January 03, 2019

Tata Steel MaterialNEXT to bring together industry and academia on advanced materials

Hosted by Tata Steel Advanced Materials Research Centre in collaboration with E-Cell, IIT Madras

Chennai: Tata Steel Advanced Materials Research Centre (TSAMRC), in collaboration with the Entrepreneurship Cell, IIT Madras is hosting a case study competition ‘Tata Steel MaterialNEXT’ that offers a chance to the budding researcher, technology developer and enthusiasts in the field of advanced materials, to propose, produce and present their solution model to the existing industrial challenges and breakthrough innovations to experts.

‘Tata Steel MaterialNEXT’ evolves through a three-phase route with interactive mentoring sessions by the industry specialist and professors who are working in this field, at each stage. Finally, the top three solutions and teams get recognized and rewarded. Registration for ‘Tata Steel MaterialNEXT’ is open till January 12.

With the growing popularity of graphene and other advanced nanomaterials around the world, it is important to come up with solutions to the industrial problem that occur during manufacturing and commercialisation, not to mention the early development stage these potential technologies are and there is a lot to be figured out especially in the R&D stage.

At Tata Steel, pursuing research in advanced materials is an active process. The work in the area of nanotechnology started almost a decade ago. The company started the Graphene Initiative in 2016 with the opening of the Graphene Centre in Jamshedpur. The objective was to identify applications and establish successful upscaling models and discover potential markets.

Two Tata Steel Advanced Materials Research Centers have also been established, 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 Centers is to work closely with academia and other centres of expertise to strengthen the portfolio of advanced materials research and its applications, including Graphene.

“Graphene and other advanced two-dimensional materials are the materials of tomorrow. The world is moving fast. The next 25 years is going to move faster that is going to bring in need for newer materials that are lighter, have a lower carbon footprint, consume less fuel and need less maintenance by being more corrosion resistant. Initiatives like MaterialNEXT is a step towards shortening of the distance between academia and industry and they play a very critical role in bridging this gap,” said Debashish Bhattacharjee, vice president, technology and new materials business, Tata Steel.

Tata Steel’s sustainable growth aspirations are driven by innovation, guided by values and supported by the efforts towards continuous improvements in the processes, building efficiencies and adding value to the products & solutions while meeting varied requirements.

Participants selected in phase one of ‘Tata Steel MaterialNEXT’ will be assigned mentors after one-on-one interaction with selectors during a conference to be held on January 19. In the second phase, teams will be given 8 weeks to work on their proposals and present their solutions in a competitive evaluation by eminent panels of judges on March 16. The top five teams selected at the end of phase two will move to the third round and grand finale that will be held on April 13.

The competition starts with registration wherein participants in a team of 2 to 3 have to submit their proposals. These will be evaluated by the experts under certain criterion. Selected teams would be invited for a conference (to be held on January 19) to discuss more with their assigned mentors to launch into next level. In the next stage, the selected teams will start working on their proposals under the constant guidance of mentors using available facilities, as per plan.

In the evaluation phase, teams get 8 weeks’ time to work on their proposals. All the performing teams will present their solutions in a competitive evaluation by eminent panels of judges and top five teams will move to the final round. After reiterating on their solutions with feedback received during the evaluation phase, the top five teams will compete in the grand finale to decide the winner and challenges. ‘Tata Steel MaterialNEXT’ Grand Finale will be held on April 13, 2019.