to address multiple IoT verticals (manufacturing, mass transportation, healthcare, oil and gas, smart grid, etc.)
  • Technical maturity/viability of proposed approach
  • Proposers’ expertise and ability to feasibly create a successful outcome

By working together as a community, we can help to close the security gaps and enjoy the benefits of a safer connected world. Join the challenge.

$300,000 Cisco #prize for Internet of Things security apps

At RSA Conference, Cisco rolls out ‘Internet of Things Security Grand Challenge.’

By , Network World 
February 28, 2014 09:30 AM ET
Network World – San Francisco — Cisco today kicked off a contest with $300,000 in prize money that challenges security experts around the world to put together ways to secure what’s now called the “Internet of Things,” the wide range of non-traditional computing devices used on the electric grid, in healthcare and many other industries.

At the conclusion of his keynote address at the RSA Conference, Christopher Young, senior vice president for the security group at Cisco, announced what he called the “Internet of Things Security Grand Challenge.” Pointing to the Cisco website description of the contest, Young said the idea is “a contest of experts around the world to submit blueprints” for how security issues created by the Internet of Things could be addressed.

It’s expected that up to six winning entries would be selected and the prize money awarded at the Internet of Things Forum in the fall. Between $50,000 to $70,000 is expected to be awarded by Cisco to winning contestants. According to the Cisco blog item, the goal is to devise security approaches for devices used in manufacturing, mass transportation, healthcare, oil and gas and the smart grid, which would be judged for feasibility and scalability.

NASA Wants You to Help Save the World.

Fans of late-Nineties Hollywood blockbusters have long harbored fantasies of saving humanity from killer asteroids, but these have historically involved getting launched into space with Ben Affleck or Bruce Willis and blasting the Earth-threatening rock to smithereens. Now, for those of us too busy to undergo astronaut training, NASA is offering a new, 21st century opportunity to help avert Armageddon: the Asteroid Grand Challenge. A useful contribution to the effort may even pay big money.

NASA representatives Jenn Gustetic and Jason Kessler are here at SXSW Interactive to recruit and encourage potential collaborators in this worldwide effort. Gustetic and Kessler have targeted the SXSW Interactive community because they’ll especially need contributions from coders and developers. “We know we can’t do it alone,” says Gustetic. “We’re using the Grand Challenge to say, ‘Hey world, we’re seeking your help.'”

As part of a Space Act Agreement with private space exploration firm Planetary Resources announced last November, NASA will conduct the first online crowdsourcing activity associated with the Asteroid Grand Challenge in 2014. This first challenge in the series will invite competitors to write algorithms to analyze Catalina Sky Survey data and identify the most near-Earth asteroids possible in that dataset while minimizing false positives. Competitor algorithms will be tested against the professional astronomers and observatories who are currently surveying this data. Since competitors will use existing data and not be expected to make new observations themselves, “It creates a pretty low barrier to entry for folks to contribute to solving this higher-level problem of protecting the planet from asteroid threats,” Gustetic says.

Though official details for this challenge have not been released yet, NASA expects to engage the computer-science community through websites like TopCoder and InnoCentive. “There may be really interesting ways to bring in a coder or computer-science perspective, bring their experience and worldview to approach this in a different way,” Kessler says.

Looking forward, the opportunities to contribute will be wide-ranging. Information professionals could potentially pitch in by developing programs to better network telescopes together, or even just by helping with basic Web accessibility and user-friendliness. “We could use help with a more elegant graphic user interface, all the way up to hardcore algorithm development,” Kessler says.

“We haven’t prebaked this thing,” Kessler adds. “We’ve just put out the challenge and invited people. We’re totally open to people coming in and coming up with a solution that we haven’t even considered yet.”

No prize purses have yet been announced, but they will be part of the mix. NASA has been crowdsourcing an increasing share of its science for a decade now, though the Asteroid Grand Challenge will be the most sustained effort so far around a specific subject area. Success stories of past crowdsourcing initiatives include the 2011 Green Flight Challenge, which was won by a group that managed to fly an aircraft 200 miles on about a half-gallon of gas per passenger. Gustetic calls it “a Lindbergh moment for green aviation.” The winners took home $1.35 million.

Gustetic and Kessler’s SXSW Interactive Panel “Are We Smarter Than the Dinosaurs?” will introduce the Grand Challenge paradigm and the specific hazards and opportunities presented by asteroids. In addition to working to avert a catastrophic collision, NASA also has an eye on asteroids as potential avenues for exploration. In a recent press release touting their partnership in the Asteroid Grand Challenge, Planetary Resources expressed a hope that asteroids would provide the basis for a “sustainable, even indefinite presence in space” both for research and commerce.

Gustetic and Kessler won’t be the only panelists at SXSW Interactive talking about the future of space exploration. In addition to Saturday keynote speaker Neil deGrasse Tyson, space programming includes Astrotech’s Thomas Pickens on space tech start-ups, Jason Kalirai from the Space Telescope Science Institute talking about the James Webb Space Telescope and life on other planets, Earth Space’s Ruben Nunez on collaborative public-private partnerships for “the new space economy,” and a live Q&A with astronauts in orbit, coordinated by NASA social media manager John Yembrick.

Gustetic and Kessler’s panel addresses perhaps the most immediately vital concern: the preservation of our species. But it’s also about the potential of humans to come together to solve our biggest, most threatening problems – the sort of thing that separates us from the Earth’s previous inhabitants, or so we’d like to think.

“Survival is its own reward,” Gustetic says. “The importance of the Grand Challenge is self-evident in avoiding the fate of the dinosaurs. But the power of engaging a passionate citizenry in the space program, democratizing space, is such an incredible message. I believe we’re going to unlock so much innovation and increase the power of individuals to impact the future of humanity in really meaningful ways.”

NASA Wants You to Help Save the World

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