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Tata Steel announces winner of its open innovation programme MaterialNEXT 3.0

Jamshedpur, June 06, 2022


~ Winning team created Self-powering Sensor to Detect Pre-diabetes in Human Breath ~

~ 1st Runner-up team created Facile, Low-cost and Scalable Process for 2D Materials ~

~ 2nd Runner-up team created Pure H2 from H2S via a greener electrochemical approach ~

~ Third edition witnessed 278 team registrations and 166 active ideas ~


Team ‘Nano Tribe’ of IIT Hyderabad was declared the winner of the third edition of 'Tata Steel MaterialNEXT’ at the Finale held in Jamshedpur on June 1, 2022. The team comprising Sushmitha Veeralingam, Hari Prakash, and Jaladurgam Eshwari, was mentored by Dr Sushmee Badhulika and presented the solution titled ‘self-powering sensor to detect pre-diabetes in human breath’. The winning team received a cash prize of Rs 5 lakh.

Team ‘Materials Engineering lab’ of the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (IACS) Kolkata showcased the solution titled ‘facile, high yield and room temperature synthesis process for two-dimensional (2D) materials’ and secured the 1st runner-up slot. The members, Sukhendu Maity and Dr. Krishnendu Sarkar, were mentored by Dr. Praveen Kumar and received a cash prize of Rs 2.5 lakh. Team ‘TCN-IITRPR.’ of IIT Ropar which showcased the solution titled ‘Recovery of pure hydrogen from H2S by greener electrochemical approach’, bagged the 2nd runner-up position. This team, consisting of a member Mukesh Kumar, was mentored by Dr. C N Tharamani and received a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh.

Congratulating all the winners and the finalists, T. V. Narendran, Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director, Tata Steel, said: "Knowledge and Technology have emerged as key enablers for driving value creation and enhancing the geopolitical worth of our country. As India moves forward to become a $10 trillion economy in the next few decades while also realising its net zero ambitions, it is imperative we achieve this in a clean, smart, and innovative way. At Tata Steel, our endeavour has been to tap into the innovation ecosystem that exists outside of the Company, work with scientific establishments, academic institutions, and start-ups to create sustainable solutions and accelerate our journey to becoming a technology leader in the metals and mining space. The breakthrough ideations, initiatives and innovations evolved by the young minds, who participated in the competition, are indeed laudable and offer a glimpse into exciting times ahead.”

On the occasion, Dr. Debashish Bhattacharjee, Vice President, Technology & New Materials Business, Tata Steel, said: "Technological excellence of an organisation does not happen in isolation, it needs a highly capable and supportive ecosystem. Students and academia form the foundation of such an ecosystem of a country. I am happy to see that through this open innovation event, we are able to attract bright young minds guided by talented faculties to come out with bold ideas which can soon become reality. I congratulate the winning team and appreciate the efforts of all the participants of MaterialNEXT 3.0."

The remaining five teams in the top eight, won a cash prize of Rs 25,000 each for demonstrating their innovative solutions and ideas. This edition of MaterialNEXT received registrations from 278 teams, with final 166 active ideas.

The grand finale jury comprised Dr Indranil Chattoraj (Director, CSIR-NML, Jamshedpur), Dr Debashish Bhattacharjee (VP, Technology & New Materials Business, Tata Steel), Peeyush Gupta (VP, Supply Chain, Tata Steel), and Ashish Anupam (MD, Tata Steel Long Products Limited) while other delegates in attendance included Chiefs, Heads, Principal Scientists and researchers of Technology and New Materials Business division.

MaterialNEXT, a flagship pan-India competition organised by Tata Steel Advanced Materials Research Centres (TSAMRC), focuses on nurturing 'open innovation' in emerging domains of materials and their application. MaterialNEXT was launched on December 28, 2018, coinciding with the birthday of Ratan N Tata, Chairman Tata Trusts and Chairman Emeritus Tata Sons.

The third edition looked at innovation in the domains of sustainability and materials. Both these domains had two areas each under them, which further split into multiple sub-areas, in terms of current and future industry relevance. Proposals were invited in these sub-areas through the ‘Research’ or ‘Start-up’ tracks after registration.

