Tech4Dev Grantees

The second call has been launched in December 2020 and has funded 4 projects for a duration of two years, starting from February 2021.
tech4dev 2021 group

The four winning teams from Tech4dev 2021 © Alain Herzog

Grantees 2021 Edition

Grantees 2021 locations

Electricity Free Based Coldbox for Vaccine and Food Storage in Rural Area (Mozambique)

Coldbox is a project developing a low-cost, electricity-free, cold box for transporting and storing vaccines over several weeks. Currently, more than 25% of vaccines are wasted. In low-income settings, it is mostly due to a lack of a continuous cold chain rooted in missing or unreliable electricity supply infrastructure. In addition to that, the cold chain disruption also affects local food supply chains, especially for street vendors who have to throw away unsold food at the end of the day and cannot guarantee the freshness of some products.

The research will focus on fine-tuning absorption materials by optimizing their properties for harsh climate and to incorporate them in a robust and highly insulated vibration resistant cold box. In the second year, these prototypes will be field tested in rural Mozambique.

EPFL Affiliation: EssentialTech Centre, Solomzi Makohliso, Laboratory for Functional inorganic Materials, Prof. Wendy Queen

Global South Partner: SolidarMed (Mozambique)

A Participatory GIS Toolkit for Transportation Needs Assessment in Rural Areas (Kenya)

Today, over 1 billion people living in rural communities do not have access to reliable transport. To these populations, mobility is indeed one of the main factors of vulnerability, as it impacts access to basic services such as education, healthcare or safely managed water sources.

The project proposes an open-source, participatory mapping toolkit aimed at rural communities of the global South. This toolkit aims to facilitate both collecting and sharing geodata required to evaluate the accessibility, utilization and sustainability of mobility options. Ultimately, it is intended to support decision-making regarding the development of transport solutions in marginalized areas.

EPFL Affiliation: EPFL Urban and regional planning community (CEAT), Dr. Jérome Chenal

Global South Partner: World Bicycle Relief (South-Africa), Flying Labs Nepal (Nepal)

Comprehensive Cervical Cancer Prevention: a low-cost solution for cervical cancer screening (Cameroon)

Visual inspection of the cervix with Acetic Acid (VIA) is a simple and well-established technique for cervical cancer screening, well adapted to low- and medium-income countries. However, this assessment by human observers is generally subjective and accuracy is limited

Our project aims at implementing a smartphone-based solution that automatically detects cervical cancer from videos of the cervix collected during VIA. Each year, around 266,000 women die of cervical cancer and this number is projected to reach 416,000 by 2035. More than 85% of these deaths occur in low- and medium-income countries where availability of trained healthcare providers and access to expensive screening devices are limited.

Automated VIA Classifier (AVC) offers a low-cost solution for cervical cancer screening with the potential of scaling-up, appropriate and affordable for low income settings.


EPFL Affiliation: EPFL Signal Processing Laboratory 5, Prof. Jean-Philippe Thiran

Swiss partner: Hôpitaux universitaires de Genève, Département de Gynécologie et d’Obstétrique, Prof. Patrick Petignat 

Global South Partner: ASCRES, Dschang University Cameroon (Cameroon)

Computational Design for Resilient Shelters (South-Sudan)

Driven by a need to respond to severe and increasing seasonal flooding in South Sudan, Computational Design for Resilient Shelters aims to improve shelter assistance through the creation of a more resilient shelter design. In 2020, floods affected 1,042,000 people in South Sudan, destroying precarious homes and further limiting access to essential resources. High costs of imported materials, limited shelter assistance funding, and frequent displacements further exacerbate the situation and jeopardize the adoption of generic shelter solutions seen worldwide.

The project will unlock new shelter solutions optimised for material use, cost, and versatility. Combined with first-hand knowledge of local socio-technical context, these technologies will integrate with vernacular construction through an iterative design-and test process, opening up new development pathways towards greater climate-resilience in flood-affected communities.

EPFL Affiliation: EPFL Structural Exploration Lab, Prof. Corentin Fivet

Global South Partners: Medair, University of Juba (South Sudan)