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November 5, 2015

Urban Labs launches innovation challenge to design Delhi

This December, the University of Chicago Urban Labs will launch the Delhi Innovation Challenge, a program aimed at alleviating environmental issues in India’s third-largest city.

According to Emma Berndt, the executive director of the UChicago Energy and Environment Lab, the purpose of this challenge is to explore which urban policy interventions work, why they work, and whom they benefit.

“The Delhi Innovation Challenge will crowdsource the best local ideas from the community, provide funding for these projects, and partner with the city to rigorously evaluate and scale effective programs,” she said.

The University of Chicago Urban Labs will provide up to 20 million rupees—the equivalent of $300,000—to implement the winning idea after its evaluation by Urban Labs researchers. The competition will solicit ideas for energy and environmentally-focused programs from Delhi’s citizens, civil leaders, corporations, and other institutions. The most promising projects will be evaluated by Urban Labs researchers and tested in Delhi.

The Delhi Innovation Challenge builds on several other successful innovation challenges that Urban Labs has sponsored in the Chicago area. One such challenge was the Urban Labs Innovation Challenge, for which the winners were recently announced.

The Delhi Innovation Challenge, the Urban Labs’ first international venture, is the result of a new partnership between UChicago Urban Labs, UChicago’s Energy Policy Institute, and the Delhi government.

“We see this innovation challenge as a promising way to identify, test, and scale up ways to meet future energy needs while minimizing air and water pollution,” Berndt said. “If successful, the winning idea could become a policy solution implemented by the government. It could eventually provide an important model for other cities across the world to follow.”

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