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News
5 November 2015

Accolades for innovation

Three researchers from the developing world have won awards in a competition sponsored by TWAS and ISTIC for ideas that could produce significant health and environmental benefits.

The International Science, Technology and Innovation Centre for South-South Cooperation (ISTIC) and TWAS have honoured three researchers for their creative and highly promising approaches to serious challenges. 

The winners of the ISTIC-TWAS Competition for Successful Innovation in Science and Technology in Developing Countries are: 

  • First prize: Osman Hasan, head of the Research Department for the National University of Science and Technology's School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in Islamabad, Pakistan. Hasan and his colleagues created a simulation programme to help Pakistani surgeons learn the techniques needed to perform cutting-edge, minimally invasive surgeries. The simulation programmes are normally too expensive for medical schools and teaching hospitals in the developing world, but Hasan’s is available at one-tenth the normal cost. 
  • Second prize: Tonni Agustiono Kurniawan, an associate professor at Xiamen University's College of the Environment & Ecology in Xiamen, China. Kurniawan and his colleagues explored ways to use microbes to release energy in urban wastewater and provide a power source. The method also removes toxic substances from the wastewater, helping to make it drinkable for the public.
  • Third prize: Md Sarwar Jahan, principal scientific officer of the Pulp and Paper Research Division of the Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research Laboratories in Dhaka,Bangladesh.Jahan and his colleagues created an environmentally friendly method for using agricultural waste, such as rice straw, to create industrially useful pulp. This in turn creates a new source of revenue for farmers.

The project identifies, rewards and then disseminates innovative uses of science and technology in developing new products, processes or services that have been beneficial to the South’s economic development. New ideas are needed to generate solutions to humankind’s greatest problems, and these ideas can come in many forms: from a brand new technique to making the tools of science more accessible and affordable. 

The three best presentations were honoured during a workshop in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from 10-11 October. They received cash prizes of USD5,000, USD3,000 and USD2,000 respectively. 

Sean Treacy

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