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Govt of India launches Grand Challenge for strengthening COVID Vaccine Intelligence Network with Rs 3.85 crore total prize, read details

The top 2 shortlisted applicants will be awarded Rs 40 lakhs and Rs 20 lakhs respectively after their developed solutions are successfully migrated on the cloud on which India's digitalised platform for vaccine distribution CoWIN is hosted

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) along with Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) have announced a Grand Challenge for strengthening the COVID Vaccine Intelligence Network (CoWIN) system, a digitalized platform to be used to effectively roll out and scale up the mechanism of COVID Vaccine Distribution System, nationally. A total of ₹3.85 crore will be distributed as prizes for selected submissions for the vaccine network.

MoHFW throws a challenge for innovators to build a scalable, robust solution for COVID vaccine distribution

The challenge invites participation from innovative startups and emerging technology specialists to augment and scale the CoWIN platform. It is to be launched on the MSH (MeitY Startup Hub) portal, a collaborative platform developed under the aegis of MeitY towards building meaningful synergies in the Indian tech startup space. The participants may register themselves at the MeitY Startup Hub from 23rd December 2020 to 15th January 2021 to take part in the challenge.

Announcing the launch of the program, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said “India’s innovators have played a crucial role in our fight against COVID19. I invite innovators and startups for grand challenge to strengthen CoWIN platform for roll out of COVID19 vaccination program across India.”

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has identified seven focus areas of technology development to holistically address the likely limitations associated with the complete and effective vaccine distribution system (VDS) and its seamless administration across India.

The notification released by the Press Information Bureau said that the challenge is thrown open to the innovators to address areas relating to infrastructure, monitoring and management, dynamic learning and information systems, constraints of human resources-including technical capacities, vaccine logistics management and tracking enlisted beneficiaries for any adverse event following immunization on a real-time basis.

The participants will have to find solutions to the following seven problems identified in the Covid Vaccine distribution.

  1. How to achieve High Adherence rate from front line Health workers (ANM, ASHA, AWW and any other health workers deployed for line listing) for CoWIN application.
  2. How to ensure portability across the country to account for travel/migration between vaccination sessions and across geography.
  3. How to ensure that Vaccine Transportation is as per the route plan and safe.
  4. How to have system generated Queue management and social distancing at Vaccination session sites.
  5. How to report AEFI (Adverse Event Following Immunization) and AESI (Adverse Event of Special Interest) using a system.
  6. How to have a comprehensive & innovative Learning Management System and dynamic learning support for COVID management.
  7. Development of Logistic Management Information System for end to end logistic, supply chain and inventory management of vaccine.

Monetary rewards for the applicants with promising solutions

The top 5 applicants shortlisted in the challenge will be provided with CoWIN APIs (Application Programming Interface) to prove the efficacy of their solutions for possible integration with the platform. The solutions will be tested for their integration with the platforms through open APIs and for their robustness and scalability.

Each shortlisted applicant stands a chance to win a monetary reward of Rs 2 lakhs covering their logistical requirements. Besides, top 2 applicants will be awarded Rs 40 lakhs and 20 lakhs respectively after their developed solutions are successfully migrated on the cloud on which CoWIN is hosted, apart from their integration with CoWIN.

The detailed implementation mechanism for the Grand Challenge will be as follows:

1. The applications would be scrutinized initially. Based on the initial scrutiny,  top 25 applicants from each thrust area will pitch their solutions before a Jury comprising of experts in the area of IT and Health/ Immunization etc. especially constituted to adjudicate the contestants.

2. The Jury would shortlist the top 05 applicants from each thrust area who will be provided the CoWIN APIs for showing the efficacy of their respective solutions for possible integration with the CoWIN platform. Each shortlisted applicant for the said activity will be rewarded with Rs. 2 Lakh each for covering their Logistical needs.

3. The solutions as integrated with the CoWIN platform through open APIs will again be assessed by the Jury. Prior to this, STQC and iCERT will be entrusted to perform functional/ scalability/security testing of the solutions.

4. Subsequent to the successful migration of the solution on the cloud on which the CoWIN is hosted, in addition to it being successful integration with CoWIN the Jury will select top 2 contestants from each thrust area. Top 2 contestant from initial six areas will be rewarded with Rs. 30 Lakh and 10 Lakh respectively and for 7th thrust area top 2 contestant will be rewarded with Rs. 50 lakhs and 25 lakhs.

The rights for the resultant IPR that is created or developed or otherwise resulting directly or indirectly from the winner of the challenge will rest with the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare Government of India. For further leveraging the solutions, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare will at its discretion can further provision the said IP to any entity/country engaged in distribution or management of Covid-19 related vaccine delivery or handling and treatment of Covid 19 pandemic. The IPR rights for the solution provisioned by the challenge winner(s) will rest with the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare Government of India. However, the base IP on which the dedicated solution for CoWIN has been developed by the challenge winner will still rest with the original winner of the said IP and it can be used for purposes other than covid-19 related applications.

The Indian Tech start-ups, MSMEs, Companies, Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs) registered in India under Companies Act can apply in this challenge. The entity must have 51% or more shareholding with Indian citizen or person of Indian origin, and the entity should not be a subsidiary company of any foreign corporation. To  encourage  participation  from  academia  and  industry, participating teams not mandatorily registered as Companies/ startups/ MSMEs/ LLPs can also apply  for  the Grand Challenge for Strengthening CoWIN. However, the teams making it to the Stage-2 will be required to apply for registration as Indian Startups/ Company/ MSMEs/ LLPs. It will be expected that by the time of selection at the final stage, necessary registration has been completed.

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