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Startups challenged to improve CoWIN network

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Rewards totalling Rs 3.85 crores from Grand Challenge launched by health, electronics & IT ministries, entries close on January 15

To harness the talent and innovative ideas of new startups / new technology specialists, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Ministry of Electronics and IT, launched Phase-I of a Grand Challenge to strengthen the COVID Vaccine Intelligence Network (CoWIN Network).

Participating start-ups stand to access rewards totalling Rs 3.85 crores across the implementation pathway.

The Grand Challenge opened for applications on December 22 and will close on January 15, 2021.

The aim is that governments and healthcare organisations start to think beyond the existing CoWIN Network and devise cost-effective mechanisms using emerging technologies including AI and ML to manage COVID-19, to check for better monitoring of vaccinated patients and public in general.

As per a release, this initiative may be further extended to Phase-II to find solutions with respect to different aspects of COVID-19 in the future.

The Phase 1 problem statements provided by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare includes seven areas of focus and technology development for charting out an effective mechanism of COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution System. The statements are followed by a detailed description and two examples of technologies which could solve this problem.

The proposed Grand Challenge with seven pre-identified problem statements tries to tackle challenges relating to infrastructure, monitoring and management information systems, constraints of human resources-including technical capacities, gaps identified in cold chain and vaccine logistics management, massive vaccination of citizen, effective monitoring mechanism for vaccinated population (for adverse effects and appropriate COVID-19 behaviour).

These identified parameters will holistically address the likely limitations associated with complete and effective vaccine distribution system (VDS) and administering across the country.

Implementation mechanism

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

As a second step, the Jury would shortlist the top five 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 activity will be rewarded with Rs. 2 lakh each for covering their logistical needs.

Third, 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.

In the fourth step of the implementation process, after 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 the top two contestants from each thrust area.

The top two contestants from the initial six areas will be rewarded with Rs. 30 lakh and Rs 10 lakh respectively and for the seventh thrust area, (which entails the development of a logistics management information system for end to end logistic, supply chain and inventory management of vaccine) the top two contestants will be rewarded with Rs. 50 lakhs and 25 lakhs.

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