Vale offers $1M for COVID-19 innovations
Global miner seeks quick, effective solutions to pandemic Metal Tech News Weekly Edition – April 8, 2020
Last updated 6/27/2020 at 5:45am
Vale, a Brazil-based mining company with operations in Canada and around the globe, is challenging innovators to come up with solutions to minimize the societal impacts of COVID-19 and is offering US$1 million to get those innovations deployed to those who need them as quickly as possible.
"Around the globe, industries and individuals alike are working diligently to find innovative solutions to combat this invisible enemy," said Vale North Atlantic Operations and Asian Refineries Officer Dino Otranto. "Through this challenge, Vale will be able to support the activation of solutions that have a real potential to positively impact the trends of this virus."
Vale's COVID-19 Challenge is accepting innovative ideas in three categories – risk monitoring and prevention; patient monitoring; and open challenge.
Vale said educational and preventive measures are vital to containing the global spread of this latest strain of coronavirus, which is what the risk monitoring and prevention category focuses on.
"Educational and preventive measures are important ways to help contain and manage the spread of the virus. Doing this effectively relies on identifying risk areas, educating the population, preventing new contamination, and ensuring the safety of people working in essential services," the global mining company penned on a webpage it has set up for the COVID-19 Challenge.
Under Risk Monitoring and Prevention, Vale is looking for solutions that:
• Allow access to reliable information.
• Leverage existing data to improve what we know about COVID-19.
• Help protect people involved in essential services.
• Help guarantee the supply of protective equipment.
• Allow basic access to sanitation and hygiene.
• Provide geographical reference of people affected by COVID-19.
• Identify risk zones.
• Improve isolation areas.
The primary global strategy for slowing and stopping the spread of COVID-19 is social isolation. While, if done diligently, this can slow and even stop the spread of the contagion, it poses its own set of challenges – irritability, anguish, uncertainty and financial hardship to name a few.
In addition, patients with mild symptoms are being asked to treat those symptoms from home, to avoid taking away hospital care for patients who are severely affected by the virus.
The patient monitoring category of the challenge is seeking physical, mental health and wellness solutions for:
• People who are in quarantine.
• People at-risk of contracting a severe form of COVID-19.
• Professionals who work in essential services.
• Healthcare professionals.
• Bringing medicine to isolated communities, regions, and countries.
The open challenge seeks solutions that address problems in areas such as logistics, nutrition, health process improvements, information systems, connectivity and exponential technologies, employment and income to minimize the impact of COVID-19 – so long as they are at a stage of maturity for immediate application.
Part of the objective of Vale's challenge is to get solutions deployed as quickly as possible. As such, the deadline for registering an idea to the challenge is April 9 and the winner will be announced on April 24.
The idea is to generate low- to zero-cost solutions and can be deployed to the end-user within 15 days from the approval date.
Vale has partnered with experts from the healthcare sector who will assist in the technical evaluation of the submissions – Dr. Ken Jenkins, Horizon Occupational Health Solutions; Dr. Farrell Cahill, Medisys; Dr. Greg Ross, Health Sciences North Sudbury; and Don Duval, NORCAT, has joined members of Vale's leadership team to evaluate the solutions submitted in Canada.
Vale has also invited companies, universities, institutions and others to help identify the challenges, optimize solutions, and co-invest in large-scale production.
Each of the COVID-19 Challenge winners will receive US$200,000 for their solution; access to other institutions that support the challenge; and use of the Vale Artificial Intelligence Center.
More information on the Vale COVID-19 Challenge, how to submit a solution and how to become a challenge partner can be found at http://www.vale.com/canadacovid19challenge.