ARUNIMA S, Kesava DK, Leela J, Prithve S, and Sandeep R emerged victorious at the Infosys Science Foundation Nutrition Challenge, an innovation challenge that seeks to use STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) skills to effectively combat malnutrition among expectant mothers and children under the age of five.
The Infosys Science Foundation (ISF) recently announced the results of the challenge. The winning project centered around an effective distribution method of a cheap, edible, water-soluble nutrient pod to Anganwadi centers for use in mid-day meals.
The virtual challenge, hosted by the ISF and conducted by the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS) saw over 3000 students from around the country express interest in it. The top two winning teams will visit the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) at Sriharikota to witness the launch of a rocket. They will also get a membership to the Junior Academy of the NYAS. In addition, each member of the winning team will receive an education scholarship of INR 5 lakh.
Participating teams worked with mentors who were experts from the fields of nutrition and STEM. They also leveraged a series of curated learning resources and TEDx-style talks by leading experts.
Members of the winning team collaborated virtually as they were from different cities in India. The solution designed by the team centers around the effective distribution of a nutrient pod. The pod can be used as a supplement for mid-day meals and provides one-third of the daily RDA recommended doses of iron, zinc, omega-3, folate, and calcium. A single pod is capable of supplementing 50 mid-day meals and is simple to use. The team used this existing product idea and created a smart application and delivery mechanism so it reaches the target audience directly through the wide network of Anganwadis in the country.
The Infosys Science Foundation congratulated the winners of the Nutrition Challenge. One of the primary objectives of the challenge was to encourage young people to apply their STEM skills to solve a problem. “We chose malnutrition as the topic as it has been one of India’s most persistent challenges. We hoped that this would also raise awareness and a sympathetic understanding of the problem among this generation,” said Mohandas Pai, trustee – Infosys Science Foundation.
The winners for 2018 were chosen from 20 finalists by a judging panel consisting Mohandas Pai (trustee, Infosys Science Foundation), Dr Seema Puri, (University of Delhi), Dr Purnima Menon (International Food Policy Research Institute) and Dr Maike Rahn (PepsiCo Global R&D).