Build solutions for India in the COVID-19 crisis

Join us for “India: Turning the Tide”, a 48-hour virtual event aimed at addressing the most pressing issues arising from the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Apply via the links below!

  • Form teams on Friday, Aug 28th to home in on key problems and generate solutions.
  • Throughout the weekend, connect with mentors from across the industry to refine your solutions.
  • Present your solutions on Sunday, Aug 30th before a panel of expert judges.
  • The best ideas and teams will have the opportunity to co-develop and implement their solution with the support of our partners.
  • Hear from keynote speakers (to be published soon), and connect with many other industry leaders throughout the weekend.

— Event Kickoff —

— Awards Ceremony —

— Congratulations to the Winning Teams —

— Final Presentations —

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— Challenge Prompts —


Health equity considerations and practical solutions need to be promoted for the most vulnerable – individuals subject to social discrimination and stigmatization, migrant workers, patients without proper housing and shelter, populations without access to proper health care and individuals who cannot care for themselves such as the elderly. We look forward to seeing solutions that can help deliver relief to the underserved populations effectively, efficiently and in a timely manner.

Track A:  Supporting marginalized communities confronting the pandemic

The pandemic has disproportionately impacted marginalized communities – primarily, migrant workers who have lost access to basic needs such as housing, healthcare, nutrition, and livelihood.  These communities are also susceptible to higher prevalence and transmission of COVID-19 due to several factors, including the lack of resources necessary to care for themselves and others in the community.

  • What are some innovative ways in which the private sector can partner with NGOs and/or government organizations to develop & implement solutions in healthcare, housing, rehabilitation, and finance to avert any undesirable health impact of migration and/or reverse migration?

  • How can care be delivered to people who are unable to care for themselves or have limited or no access to care?

  • How do we restore normalcy in terms of nutrition and employment in their day-to-day lives?

Track B: Delivering access to quality education in rural and semi-urban areas in times of the pandemic

Due to the disruption caused by the pandemic, educational institutions are scrambling to provide standardized and uninterrupted services to students. At best, educational opportunities are currently available only to those who have access to technology, computers, and the internet.

  • How can we enable continued delivery of high-quality education to children from underprivileged communities without access to technology?

  • How can we support the emotional and social growth of children under such trying conditions?

  • How do educational facilities regroup and restructure to provide reliable and cohesive education to rural students and, what measures are required to transition to normalcy post-COVID-19?

  • How do we as a community support those who are trying to volunteer and educate students during the pandemic?


With the informal economy in India accounting for more than 80% of non-agricultural employment, helping develop policies and forging private-public initiatives are critical in reviving the informal economy. In India, the trade-off between mitigating the spread of virus and reviving the informal economy has been particularly striking. Daily wage workers without employment certainty or safety nets, are facing serious hardships. Whether it is balancing the need for short term cashflows or providing a sustainable model and roadmap to recovery for small business owners and the “gig-economy”, we look forward to solutions that can act as a force multiplier in helping the country stand back up and contribute to net GDP growth.

Track C: Addressing key challenges faced by micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs)

The informal economy is a significant contributor to India’s GDP and employs about 80% of the Indian workforce. More than 94% of India’s female labor force is employed in the informal sector. Roughly 350 million non-migrant, self-employed, small family businesses, and casual labor have been hit by the lockdown. An additional 40 million are estimated to be migrant workers.

  • How can we assist the displaced informal sector workers locally while ensuring their safe return to work? How can MSMEs that require physical labor adhere to social distancing norms while continuing production?

  • What innovative solutions including digitization, e-commerce, etc. can be developed to enable MSMEs to be more resilient and self-sufficient?

  • What are some ways in which we can reinforce financial regulation for the informal workforce as both long term and short-term solutions?

  • How can we identify and support industries that have been most impacted by the pandemic, such as the agriculture sector?

