Indian students win prestigious KPMG Ideation Challenge

22 September 2020 3 min. read

A team of four Indian students has won the prestigious KPMG Ideation Challenge, with a concept that leverages sensor imaging, drone technology and a customised algorithm to more accurately locate mineral extraction hotspots.

What results is a far more efficient mining process, where the time, cost and emissions used in locating mineral deposits is cut down significantly. The solution was developed by a team of four from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Dhanbad – formerly known as the Indian School of Mines.

The team from IIT Dhandbad – Team Navacharitam – was up against teams from Zheijand University in China and the University of Florida in the US for the final round. This was after more than 8,000 applicants from 19 countries and more than 500 universities were trimmed down to 17 teams for the contest. To make the finals, IIT Dhanbad already beat more than 75 teams in the Indian edition of the KPMG Ideation Challenge back in February ­– where the mining solution was first developed.

The global competition – originally due to be held in Seoul – was held virtually for the first time, and followed a hackathon format where teams were helped along by developers, data scientists and business consultants from within KPMG's ranks.

Indian students win prestigious KPMG Ideation Challenge

“The panel of judges selected the student team from the Indian Institute of Technology because they addressed a problem with global relevance – safety and sustainability in the mining industry – and developed a solution that was commercially and technically viable,” said Phil Thornley, partner at KPMG Australia. 

He went on to say that the solution had notable potential when it comes to considerations of safety, costs, and the environment. Since developing the solution in February, Team Navacharitam has been working to improve its solutions, collaborating with mining industry experts to gain new insights. The solution is yet to be tested, although a patent is already being developed and investors have shown interest.

According to member of the team Varnika Kumari, plans are to take the solution from strength to strength. “We remain passionate about our innovation and how a solution like this could significantly address critical environmental issues, so our plan now is to bring this idea to life as soon as possible. While we put the finishing touches on our product, we’ll remain in contact with patenting companies with the goal of patenting our technology in major mining countries,” she said.

The three other team member are Sanchit Kumar, Parth Hetamsaria and Srajan Gupta.

Their victory sees them receive $50,000 in seed funding to bring their idea to market with coaching and guidance from KPMG professionals. “We’re grateful to have our idea already backed by KPMG, which helped us get started,” Kumari said.

“To help with additional funding, we will continue to work with investors and leverage our large alumni base to secure additional funds from our university,” she added.