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


$1 million cash prize for drone innovations 

(Muaz Shabandri) / 11 February 2014

The UAE government announced a new international award worth $1 million for promoting innovation in drone development aimed at helping governments serve people better. Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, UAE Minister of Cabinet Affairs announced the new award on Tuesday at a special media briefing. 

‘We invite individuals, businesses and universities to work on their best ideas and look at innovative ways of improving the existing technology for drones. UAE wants to develop drone technology and help reduce the time taken for providing government services,’ he said.

A team of experts working closely under the supervision of the UAE Prime Minister’s Office has already tested the possibility of using unmanned aerial vehicles to provide government services. In three months, pilot tests and proposals have been evaluated for implementing this technology in the UAE.

Photo by Juidin Bernarrd/Khaleej Times

‘The world is becoming more technologically advanced and we believe in smart governance. It isn’t simply about using technology but it also includes looking at ways to improve government offerings,” said Gergawi.

Universities, businesses and individuals can participate in the award, which will be open in two categories – international and UAE. Innovators in the UAE can aim for a top prize of Dh1 million, while the international category will have a prize of $1million.

In a video demonstration of the current drones tested by the UAE government, a package carrying an Emirates ID card can be delivered from the ID center to a resident’s house.

‘Legislations are extremely important when it comes to using drones and we need to work with Civil Aviation Authority and other authorities before implementing these new technologies,” added Gergawi.

A jury of specialists and government officials will evaluate the entries and technical guidelines for the competition will be unveiled in two weeks. Entries will have to meet global safety standards and innovators will be challenged to create drones which can cover reasonable distances and remain reliable.

Contestants will also be expected to submit detailed proposals with the technical features and how it could help improve an existing government service.

Winners of the international competition will be announced at next year’s government summit in February 2015. The competition’s UAE edition would come to a close in May 2014.

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NASA Experts Continue to Engage United Nations on NASA’s #Asteroid Initiative

In June of last year, NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden spoke to the United Nations Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) and shared with the international community what NASA is doing to detect and track asteroids. He also engaged the United Nation’s support for NASA’s mission to find, capture and redirect an asteroid to lunar orbit, and then send humans to explore it by 2025.

Following Bolden’s presentation, Mazlan Othman, director of the U.N. Office for Outer Space Affairs, offered support for NASA’s asteroid initiative and noted that near-Earth objects (NEO) have long been a concern for COPUOS.

This week at the COPUOS Scientific and Technical Subcommittee (STSC) in Vienna, Austria, two NASA experts provided an update about additional efforts NASA is taking to support the global effort to find, characterize, and monitor near-Earth asteroids.

Jason Kessler, program executive for the Asteroid Grand Challenge, gave a presentation on the grand challenge to the subcommittee. Kessler spoke about the critical need for international cooperation in order to meet the grand challenge, which is to find all asteroid threats to human population and know what to do about them.

At their 2013 meeting, COPUOS endorsed expanded efforts for an International Asteroid Warning Network. IAWN is a global network of telescopes and tracking stations from different parts of the world searching all parts of the sky to provide a more comprehensive picture of how many asteroids exist and where they are. The IAWN provides a way for additional nations to join the effort.

Lindley Johnson, the program executive for the Near-Earth Object Observations (NEOO) program, spoke to the subcommittee about the progress accomplished in the last year on the IAWN and the hazardous NEO Space Mission Planning Advisory Group (SMPAG), which COPUOS also endorsed in 2013. The SMPAG is a new forum for space capable nations to discuss ways to deflect an asteroid that might impact the Earth. NASA supported the first IAWN Steering Committee meeting in January, as well as the first SMPAG meeting held in early February. The IAWN and the SMPAG are independent of the United Nations, but keep the STSC updated on their activities.

NASA detects, tracks and characterizes asteroids and comets passing close to Earth using both ground and space-based telescopes. The NEOO program, commonly called “Spaceguard,” discovers these objects, characterizes a subset that are of interest and plots their orbits into the future to determine whether any could be potentially hazardous to our planet.

As of Feb. 1, 10,685 NEOs have been discovered, including about 97 percent of asteroids larger than .6 miles (one kilometer). But there is a greater need to pinpoint smaller asteroids such as the one that impacted near Chelyabinsk, Russia.

NASA is mainly focused on finding asteroids larger than 459 feet (140 meters), and creating new ways to find even smaller NEOs. NASA also is committed to developing new ways to search existing data to find these objects. In September 2013, NASA announced a partnership with Planetary Resources to develop crowd-sourced software solutions to enhance detection of NEOs in data already collected by NASA and agency partners.

NASA doubled the money spent in the search for potentially hazardous asteroids through the NEOO program in Fiscal Year 2014, and is committed to developing new ways to use existing data by seeking for innovative ideas from citizen scientists.

