The rapid escalation of the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on various medical, economic and social dimensions across the world, and resulted in a series of yet unsolved collateral issues.
In an effort to channel the immense potential of academic institutions to find solution for such problems, Global Grad Show launched an initiative inviting its community of 260 universities around the world to submit proposals addressing the myriad of issues brought on by COVID-19.
In less than three weeks, following the opening of the applications on March 16, 390 projects have been submitted by university graduates, undergraduates and professors from 125 academic institutions across 40 countries.
The proposals came from fields ranging from medical engineering to game design, psychology, network science and business, from leading international universities such as Oxford, Harvard, Imperial College and Insead, alongside institutions in emerging markets such as Peru, Uganda, Egypt, Turkey and Malaysia.
Students and professors put forward solutions with varying implementation complexity and horizon, tackling problems with different degrees of urgency: from the global shortage of medical supplies to public policies to prepare communities for future disease outbreaks.
One of the main goals of the initiative is to identify proposals that can be advanced towards testing and implementation. Following the application period, an assessment phase will take place between April and May – proposals will be evaluated by innovation, technology and new venture experts and Global Grad Show will carry out a detailed analysis, to identify projects that can be supported and developed through training, mentorship and industry collaboration. The creator(s) of any proposal invited for the development phase will be awarded the tuition fee of their current studies, or equivalent scholarship for the department of selected professor(s) along with support for concept development and business building.
Some examples of proposals submitted:
BTNL – sterilized home delivery containers
Home-delivery packages can be contaminated and the process of sanitizing them is not straightforward. BTNL proposes a safe, efficient, convenient delivery process. Considering UV-C lights can help to disinfect surfaces from corona virus without any negative effects on product quality, delivery teams can put parcels inside UV-C boxes at the point of delivery and activate the process by mobile phone. Buyers can then personally remove products from the box with a significantly lower risk of contamination. By Sara Shafiee, American University in Sharjah.
ClAir Tram – clean and healthy public transport
Public transportation is often associated with discomfort, bad air and potential health hazards. Nevertheless, they are vital to urban infrastructure and need to be relied on. ClAir Tram proposes placing air quality and hygiene at the heart of public transport, with trams equipped with large scale air purifiers and interiors designed with antimicrobial materials. By Erik Mantz-Hansen, Muthesius Academy of Fine Arts
Earth Suit – A go-outside suit
How are members of society supposed to keep their sanity, finances, and health afloat when they are understandably encouraged to stay inside and avoid other humans for everyone’s safety? Earth Suit looks at a scenario of extended pandemic, during which people will inevitably need to get out of their houses, while protecting their safety. It is a one-part suit that contains a built-in helmet and full body coverage while allowing for freedom of movement and social interaction. By Lauren Miyoko, Rochester Institute of Technology.
Foresight – an AI system to monitor patient recovery
The coronavirus pandemic has left health systems worldwide struggling with the overwhelming amount of people needing intensive respiratory care, resulting in a challenging environment to monitor and respond to patient deterioration. Foresight is a trained AI system which is able to constantly process patient’s clinical information, providing an algorithmic distribution of intensive care results, increasing patient turnover and easing clinical staff workload through a prioritizing system. By Third Eye Intelligence team, Imperial College London.
Fresh Tracker – optimising the use of food supplies
How to help people organize the storage of fresh and pantry items in a convenient and hygienic way? Assisting people to have a more efficient and hygienic way to organise their food stock, project Fresh Tracker offers a set of smart stickers that link to an app, tracking information such as volume, expiration and purchase date of food items. By Sheng-Hung Lee and Ziyuan Zhu, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
To view more submitted proposals, click here