While 'Research' track was open to aspiring registered PG and PhD students and research scholars from academia/research centres across India, 'Start-up' allowed incubated startups in seed or Series A funding level to participate. MaterialNEXT 3.0 also had total 4 Theme Areas open to both tracks, viz. Materials Recycle & Recovery, Hydrogen & CO2, Alternate Construction and Nano Materials. Across both the tracks, teams competed for cash prizes, mentorship, and grants for the next level of project development.

The innovation programme consisted of three major phases: Selection, Performance and Finale. After registration, the Selection phase involved a 2-stage process of online screening, followed by a discussion-cum-evaluation stage, conducted by subject matter experts. The selected entries then progressed to the Performance phase, which was adjudicated through an evaluation (Pre-Finale) round, which culminated in the Finale on June 1, 2022.

At Tata Steel, pursuing research in advanced materials is an active process. The work in Nanotechnology started a decade ago. The Company started the Graphene Initiative in 2016, with the opening of the Graphene Centre in Jamshedpur. By 2018, Tata Steel in India embarked on the journey towards becoming a technology leader in steel and materials business with the opening of New Materials Business division, focusing on composites and ceramics. Two Tata Steel Advanced Materials Research Centres were established during FY17, one at Chennai in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IITM), and the other at Bengaluru, in collaboration with the Center for Nano and Soft Matter Sciences (CeNS). The objective of these centres is to work closely with academia and other Centers of Expertise to build the portfolio of advanced materials research and its applications.

About Tata Steel MaterialNEXT

‘Tata Steel MaterialNEXT’, a flagship open innovation programme organised by Tata Steel Advanced Materials Research Centre, offers a chance to the budding researchers, technology developers and enthusiasts in the field of advanced materials, to explore ideas to design and innovate applications and use of advanced materials in emerging areas. For more details, visit:

About Tata Steel

Tata Steel group is among the top global steel companies with an annual crude steel capacity of 34 million tonnes per annum. It is one of the world's most geographically diversified steel producers, with operations and commercial presence across the world. The group recorded a consolidated turnover of US $ 32.83 billion in the financial year ending March 31, 2022.

A Great Place to Work-CertifiedTM organisation, Tata Steel Limited, together with its subsidiaries, associates, and joint ventures, is spread across five continents with an employee base of over 65,000. Tata Steel has been a part of the DJSI Emerging Markets Index since 2012 and has been consistently ranked amongst top 10 steel companies in the DJSI Corporate Sustainability Assessment since 2016. Besides being a member of ResponsibleSteelTM, worldsteel’s Climate Action Programme and World Economic Forum’s Global Parity Alliance, Tata Steel has won several awards and recognitions including the World Economic Forum’s Global Lighthouse recognition for its Jamshedpur, Kalinganagar and IJmuiden Plants, and Prime Minister’s Trophy for the best performing integrated steel plant for 2016-17. The Company, ranked as India’s most valuable Metals & Mining brand by Brand Finance, featured amongst CII Top 25 innovative Indian Companies in 2021 and top 10 sustainable organisations of India Hurun Research Institute in the 2021 Capri Global Capital Hurun India Impact 50, received Steel Sustainability Champion recognition from worldsteel for five years in a row, ‘Most Ethical Company’ award 2021 from Ethisphere Institute, RIMS India ERM Award of Distinction 2021, Masters of Risk - Metals & Mining Sector recognition at The India Risk Management Awards for the sixth consecutive year, and Award for Excellence in Financial Reporting FY20 from ICAI, among several others.

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Statements in this press release describing the Company’s performance may be “forward looking statements” within the meaning of applicable securities laws and regulations. Actual results may differ materially from those directly or indirectly expressed, inferred or implied. Important factors that could make a difference to the Company’s operations include, among others, economic conditions affecting demand/ supply and price conditions in the domestic and overseas markets in which the Company operates, changes in or due to the environment, Government regulations, laws, statutes, judicial pronouncements and/ or other incidental factors.

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Sarvesh Kumar

Chief, Corporate Communications - Tata Steel