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Further funding secured to explore the commercialisation of SAFEWATER technologies

17 October 2019

Further funding secured to explore the commercialisation of SAFEWATER  technologies
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Ulster University researchers have been awarded £840,000 further funding from the UKRI’s Global Challenges Research Fund to explore and develop pathways to market for IoT devices that can detect faecal contamination of drinking water. The project has been funded as part of UKRI’s GCRF Innovation and Commercialisation Programme, developed to fast track promising research findings into real-world solutions.

Around two billion people in the world commonly drink water that is not safe due to faecal contamination putting them at risk of waterborne diseases such as cholera, typhoid and other diarrhoeal diseases. The funding secured by researchers from the Nanotechnology and Integrated Bioengineering Centre (NIBEC) will build on the collaborative approach evidenced in the success of the SAFEWATER project to date.

The SAFEWATER team has developed autonomous Internet of Things (IoT) devices that can rapidly determine microbiological water quality in remote locations without the need for highly skilled staff or specific microbiology laboratories. The devices have been tested in rural Colombia and Mexico with very positive results, with data being transmitted via the cloud to be read in real time by the researchers in NIBEC.

The funding secured aims to further develop pre-commercial devices for water quality analysis and test in Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Ethiopia, Malawi, Nepal, Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, for algorithm development and user experience. It will allow further investigation into different pathways to commercialisation of safe water technologies, including social economy models.

Professor James McLaughlin, Principle Investigator and Head of School of Engineering at Ulster University welcomed the funding:

“At Ulster University, our researchers are creating innovative technology solutions to address global challenges and the further funding secured will support the SAFEWATER team in producing pioneering clean water solutions that will have an impact globally, improving the lives people in marginalised communities of the global south.”

This is a significant boost towards real impact for the SAFEWATER project led by Professor Tony Byrne, also based in NIBEC at Ulster.

This project has been funded as part of UKRI’s GCRF Innovation and Commercialisation Programme, developed to fast track promising research findings into real-world solutions.

Find out more about SAFEWATER


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