Sorby Lab helps African entrepreneurs in pivoting their businesses to address the pandemic

The Sorby Lab has received recognition for their work during the early part of the pandemic to support a Royal Academy of Engineering project – Project CARE.   

Project CARE (COVID-19 African Rapid Entrepreneurs) was set up after the "Royal Academy of Engineering leveraged its networks and influence to mobilise over 50 expert volunteers to support more 

than 50 engineering entrepreneurs from the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation and Leaders in innovation Fellowships programmes in 11 African countries to address the consequences and impacts of COVID-19".   

"National lockdowns, pressures on health systems and critical infrastructure have set back sustainable development with significant impacts on the global economy, food security, education, gender relations, mental and physical health, and the environment. The lack of knowledge surrounding the virus and fear of potentially disastrous consequences for poorer populations, which might set back years of development on the African continent, was a driving force for action, and motive for Project CARE." 

The Sorby lab's role, led by Gareth Keevil and Helena Brown, was testing and visualisation of the face masks as they were being developed. This development work on mask design has continued as part of the Protect COVID-19 National Core Study, funded by the HSE. A new mask is being designed to enable the size fractionation of aerosols to improve sampling and diagnostics. Rachael Spraggs also supported the vital contribution from Professor Anne Neville FREng - personally taking on the writing, coordination, and quality assurance of much of the key documentation, and engaging and coordinating many helpful resources from the University of Leeds. 

Read the full report here