KTN is supporting the DIT in India via its Innovation Exchange platform to identify innovative solutions to significant and immediate challenges in managing waste and better utilisation of the city’s resources to create low carbon, circular economy urban ecosystems.

As India continues to grow, the urban population is projected to reach 814 million (50%) by 2050 (Teri, urban Resilience). As the population grows so does the volume of waste produced in the country. Waste is a growing problem for India, according to the World Bank, India accounts for 13% of the global waste generated every year.

Well-planned cities with well designed physical and social infrastructure can create the right conditions for growth by maximising the benefits of urbanisation and minimising the costs to both present and future generations. At present, cities like New Delhi and Mumbai are under enormous pressure to solve their growing waste problem. This presents an opportunity for UK R&D centres, dynamic innovative SMEs and larger industrial solutions custodians to bring their circular economy ideas forward for a direct introduction to these Indian city challenge markets.

Currently, the urban infrastructure found in cities in India are finding it difficult to cope with the volumes of waste generated by increasing urban populations and this is causing a detrimental impact on the environment and public health. The challenges and barriers are significant, but so are the opportunities.

The challenge owner is looking for solutions that move from reliance on open waste dumps that are an environmental and public health hazard, to waste management systems that retain resources within the economy and at their highest value – a circular economy.

The aim is to achieve a waste management system that segregates waste at source, makes use of specialised waste processing facilities to separate valuable resources and materials for reuse and recycling, convert any remaining residual waste into energy and eliminate the use and need of open waste dumps.

This presents an exciting opportunity for UK innovators to test and pilot their solutions with two of the fastest growing urban economies in the world.

Rewards and benefits

Successful applicants will be invited into a closed online process (not too dissimilar to a hackathon environment) to refine their application/solutions with direct KTN support and guidance alongside datasets and support material provided by the city challenge owners.  KTN will also be able to strengthen solutions with additional collaborator introductions and wider sector intelligence input should the solution lead deem it necessary.

The strongest solutions following this process will then be drawn forward to present to the challenge owners and contracting authorities.

Those businesses and university programmes which are selected by the challenge owner as offering the most promising solutions will be given a commercial opportunity to deliver their solution and receive support from KTN and the wider DIT network. The Indian challenge owners are keen to evolve collaborative partnerships with UK industrialists and academics, fostering new and innovative approaches to managing waste and better utilisation of the city’s resources to create low carbon, circular economy urban ecosystems.


The deadline for applying is 12 February.  To find out more and submit an application, visit the Innovation Exchange site here.