[SE30-CCT] Development Engineering in the Private Sector

DAY 3 – Friday 29 June – 14:00-15:30

Swiss Tech | Room 3C | Level Garden 
Session Leader

Temina Madon

Center for Effective Global Action, UC Berkeley



Temina Madon is co-founder and executive director of the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA), a research network at UC Berkeley identifying solutions for global poverty and economic development. In this role, she also co-directs the Development Impact Lab, a USAID-funded initiative solving development challenges through science and engineering. Earlier she worked as science policy advisor for the US National Institutes of Health and as Science and Technology Policy Fellow for the US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. She holds a PhD from UC Berkeley and a BS from MIT.


Ali Raza

Information Technology University, Punjab, Pakistan


Dr. Agha Ali Raza is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Information Technology University, Punjab. He is also the founding director of the Center for Speech and Language Technologies. He is a Fulbright Scholar who did his PhD from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA. His research interests include Speech and Natural Language Processing, Speech-based Human-Computer Interfaces, telephone-based automated dialog systems and Information & Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D). The aim of his research is to enable dissemination of speech-based, development-related information and communication services to under-connected populations (low-literate, poor, tech-novice, visually-impaired, marginalized) throughout the developing world.

Development Engineering is an emerging discipline that address human development challenges by merging advances in engineering with insights from the social sciences. It is not solely an academic endeavor: cutting edge technology firms like Facebook, Google, IBM, Cisco, Microsoft, Telenor, and Orange have made serious investments in R&D in developing countries — often with the primary objectives of reducing poverty and driving equitable economic growth. These efforts — which embody the interdisciplinary methods and approaches of Development Engineering — are not always visible within the academic research community, although they represent important opportunities to learn about technology as a lever for sustainable development. This session will capture candid lessons (including successes and failures) from private sector technology companies that are innovating in the field of Development Engineering. Each presenter will offer a specific technical case study — for example, IBM’s effort to provide electricity grid monitoring to consumers in Kenya, or Orange’s design of mobile money products that promote financial inclusion. The session will include contributions from African and South Asian research labs, discussing not only technical innovations, but also the workforce and infrastructure investments required to achieve scale.
Panelists and Abstracts
(in alphabetical order)
Performance of Existing Last-Mile Vaccine Carriers in a Controlled and Simulated Field Environment
Kitty Liao1, Emily Branson1, Wei Xiang Ooi1, Abellona U1
1Ideabatic LTD, London, United Kingdom
Presenting author’s email address: kitty@ideabatic.com
Biography of Presenting Author: Kitty Liao is founder and CEO of Ideabatic and a fellow at Imperial College Advanced Hackspace. She received a BSc in Electronic Engineering from Fu Jen University, Taiwan and an MSc in Physics from Imperial College, London. Her work included low temperature physics research, superconducting cavity diagnostics for CERN accelerators and product design for resource-limited settings. Her interests include innovation, sustainable design and engineering a better world. She has been awarded an Enterprise Fellowship from the Royal Academy of Engineering.
Effective vaccine delivery is critical for the control of many human, animal and zoonotic pathogens. Despite awareness of the need for cold-chain preservation, vaccine delivery falls short in many isolated regions of the world because of inadequate refrigeration. Specifically, the vaccine cold-chain is often broken at the last miles of the delivery. Current vaccine carriers claim 10 hours of cooling whereas last-mile journeys can take up to 7 days. Vaccines are spoiled during transportation and during immunisation sessions. Two vaccine carriers used for last-mile journeys in Nigeria are tested in laboratory. The experiments are conducted with controlled factors based on real-life vaccine delivery data. The results showed the performance of vaccine carriers that have remained closed versus those that have been repeatedly opened and closed to simulate field immunisation sessions. Recommendations on improving the last-mile cold-chain are provided. A novel vaccine carrier is designed to solve current problems and reduce vaccine wastage throughout the last-mile vaccine delivery.
Addressing Groundwater Fluoride Contamination Using Inexpensively Processed Bauxite
Katya Cherukumilli1
1Global Water Labs, United States of America
Presenting author’s email address: katyacherukumilli@gmail.com
Biography of Presenting Author: Katya Cherukumilli recently completed her PhD in Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. This year, Katya founded a new non-profit organization (Global Water Labs) in Seattle, WA and she also taught a graduate level water treatment course as a Lecturer at the University of Washington (UW). Katya plans to continue her ongoing work on low cost drinking water treatment technologies as a postdoctoral researcher at UW in upcoming years.
Abstract: Globally, 200 million people are at risk of adverse health effects from drinking groundwater contaminated with geogenic fluoride concentrations exceeding the World Health Organization’s maximum contaminant limit (1.5 ppm F). Although many defluoridation technologies are effective in lab, most are inappropriate for resource constrained regions because they are cost-prohibitive, require skilled labor, or are difficult to scale. Activated alumina (AA) column filters are widely used by the upper middle class but production of AA remains costly in terms of money, energy, and greenhouse gas emissions. Eliminating these energy-intensive steps in refining bauxite, a ubiquitous aluminum-rich ore ($30/tonne), to AA ($1500/tonne), has the potential to reduce the annual per-capita material cost of treated water significantly. Our nonprofit, Global Water Labs, seeks to address practical challenges for implementing and commercializing the Scalable and Affordable Fluoride Removal (SAFR) process through collaboration with existing field partners in India, Kenya, and Tanzania.