Track D: Best utilization of government and private funds to reactivate the informal economy

Daily wage workers without employment certainty or safety nets are facing serious hardships. It is critical to balance the need for short term cash flows, while providing a sustainable model and roadmap to recovery for small business owners and the “gig-economy”. While there have been several initiatives for relief packages by the government and corporate social responsibility (CSR) benefits, reports highlight problems with respect to both understanding and accessing these resources.

  • How do we make information pertaining to government schemes and CSR programs more readily available to target groups?

  • How do we make sure benefits are easily accessible; including but not limited to supplies, ration and monetary aid?

  • What are the logistics of distributing these resources? How can we create equitable distribution of resources through all sectors, across the nation?

  • What are some ways in which we can increase transparency of the overall process to ensure that the resources reach the right beneficiaries?


The pandemic has caused undue stress on the healthcare sector in India. It has hampered the operational and tactical aspects of healthcare delivery across the country. Physicians, nurses, paramedics and other healthcare workers are overworked and under-appreciated, directly impacting their morale and willingness to serve at a time of crisis. Further, the situation has made it difficult for those affected by the pandemic to seek prompt medical attention or ancillary support services to effectively combat COVID19 and other critical illnesses. We invite the participants to rationalize, ideate and generate innovative solutions by addressing the lack of consistent private sector contribution to COVID therapeutics, irregularity in healthcare costs, increasing accessibility of COVID19 care (both fiscal and physical), strengthening quality check measures of personal protective equipment, ensuring the safety of frontline medical workers, improving testing (capacity, cost, reporting and speed), and any other solutions that can bolster the healthcare system.

Track E: Developing new ways to deliver care in a COVID-19 and post COVID-19 world

The pandemic has caused undue stress on the healthcare sector in India. It has hampered the operational and tactical aspects of healthcare delivery across the country. Further, the situation has made it difficult for those affected by the pandemic to seek prompt medical attention or ancillary support services to effectively combat COVID-19 and other critical illnesses.

  • How can we enhance existing primary healthcare centers to deliver care for non-COVID-19 patients (maternal/fetal health care, nonsurgical emergencies, chronic disease care, etc.)?

  • What are some ways by which we can work towards incorporating technology and tele-healthcare services into existing healthcare systems?

  • How can we improve the coordination of information between testing centers, blood-banks and treatment facilities for the use of convalescent plasma or other scientifically proven methods of treatment?

Track F: Strengthening coordination across healthcare institutions (public and private) to build a robust ecosystem

There is significant information asymmetry and lack of communication of necessary data across the health care sector. There is a pressing and time-sensitive need to optimize recording practices and facilitate information sharing.

  • How can we better collaborate to build a more integrated and robust ecosystem to empower sustainable solutions?

  • How can we help healthcare facilities track the availability of beds and communicate information amongst public and private institutions?

  • How do we best take advantage of available data to plan for surge capacity by converting more private non-COVID-19 facilities to COVID-19 care facilities?

  • How can government and private hospitals coordinate costs of care for COVID-19 patients with more transparency and efficacy?

Track G: Ensuring safety & well-being of frontline workforce & healthcare practitioners

The frontline healthcare workforce including physicians, nurses, paramedics and other healthcare workers are overworked and under-appreciated, directly impacting their morale and ability to serve at a time of crisis. It is especially important that we address the stress and anxiety faced by healthcare workers to prevent burnout.

  • How can we ensure that the front-line workers, physicians, and nurses at hospitals deliver care without jeopardizing their own health with easy access to PPE and mental health support resources?

  • How can we mitigate or eliminate the stigma surrounding healthcare providers during COVID-19 and ensure their safety?

  • How do we manage resource allocation and distribution among the various ranks of the frontline workforce, including but not limited to doctors, paramedics, nurses, sanitation and maintenance workforce?

 Track H: Providing mental health support resources 

The lack of necessary mental health resources and failure to destigmatize mental health problems has been a pressing and consistent issue throughout India for several decades, exacerbated during this COVID-19 pandemic. In these trying and isolating times, such resources are more necessary than ever. Some particularly vulnerable groups during this time are those quarantining alone.

  • How can we increase awareness of potential mental health issues, coping mechanisms and treatment options?

