The Innovation for Clean Air (IfCA) was launched in Bengaluru on Wednesday. The two-year UK-India joint initiative provides Indian and UK stakeholders opportunities to test interventions related to air quality and EV integration. Speaking at the IfCA launch on Wednesday, British Deputy High Commissioner Dominic McAllister said: "I am delighted to launch this joint programme. Such collaborative initiatives are an example of how the UK and India can work as a joint force for good on innovative solutions and can bring the best of our research communities, academia and businesses together to address shared challenges, such as clean air."
The initiative provides a unique measurement system for air quality by integrating satellite and sensor data and helping to support India's transition to electric vehicles. The programme is led by Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), and is funded by the Newton Fund with matched resources from various partners in Karnataka and India.
UK Research and Innovation India (UKRI) Director Rebecca Fairbairn said: "This is a really exciting initiative. UKRI has been working with India for over a decade, focussing on excellent research that makes a difference to society and to our economies but this is the first time the UK Catapult network, which drives innovation in highly targeted industries has been implemented here and it demonstrates the creativity possible through India-UK partnership."
The key partners for the programme are the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Enzen, Project Lithium, Confederation of Indian Industries, C40 Cities and Clean Air Platform. Other partners include Citizens for Sustainability, World Resources Institute, Indian Institute for Information Technology Bangalore (IIIT-B), Shakti Foundation, Shell Technology Centre, Global Business Inroads and India Smart Grid Forum. A current UK partner is Earthsense working in collaboration with the Catapults.
Air quality & EV innovation: Bengaluru and London share challenges and opportunities in relation to improving air quality. The two cities are founding partners of the C40 Air Quality Network. The programme will identify innovations that have the potential to improve air quality and provide an environment to test and refine ideas. In parallel, the programme will contribute to a more detailed localised map of the air quality of Bengaluru through the unique combination of satellite and sensor data, including both on-the-ground and mobile data. The programme will identify relevant challenges around EV charging infrastructure, grid management and integrating renewable energy to ensure a sufficient, reliable and clean source power and facilitate opportunities for Indian and UK innovators to collaborate in developing long-lasting relationships to address these challenges.
Innovate UK is funding the UK Catapult network in executing this programme. The UK Catapults network established by the UK government is a network of world-leading organisations focused on driving innovation in specific industrial sectors. They bring together the best businesses, scientists and engineers to work side by side on late-stage research and development. Representatives from the UK Energy Systems, Connected Places and Satellite Applications Catapults are in Bengaluru, Karnataka this week to launch the UK-India Innovating for Clean Air programme. They met stakeholders in Bengaluru, including the state government. Due to the enthusiasm of stakeholders such as the success of Lithium Taxis and BMTC's plan to launch electric buses, the Catapult network has decided to focus on Bengaluru to enhance the progress already made in air quality and electric vehicle transition in Bengaluru.