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Seed for Change


The Seed for Change Program aims to develop a vibrant ecosystem for innovation and entrepreneurship in India and Pakistan through an annual competition run by the Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute, Harvard University (The Mittal Institute), in which grant prizes will be awarded to interdisciplinary student projects that positively impact societal, economic, and environmental issues in India and Pakistan. Projects in the early ‘seed’ stages are prioritized rather than start ups that, while they may be in stages of infancy, have previously received substantial support.

  • Up to two runner-up teams may receive up to $5,000.
  • The winning team will receive up to $40,000.
  • The winning team will receive up to $15,000.

Teams must have at least one current Harvard student at the time of submission. This can include undergraduate students, graduate students, or postdoctoral fellows. The maximum number of people per team is four.

All applicants will submit a formal proposal and selected applicants will be asked to participate in a pitch presentation in late March. The tiered review process involves an initial internal review of feasibility, methodology, and ethical implications. The review panel will recommend proposals for the pitch presentation.

At the pitch presentation, three finalists for each India and Pakistan projects will be chosen by a panel of faculty. Finalists will then develop their project before the showcase event in May, where the grand prize winners will be announced. Grants will be used for the duration of one year, from May 2019 to May 2020. The grant prize will contribute to the establishment of partnerships with local organizations, and experiments to test the viability of ideas in India and Pakistan.



Final Deadline to apply: February 8, 2019  

For undergraduate students, please use the undergraduate application link.
For graduate students, please use the graduate application link.

Applications that are not complete will not be considered.

The Seed for Change competition is made possible by a generous grant from KP Balaraj MBA ’97 and Sumir Chadha MBA ‘97.

2018 Winners

Green ScreenA zero-electricity passive air cooling panel installed in urban slums, made entirely of agricultural waste. The team developed the idea in The Mittal Institute Director Professor Tarun Khanna’s class on Contemporary Developing Countries: Entrepreneurial Solutions to Intractable Problems. It is designed to be used in New Delhi, whose intense pollution and heat are interconnected problems, substantially attributed to the 27 million tonnes of agricultural waste annually burned outside the city, the smoke from which hangs over Delhi and traps in heat, producing the urban heat island effect on a massive scale.

Umbulizer: The team is developing a reliable, low-cost, portable device that can provide continuous ventilation to patients in resource-limited settings in Pakistan.