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Seed for Change

About | Apply | Inspiration



The Seed for Change Program (SFC) is 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.

The program aims to develop a vibrant ecosystem for innovation and entrepreneurship in India and Pakistan. Projects in the early ‘seed’ stages are prioritized over start-ups that have previously received support.

India: Winning team will receive up to $40,000. Two runner-up teams will each receive $5,000

Pakistan: Winning team will receive $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 2018 to May 2019. 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.

Deadline for letter of intent: Dec 21, 2018

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 Screen: A 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.