  • How can we provide frontline workforce access to mental health resources while keeping in mind their extensive work hours and alienating circumstances?

  • How can we remove the stigma of accessing mental health resources?

  • What are some ways in which we can increase access to available self-help resources among the affected populations?


Whether its social media posts or other forms of information consumption, there is a constant influx of distrustful information being churned out and spread consciously or unconsciously. With no easy way to fact-check, stopping the propagation of misinformation becomes difficult. At the same time, there are opportunities to help expand the dialogue and remove the “stigma” of COVID19 diagnosis to allow the transparency necessary in limiting transmission, and educating individuals regarding timely healthcare access, PPE disposal, social isolation and much more. We invite the participants to find ways to help accurately identify and stymie the spread of misinformation, while helping find critical information that is essential in combating improperly sensationalized information.

Track I: Highlighting and communicating COVID-19 information that is scientifically accurate

One of the key challenges of the pandemic has been misinformation and disinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic.  This has led to a variety of problems, including stigma from the disease, failing to take appropriate measures, and getting the right treatment.

  • How do we enable seamless flow of trustworthy news and scientific facts to the broader population?

  • How do we equip citizens with the right information to combat the constant, viral stream of distrustful information from social media and other sources?

  • How can we encourage people to take appropriate preventative measures, to seek proper treatment and avoid excessive or incorrect use of unapproved medicines and treatment?

  • What can we do to combat the stigma of COVID-19 that is created due to unbalanced and sensationalized news?

 Track J: Combating poor quality control and fraud during the pandemic

COVID-19 has disrupted the quality and reliability of the healthcare supply chain due to the unexpectedly high demand and supply side issues, such as reduced workforce, last-mile connectivity, and insufficient funds.  This has led to the entry of poor quality, counterfeit, or fraudulent products into the supply chain.

  • How do we arm the public with information and data necessary to deter fraudsters?

  • What defensive mechanisms can suppliers use to keep the counterfeit products out and protect themselves from losses?

  • How do we ensure that the quality of critical supplies such as testing kits and PPE is maintained?

  • How do we ensure transparency in healthcare costs to protect COVID-19 patients from overpaying for healthcare products and services?

— Agenda —

Friday, Aug 28, 2020

Kickoff Meeting

Problem Pitching

Team Formation

Saturday, Aug 29, 2020

Finalized Teams Due

How-to-Pitch Webinar

Practice Pitch Sessions

Sunday, Aug 30, 2020

Practice Pitch Sessions

Final Pitch Slides Due

Final Pitch Presentations

Judge Deliberations

Award Ceremony


— Frequently Asked Questions —

General Information


The MIT COVID-19 Challenge is a series of virtual hackathons. During these hackathons, multi-disciplinary teams will collaborate to develop innovative solutions that can help address the COVID-19 crisis. We are focused on connecting teams with the tools and resources needed to develop mature solutions that can be implemented by our partners. After each event in the Challenge, selected teams will have the opportunity to bring their solutions to life with the support of our partners.


India: Turning the Tide is our next event under the MIT COVID-19 Challenge series, taking place Aug 28-30, 2020.

In this 48-hour virtual event, we will help tackle the most critical unmet needs that have arisen now that we are several months into the COVID-19 outbreak. Participants will form teams on Friday, Aug 28th to home in on key problems and generate solutions, including proof of concepts, prototypes, and preliminary vision for execution. Throughout the weekend, teams will connect with mentors to refine their solutions. On Sunday, Aug 30th, teams will reconvene to present their work before a panel of expert judges. After the weekend, the best ideas and teams will have the opportunity to co-develop and implement their solution with the support of our partners.


This is a virtual event. Teams will work together throughout the two-day event using tools such as Zoom, Google Drive, and/or Slack.


The virtual challenge will take place from Friday, Aug 28th through Sunday, Aug 30th. More information about the schedule will be posted soon.