Data from the search for NEOs also is being used to support the Asteroid Redirect Mission. The mission concept is to use a robotic spacecraft to capture a small near-Earth asteroid — 13-32 feet (4-10 meters) in size — or remove a boulder 3-16 feet (1-5 meters) from the surface of a larger asteroid and redirect it into a stable orbit around the moon. Astronauts launched aboard NASA’s new Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System rocket would rendezvous with the captured asteroid material in lunar orbit and collect samples for return to Earth.

One of the first steps for the asteroid redirect mission is to find a target asteroid appropriate for capture and redirection — a step that meshes with the grand challenge effort to find all asteroid threats to human populations.

These two efforts are part of NASA’s Asteroid Initiative, which will leverage and integrate NASA’s activities in human exploration, space technology, and space science. The goal is to advance the technologies and capabilities needed for future human and robotic exploration, enable the first human mission to interact with asteroid material, and accelerate efforts to detect, track, characterize, and mitigate the threat of potentially hazardous asteroids.

NASA Announces Third International #SpaceApps Challenge

NASA and other space agencies around the world are preparing for next year’s third annual International Space Apps Challenge, in which participants develop mobile applications, software, hardware, data visualization and platform solutions that could contribute to space exploration missions and help improve life on Earth.

The 2014 challenge will be held April 11-12. Organizers will begin accepting applications in November for challenges to be released in March, one month before the event.

The event is designed to demonstrate commitment to the principles of open innovation through the use of open data and technology to address global needs; encourage citizens in countries with little or no investments in space exploration to contribute to the cause; promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics education; and encourage international partnership and mutual understanding.

The 2013 International Space Apps Challenge in April drew more than 9,000 participants in 83 cities around the world. They collaborated to create 770 solutions.

“This global collaboration provides a unique opportunity to design innovative solutions and advance technology while engaging citizens worldwide in software development, citizen science, hardware, and data visualization,” said Deborah Diaz, NASA’s deputy chief information officer. “By creating a culture of openness and collectively contributing skills and exciting new ideas, the technology solutions created could improve life on Earth and in space. This year’s event sparked some incredible insight and innovation beyond what the challenge definers could have ever hoped for.”

In 2014, half the challenges will come from NASA and represent its major mission directorates and other key investments, and half will come from other organizations, such as space agencies, industry and global partners.

To learn more about the International Space Apps Challenge, visit:

For information about NASA’s programs and missions, visit:

GEMS launches $1m prize for education, to the “world’s greatest teacher”. #teachers

The charitable arm of the international schools group GEMS is launching its own “Nobel-style” prize for education.

The Varkey Gems Foundation will award the $1 million (£624,000) prize to the “world’s greatest teacher”, following a nomination process and the vote of an international jury. The winner will be announced at the Global Education & Skills Forum in Dubai next March.
The award, announced on Tuesday, appears to be a direct challenge to the WISE Prize, awarded by a charitable arm of the Qatari government. That award, which has also been compared to the Nobel, is worth $500,000, half the amount of its new challenger.
Sunny Varkey, the chair of GEMS and founder of its philanthropic arm the Varkey GEMS Foundation, said that his “goal for this award is to emulate the Nobel Prizes, but in the field of education”.
“We want to promote teachers as stars and to support the quality of education to highlight the enormous impact teachers have on our lives,” he added. “We will endeavour to find the greatest teacher in the world.”
The third WISE prize winner was unveiled on Monday at the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE), a conference currently taking place in the Qatari capital, Doha. The winner was Vicky Colbert, a Colombian sociologist who in 1975 invented a new more collaborative model of schooling to improve provision in rural Colombia. 
Colbert’s Escuela Nueva model is now used in 16 countries.

Conflict of interest row as prizes go to firms with links to competition judge

A COMPETITION for entrepreneurs set up by the Scottish Government has been exposed as potentially having a “major conflict of interest” after £618,000 in prize money was given to firms linked to one of the panellists.

Jim Duffy, chief executive of business start-up organisation Entrepreneurial SparkPhotograph:?�Chris James

Sixteen of the 18 most recent Scottish Edge awards were given to outfits under the wing of Entrepreneurial Spark (ESpark), whose chief executive, Jim Duffy, helped create the shortlist.

Run by jobs quango Scottish Enterprise of behalf of the government, the Edge is a Dragons’ Den-style competition for budding wealth creators. A £2 million pot has been made available for a scheme that has seen two rounds of awards, in February and June this year.

However, although the competition has been praised in the business world, questions are being asked about the role of ESpark.

The organisation is a publicly funded social enterprise set up in 2011 to help business start-ups get off the ground. The fledgling firms are given free office space, internet access and IT use, as well as mentoring. More than 150 firms have benefited from ESpark’s expertise.

