Infosys arm to hold 8-week contest for students to address malnutrition in India

The winners receive a Rs 5 lakh-scholarship, and the opportunity to watch an ISRO rocket launch

Global software major's Infosys Science Foundation will hold an eight-week online contest for teenage students across India on finding a solution to malnutrition among children below five years and pregnant women, said the not-for-profit organisation on Thursday, 23 August, 2018.

"The contest will be held for eight weeks for 1,000 students in 13-18 years age group enrolling before it commences on 10 September on an online platform," said the Foundation in a statement.

The contestants can work solo or in virtual teams of up to six members from across the country.

The competition will run on Launchpad, an online platform designed to facilitate global collaboration and problem-solving.

During the challenge, solvers will get help from mentors and experts in nutrition. They will be available on the digital platform to advise any team developing a solution.

Malnutrition also affects career prospects and productivity of the economy.

"The contest addresses a range of issues, including a solution to a social problem, develop empathy for their peers in India and promoting scientific thinking in the young students," said the statement.

School boys waiting in line for their free mid-day meal at a government-run school in Delhi. Reuters

The nine-year-old Foundation is collaborating with the New York Academy of Sciences to hold the nutrition challenge on its virtual platform.

"According to the National Health and Family Survey 2015-16, around 35 percent of children in India suffer from malnutrition, a condition that can cause stunted growth and negative health effects," said Foundation Trustee T V Mohandas Pai in the statement.

Pai was on the board of the city-based IT major as Director, Head of its Human Resources, Chief Executive of back office operations and Chief Financial Officer till 2011. He is currently Chairman of the Manipal Global Education.

The 200-year-old Academy is popular in the global scientific community.

An expert panel will judge the solutions and winners announced in December.

Winners will be selected based on deployment of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) skills to present a viable solution to the challenge.

The winning team will receive a scholarship of Rs 5 lakh per team member, and the two top finalist teams will view the launch of a rocket at the state-run Indian Indian Space Research Organisation rocketport at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, about 90km northeast of Chennai in Tamil Nadu.

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