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The team working on the AI for TB diagnosis in Southern Africa.

The fifth call of Frontier Technology Livestreaming has concluded and the latest cohort of pilot ideas and DFID Pioneers has been chosen.

This was a call unlike any other, for reasons you might well suspect. This time round, a significant proportion of those who applied sought to use technology specifically to address the pandemic and its related impacts. We look forward to working with all of the teams who applied to make speedy, positive progress together.

From increasing the transparency of mining in DR Congo using Blockchain, to tackling COVID-19 with the use of solar technology, ten exciting project proposals…


COVIDaction: building a technology and innovation pipeline to support the pandemic response

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What role could technology play in the overall response to COVID-19?

Are there specific sectors or thematic areas that could most benefit from technology?

Where are the pockets of innovative action and ingenuity ready to be captured and scaled for greater, more far reaching benefit?

How might we best support the best thinking to scale and integrate with systems leaving them stronger in the long run?

COVIDaction is a partnership between the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office’s Frontier Technology Hub, Global Disability Innovation Hub (GDI Hub), UCL’s Institute of Healthcare Engineering along with other collaborators, designed to explore these questions.


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#COVIDaction, a partnership between DFID’s Frontier Technology Hub, Global Disability Innovation Hub (GDI Hub), UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering along with other collaborators will be working to build a technology and innovation pipeline to support action related to the COVID pandemic.

The partnership will work together to:

  • SCAN for technology innovation mobilised on the ground in DFID countries and globally, which might need support or can be replicated elsewhere
  • EVALUATE what we find working with sector experts to cut through the noise, make sense of ‘what’s working’ and verify approaches
  • TEAM with promising innovators and support them with grant funding…


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DFID’s Frontier Technologies Hub, in collaboration with the Royal Academy of Engineering, is building a technology and innovation pipeline for local production and local solutions. Local production and Local Solutions is one of the focus areas where we will be working to build a pipeline of technology and novel approaches to meet needs during the pandemic.

The pandemic has exposed vulnerabilities due to complex and interwoven global supply chains. These supply chains have made it difficult to gain access to life-saving, critical personal protective equipment (PPE) and even more day to day items that would typically be imported.

Across Lower…


What role does technology have in the way we respond to the COVID pandemic?

#COVIDaction, a partnership between DFID’s Frontier Technology Hub, Global Disability Innovation Hub (GDI Hub), UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering along with other collaborators will be working to build a technology and innovation pipeline to support action related to the COVID pandemic.

The partnership will work together to:

  • SCAN for technology innovation mobilised on the ground in DFID countries and globally, which might need support or can be replicated elsewhere
  • EVALUATE what we find working with sector experts to cut through the noise, make sense of ‘what’s working’ and verify approaches
  • TEAM with promising innovators and support them with grant funding…


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Since Monday 16th March, DFID’s Frontier Technologies Hub has been leading #COVIDaction — a collaboration with Global Disability Innovation Hub and UCL’s Institute of Healthcare Engineering.

As a first priority, the initiative set out to find proven, frugal innovation in ventilators designed for emerging markets, to be used globally in the fight against COVID-19. At the time we launched the scan, ventilators (along with PPE and testing), were seen as the most urgent resource requirement in the emergency response to the COVID health crisis around the world.

Now, one month on, #COVIDaction partnership will soon be launching a platform housing…


Since Monday 16th March, DFID’s Frontier Technologies Hub has been leading #COVIDaction — a collaboration with Global Disability Innovation Hub and UCL’s Institute of Healthcare Engineering.

As a first priority, the initiative set out to find proven, frugal innovation in ventilators designed for emerging markets, to be used globally in the fight against COVID-19. At the time we launched the scan, ventilators (along with PPE and testing), were seen as the most urgent resource requirement in the emergency response to the COVID health crisis around the world.

Now, one month on, #COVIDaction partnership will soon be launching a platform housing…


Hospitals around the world are grappling with COVID-19. Key to this challenge is making sure our hospitals have the equipment to treat people with respiratory problems.

In this context ventilators are lifesaving pieces of medical equipment. But there are not enough ventilators for the projected number of people who will become ill.

While engineering firms could consider switching some manufacturing to help ramp production of the vital equipment, state-of-the-art ventilators will still take too long to manufacture. That’s why we’re looking to emerging markets for Rapidly Manufactured Ventilation Systems (RMVS).

WHAT WE NEED: RAPIDLY MANUFACTURED VENTILATION SYSTEMS

We are looking…


Hospitals around the world are grappling with COVID-19. Key to this challenge is making sure our hospitals have the equipment to treat people with respiratory problems.

In this context ventilators are lifesaving pieces of medical equipment. But there are not enough ventilators for the projected number of people who will become ill.

While engineering firms could consider switching some manufacturing to help ramp production of the vital equipment, state-of-the-art ventilators will still take too long to manufacture. That’s why we’re looking to emerging markets for Rapidly Manufactured Ventilation Systems (RMVS).

WHAT WE NEED: RAPIDLY MANUFACTURED VENTILATION SYSTEMS

We are looking…


How many times have you worked on something that you know is failing, or just isn’t going as well as we’d all have hoped, but haven’t had the chance or permission to say so? Or gotten to the end of something and thought: I’d do this differently if i could start again?

That’s what adaptivity is all about. Setting our work up so that we can refine our approach as we learn, making good use of those insights when they happen, following the insight, not the plan.

Over the past three years, I’ve been part of a team called LearnAdapt…

Lea Simpson

Founder of Brink, Team Leader of the Frontier Technologies Hub. Tech optimist and lifelong nerd.

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