The aspiring entrepreneurs are based in one of the ESpark offices, described as “hatcheries”.

ESpark’s primary business sponsor is Royal Bank of Scotland, but was also helped by tycoon Willie Haughey and has received £340,000 from local authorities.

In the latest round of Edge awards, 217 applications were made, with only a minority of entries from ESpark “chiclets” – the name given to firms on Duffy’s programme.

Duffy and four other organisations – including RBS and Scottish Enterprise – were then part of a shortlisting panel that whittled the entries down to 60 hopefuls. Duffy was also on the regional panel which reduced the 60 semi-finalists to 30, who went on to compete at RBS headquarters in June. However, he was not on the judging panel on the final day. Of the 30 selected for the final, more than half were ESpark chiclets. Sixteen of the 18 cash prizes were awarded to ESpark outfits. Of the £704,000 given to the winners, nearly 90% went to start-ups nurtured by Duffy’s organisation.

This included £50,000 for Log Six Systems, a healthcare venture formed by Stephen Roberts, a disqualified company director.

Roberts is a former bankrupt who was described by a judge as “evasive and devious” in a 2011 tax case.

After the awards were announced, ESpark blogged: “We are delighted to say 16 of the 18 companies are Entrepreneurial Spark Chiclets with £618,284 of funding brought to our Hatcheries #WOW.”

Duffy is also involved in the next round of awards.

“Really looking forward to working with fellow #ScotEDGE judges”, he tweeted earlier this month.

In August, it was revealed that ESpark chiclets had to sign an agreement promising not to criticise the organisation.

It stated: “Upon termination of this agreement the occupant agrees not to engage in any negative media whatsoever in respect of ES.”

The revelations about Duffy’s involvement have raised questions about whether the Edge selection process is fair.

Scottish Conservative enterprise spokesman Murdo Fraser said: “I am sure Jim Duffy would not favour any of the entrepreneurs with whom he has a personal connection, but Scottish Enterprise should see the dangers of a perceived conflict of interest.”

SNP MSP John Wilson said: “Where public funding is concerned in awards of this nature there must be transparency and openness in the process.”

Eleanor Mitchell, director of commercialisation at Scottish Enterprise, said: “All applicants for the Edge programme went through a robust selection process … The panel did not take into account any previous or existing relationships they had with any of the project partners.”

Duffy said: “I am one of five members on the panel, with all decisions regarding entrants needing to be approved by all of us, and I do not take part in the final judging process. The success of ESpark’s start-ups to date in the Edge competition is testament to the hard work which my team puts in.”

Sign up for the Oct 12 @nesta_uk @UKODI Crime and Justice challenge weekend is now open #odchallenges #opendata

The Open Data Institute and Nesta are running the Open Data Challenge Series using a challenge prize approach to articulate seven social challenges and explore how to use open data to address them. We’re looking for solutions that show that they have potential to impact positively upon the challenge and which have a credible plan and market.

For each series we start with a challenge definition day in which we work in collaboration with experts in the field to hone the challenges that we want to tackle. The crime and justice challenge definition day happened in April this year since when we’ve been opening up and uncovering new data sources. Now, a few months later, we are organising an innovation and creation weekend to generate teams and viable businesses that seek to achieve one of the following:

  •    Drive an increase in community involvement with the criminal justice system
  •    Create further evidence for what are the right interventions for rehabilitation
  •  Address the rise in personal crime


Three ideas will be selected from the weekend and offered £5,000 each to develop their idea over a three month period, after which time one final winner is selected to receive the grand prize of c.£40,000.

In association with the Alliance for Useful Evidence.


The Agenda:



10:30 – 11.00 Registration and coffee

11.00 – 12.00 Welcome, Introductions and Housekeeping

12.00 – 18.00 Hack (and lunch)

18.00 – 18.30 Wrap up


9.00 – 10.00 Coffee, Breakfast and welcome back;

10.00 – 12.30 Hack

12.30 – 13.30 Lunch

13.30 – 15.00 Pitch preparation

15.00 – 17.00 Pitches and prize giving


If you have a team and/or would like to compete to win the overall grand prize of £40k, you will need to register yourselves both here (on the eventbrite page) and on F6S:


If you have a keen interest in this event but don’t want to compete, you are welcome to attend under two different guises:


1. As an expert – we would welcome attendance of a limited number of experts at the hack to support product and pitch development. To manage numbers and the range of expertise available, this role will be available by request – please email


2. As an interested party – if you’d like to see what products are generated by the teams and observe the judging process, you are welcome to join us on Sunday from 15.00. This may be of particular interest if you are considering applying for another theme in the Open Data Challenge Series