Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) Prof. Thalappil Pradeep has won one of the ‘VinFuture Prizes’, which are awarded annually in four categories. Recipients were selected from nearly 1,000 nominations across 71 countries.
The Special Prize dedicated to ‘Innovators from Developing Countries’ was awarded to Prof. Pradeep for his development of a low-cost filtration system to remove arsenic and other heavy metals from groundwater.
This can help hundreds of millions of people around the world living with contaminated water get access to clean water. Prof. T. Pradeep, IIT Madras, received the VinFuture Prize at the award ceremony in Hanoi, Vietnam, on 20th December 2022. Prof. Pradeep has been recognized earlier with Padma Shri, Nikkei Asia Prize, and Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water among many others and his technologies are delivering clean water to over 1.2 crore people.
The VinFuture Grand Prize is valued at US$3 million – one of the largest ever annual prizes globally. It also includes three special prizes, each valued at US$ 500,000, given to female innovators, developing country innovators, and innovators with outstanding achievements in emerging fields.
Thanking the Awards jury for recognizing this research, Prof. T. Pradeep, Institute Professor, Department of Chemistry, IIT Madras, said, “This recognizes everyone who worked with me, everyone who has been benefited from the work and those who enabled the translation of our work. At the same time, I am aware of the huge gap yet to be bridged to deliver clean water to everyone. I hope that this recognition will help in realizing that dream. I thank my institute which gave me everything. I thank my country, which made me stand up.”
Prof. Pradeep discovered affordable and sustainable nanomaterials to produce clean water. The arsenic and other materials removed by these materials do not impact the surrounding environment. This method, employing simple designs, provides a means to purify groundwater at a low cost to reach millions of impacted households. In remote areas, this technology is more advantageous because it does not require electricity.
Commenting on the results of the 2022 VinFuture Prize, Prof. Sir Richard Friend, VinFuture Prize Council Chair, stated, “The VinFuture Prize 2022 received an impressive number of high-quality nominations in a wide range of fields from countries all over the world. The scientific works awarded are all research projects that have changed, and are continuing to change the lives of billions of people, and will serve as a strong foundation for sustainable development in the future.”
“The VinFuture Prize Council is honoured to award brilliant scientific minds for their outstanding innovations. It is my hope that the prize will contribute to promoting scientific research, create more breakthroughs that can positively impact society, and help build a better life for everyone. This is a mission and responsibility that we take very seriously,” Prof. Sir Richard Friend added.
ABOUT THE VINFUTURE PRIZE
The VinFuture Prize lies at the heart of the VinFuture Foundation, an independent, not-for-profit organization set up by Mr. Phạm Nhật Vượng, the first Vietnamese billionaire and founder of the largest Vietnamese conglomerate, Vingroup, together with his wife, Mrs. Phạm Thu Hương. The Prize was launched on International Solidarity Day 2020 to recognize exceptional inventors and researchers from global academic institutions, research labs, and industry to honour breakthrough scientific research and technological innovations that create meaningful change in the everyday lives of millions of people.
ABOUT IIT MADRAS
Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM) was established in 1959 by the Government of India as an ‘Institute of National Importance.’ The activities of the Institute in various fields of Science and Technology are carried out in 16 academic departments and several advanced interdisciplinary research academic centres. The Institute offers undergraduate and postgraduate programmes leading to B.Tech., M.Sc., M.B.A., M.Tech., M.S., and Ph.D., degrees in a variety of specialisations. IITM is a residential institute with more than 600 faculty and 9,500 students. Students from 18 countries are enrolled here. IITM fosters an active entrepreneurial culture with strong curricular support and through the IITM Incubation Cell. Recognized as an Institution of Eminence (IoE) in 2019, IITM has been ranked No.1 in the ‘Overall’ Category for the fourth consecutive year in India Ranking 2022 released by National Institutional Ranking Framework, Ministry of Education, Govt. of India. The Institute has also been ranked No.1 in the ‘Engineering Institutions’ category in the same Rankings for seven consecutive years – from 2016 to 2022. It was also adjudged as the ‘Top innovative Institution’ in the country in Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA) in 2019, 2020 and 2021. ARIIA Ranking was launched by the Innovation Cell of Ministry of Education.