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Crowdsourcing water solutions with PUB's Global Innovation Challenge

  • Crowdsourcing water solutions with PUB's Global Innovation Challenge
  • Open innovation platform to seek best-in-class solutions that can meet future water needs.

About the entity

PUB Singapore's National Water Agency
PUB is a statutory board under the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources. It is the national water agency that manages Singapore’s water supply, water catchment and used water in an integrated way.

National Water Agency PUB has launched its second edition of the Global Innovation Challenge (GIC), inviting companies and researchers around the world to co-create innovative water solutions that can improve its operational excellence and meet future water needs. This Challenge is part of PUB's efforts to accelerate discovery and adoption of digital solutions and technologies to transform into a Smart Utility of the Future. 

Following the success of the inaugural GIC last year, PUB is pleased to launch its latest edition with four challenge statements: (a) The real-time identification of prohibited organic compounds in sewers, (b) Mapping of underground utilities, (c) Cost-effective rainfall monitoring, and (d) Innovative solutions for coastal protection measures. Shortlisted proposals will receive pilot funding of up to S$250,000 each, mentorship from PUB's in-house experts, access to real-world testbeds in PUB facilities and the opportunity to commercialise these solutions. GIC 2021 is open to all companies, innovators and researchers across the globe from 29 Jun to 10 Aug 2021 (Annex A – GIC 2021 Challenge Statements). 

A launchpad for novel solutions

The first GIC kicked off on 21 Sep 2020, with six challenge statements focused on garnering digital and smart solutions for increased efficiency, productivity and safety in PUB's operations. This pilot run sparked worldwide interest, receiving over 100 submissions from 20 countries over just five weeks. Ten local and foreign companies were subsequently shortlisted to develop their solutions. (Annex B – GIC 2020 Shortlisted Companies). 

GIC 2020 called for solutions in sensor data integrity monitoring, real-time detection of taste and odour compounds in water, seamless coagulation control, automated earth control measure submission evaluation, robotics for water tank cleaning, and automated identification and enumeration of midge populations. 

Orinno Technology, a local company, was awarded for a solution that greatly reduced the manual handling and counting of chironomid (midges) adults and larvae, achieving more than 80% reduction in counting time. Another local company, Flexisolve, collaborated with Switzerland-based company TOFWerkz to propose a solution that can achieve near real-time identification and quantification of organic compounds in water, a significant improvement from the usual 30 minutes required by conventional solutions. This will greatly enhance PUB's water quality monitoring operations in the plants and out on the field. GIC 2020 also attracted companies with no prior presence in Singapore such as Watertight Robotics based in Perth, Western Australia, who submitted their solutions for cleaning of water tanks in Singapore.   

GIC 2021: Crowdsourcing best-in-class solutions globally 

“PUB's inaugural Global Innovation Challenge last year saw a successful run that garnered strong interest from global innovators and technology companies. PUB is continuing our efforts this year in sourcing ground-up solutions from a wider target audience, gleaning ideas from across the globe in our digitalisation journey. We are pleased to support the development, deployment and adoption of these solutions as we ready ourselves to meet Singapore's future water needs", said Dr Pang Chee Meng, Chief Engineering & Technology Officer, PUB, Singapore's National Water Agency. 

The GIC 2021 online information session will be conducted on 14 July 2021, 4pm via Zoom. Interested applicants can find out more information at the website.

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