Finalist Pitches and Discussion on How to Attract Investments Marked the WIA 2021 Finals
The final round to define the winners of the WAITRO Innovation Award (WIA) 2021 took place on January 27th. The five finalist teams had the opportunity to present their project ideas to the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) at a Pitch Event. Two winning teams will be awarded US$25,000 each to kick-start their projects.
WAITRO Innovation Award Impact and More
The event started with the welcome speech by Dr. Paul Burrows, Head of WAITRO Office China, followed by Dr. Eckart Bierdümpel, WAITRO Secretary General.
The WAITRO Innovation Award 2020 winning teams gave insights on how the initial funding helped them start their projects. Prof. David Waite, project leader of “Development of Low-Cost Solar-Powered Water Treatment”, and Prof. Eugenia Olguín, project leader of “Technologies to Provide Clean Water in Small Communities”, shared the status of their projects. Both projects have a great chance to contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 3 – Good Health and Well-being; and 6 – Clean Water and Sanitation.
Next on the agenda was the intervention of Jean-Marc Champagne, Head of Environmental Finance Bankable Nature Solutions Asia – WWF-Hong Kong. The expert showed how Bankable Nature Solutions work and its ability to support viable projects, which have a positive impact on nature and climate.
The WAITRO Innovation Award 2021 Finalist Pitches
The time arrived for the finalists to show the potential of their project ideas. They had five minutes to explain the advantages and viability of each project, followed by a 3 min. Q&A Session from the SAB. The projects presented were:
- Development of Urban Agriculture Through Vertical Hydroponic Cultivation with Grey Water Treated with Slanted Soil System by Rozbeh Abbaszadeh
(Organizations: IROST and RUCT-BRIN)
- Sustainable Farming Under Climate Change – Adoption of Climate Resilient Crop by Amna Jrrar
(Organizations: Royal Scientific Society and Aarhus University)
- SMARTinFOOD: Insect-based Food Sources to Supplement Nutrient Deficiencies in Vulnerable Areas by Julia García
(Organizations: LEITAT, FIIRO, CSIR and TISTR)
- Strengthening Food Sustainability in Southeast Asia by Utilization of Local Tuber of Amorphophallus Muelleri Blume by Achmat Sarifudin
(Organizations: RCAT-BRIN and TISTR)
- Green Technology Botanical Pesticide for Sustainable Food Production and Maintained Ecosystems to Strengthen Capacity for Adaptation to Climate Change by Melati Septiyanti
(Organizations: BRIN, Ministry of Agriculture-Malawi and University of Yaounde)
Roundtable Discussion on Improving Innovation Impact
Funding can be a crucial point in the world of technological research. That’s why WAITRO invited Muzamil Abdelkarim, Chairman and CEO at African Trade Alliance, and Jean-Marc-Champagne to discuss how WAITRO members can attract investment to maximize their contribution to the SDGs.
Mr. Abdelkarim mentioned the main issues of creating a fruitful field of Research and Technology in Africa. According to him, even if this continent is rich in minerals and raw materials, the poor management of these resources has impeded the development of a proper technological environment. For Mr. Abdelkarim, RTOs and WAITRO can play a key role here. Some of his thoughts were aligning the interests among RTOs with governments, entrepreneurs, start-ups, communities; involving NGOs and Aid Agencies, which know the problems to be solved; aiming to financial independence rather than only investment; outsourcing R&D programs to WAITRO members; and improving technology transfer.
In response to the question: How do WAITRO members access the bankable solutions? Jean-Marc-Champagne highlighted the commercial side of the projects. According to him, most research projects concentrate on their potential in terms of knowledge and social impact but fail in explaining their ability to make a profit. For Champagne, projects should show big goals, which can produce big value and therefore big impact. Likewise, a project owner or sponsor is essential.
After the deep insights of the two experts, Dr. Burrows named the complexity of matching good projects with available funding. This productive discussion will help WAITRO to work on viable solutions to the challenges faced by its members.
WAITRO Innovation Award 2021 Winners Announcement
The two winning projects of the WAITRO Innovation Award 2021 will be announced on February 3rd here on WAITRO website and on WAITRO Social Media Channels: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.