The Challenge is a 48-hour sprint beginning on Friday afternoon (8/28) and ending on Sunday afternoon (8/30). Since the goal is to rapidly bring meaningful solutions to life, participants should expect to commit Friday evening, most of Saturday, and Sunday morning/early afternoon to the Challenge. Participants do not need to be available 24/7 for the duration of the event but should communicate their availability to team members.


After the weekend, the best ideas and teams will have the opportunity to co-develop and implement their solution with the support of our partners.


Winning teams will receive organizational support, computing resources, and direct access to key partners to further develop, validate and implement solutions developed.


In an effort to expedite the development and implementation of solutions developed in this event, all products and solutions developed in this event will be open source.

All products and solutions developed during this event will be subject to the terms below:

The following terms apply to participation in the India: Turning the Tide COVID-19 event. Entrants may create original solutions, prototypes, datasets, scripts, or other content, materials, discoveries or inventions (a “Submission”). This event is organized by the MIT COVID19 Challenge: India Turning The Tide Organizing Team.

Entrants retain ownership of all intellectual and industrial property rights (including moral rights) in and to Submissions.

As a condition of submission, Entrant grants the event Organizer, its subsidiaries, agents and partner companies, without restrictions, a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to use, reproduce, adapt, modify, publish, distribute, publicly perform, create a derivative work from, and publicly display the Submission.

Entrants provide Submissions on an “AS IS” BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied, including, without limitation, any warranties or conditions of TITLE, NON-INFRINGEMENT, MERCHANTABILITY, or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.

Entrant represents and warrants that, to the best of his or her knowledge, any work product is Entrant’s own original work and is not within the intellectual property rights of any third party, including any former or current employers. If you are unsure, you should consult any former or current employment agreement to which you are a party. Under no circumstances will the event Organizer be liable to you or any third party for any damages, direct or otherwise, arising out of use of this event’s work product.



We are seeking a diverse group of participants. Participants ages 13+ of all experience levels, professional and academic backgrounds, and skill sets are welcome; what matters most is your commitment to making an impact and your willingness to collaborate.


No! Participants of all academic and professional backgrounds are welcome! Technical or medical experience is always helpful, but it is not required.


No! Participants do not need to be affiliated with MIT, just need to be eager to Turn The Tide! As above, technical or medical experience is always helpful, but it is not required.


Please complete the application form found here. We have extended the deadline from AUG 24th to AUG 26th due to popular demand and in an effort to accept all ideas that have a potential to make a difference. Applications are now due by Aug 26th, 12:00 PM US Eastern Boston/New York Time (Aug 26th 9:30 PM IST). If you are applying with a team, all team members must submit individual applications.


Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, and our review team will try its best to respond to applications within a few days of receiving them. The latest you should hear back by is the afternoon on Thursday, Aug 27.


Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Emphasis will be placed on ensuring  a diversity of skill sets and demographics are represented among participants. You will receive an email from the MIT COVID19 Challenge team with an update regarding your acceptance.


Participants will work together in teams of 5-7 members. We strongly encourage participants to apply individually, and form teams at the event – this event is not designed for pre-existing teams other than teams continuing from the previous Beat the Pandemic event. We will form teams based on interest and experience upon reviewing applications. Please see team formation process at the end of this page.


The Challenge is focused on solving some of the most pressing problems that are resulting from the COVID-19 crisis. Participants are encouraged to come with these problems in mind, but you don’t need to have an answer in hand. You’ll work with teams to develop solutions that will have a meaningful impact on the COVID-19 crisis.


Teams will be connected with technical resources, data sets, developer platforms and experienced mentors throughout the weekend to help them create, iterate, build, and develop solutions as quickly as possible.



Please complete the application form found here.


Mentors will work with teams based on their experience and expertise. Mentors do not need to be available for the entire weekend. Once mentors have been accepted, they will select one or more 2-3 hour shifts that best accommodate their schedule.


Thank you for your interest! Please email A member of the organizing team will contact you to determine how your organization’s expertise, resources, and reach can be most effectively utilized as part of this effort.



If you have additional questions or press inquiries, please email:

Team formation process Diagram