Ten new Frontier Tech Pioneers selected!

Lea Simpson
Frontier Tech Hub
Published in
2 min readJun 1, 2020


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 have been accepted as the 5th Cohort, see the full list below:

  • Frontier retailer business model to enable low-cost, high-quality household energy supply: Innovating with IoT-enabled technology and a battery leasing model to improve the livelihoods of the lowest income segments and MSMEs
  • AI and Blockchain for food distribution in India: Harnessing a unique frontier tech stack to streamline supply and distribution of essential food items for the vulnerable groups most affected by the COVID pandemic
  • Distributed local manufacturing to tackle COVID in hard-to-reach areas of Kenya: Enabling PPE and medical supply manufacture whilst democratising supply chains through 3D printing to support the pandemic response
  • Voice biometrics for quarantine monitoring in Pakistan: Testing the potential for machine learning-driven natural language processing to support government COVID quarantine monitoring
  • Tackling COVID-19 with the latest solar technology — Piloting a new business model to power rural health clinics in Zambia with Pay-As-You-Go solar systems and energy-efficient medical appliances
  • Digital Fabrication and data aggregation for COVID response in Bangladesh: Expanding the digital fabrication supply chain through data aggregation whilst producing PPE and medical equipment to counter the COVID pandemic
  • Blockchain-enabled digital payments for the extractives sector: Combining frontier technologies to safeguard small-scale artisanal mining production and increase supply chain transparency in the DRC
  • Portable benefits and protections platform to preserve Kenyan livelihoods: Providing financial and social protection for vulnerable gig economy informal workers through the challenge of the COVID pandemic
  • Digital verification solutions for impact bonds: Exploring the potential for a range of cutting-edge technology to improve data-collection and analysis, streamline results verification whilst increasing transparency and traceability
  • Drones for locust control in East Africa: Tackling challenges to food security by deploying drone technology for night-time spraying to combat locust populations

We would like to welcome these new teams to the programme, and will be providing them with funding, support to work in lean and agile ways, and matchmaking to specialised technologists. Watch this space!



Lea Simpson
Frontier Tech Hub

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