CW Unplugged: Tech for Water

26 June 2018

The Bradfield Centre

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About the conference

Globally, at least 1.8 billion people use a contaminated source of drinking water. In response, the UN has highlighted SDG 6 Clean Water & Sanitation as being a top priority for the new sustainable development agenda.

In partnership with the Centre for Global Equality (CGE), we're hosting CW Unplugged: Tech for Water an event that explores innovative technologies contributing to tackling water management and water quality challenges in developed, developing and emerging economies. This is the third of four events as part of the CW Unplugged programme events of Tech for Good initiatives in 2018 aimed mostly at the younger tech audience CW will be addressing four of the seventeen UN Sustainable Development Goals set by the UN this year.

This event will showcase three ventures in the CGE Global Goals Innovation Cultivator who are developing novel, affordable, appropriate water purification technologies. Bringing together impact investors, designers, engineers, we'll help create solutions to specific challenges for these three ventures as well as others who may join this event. The real tough work will be outside this event over the year with a sustainable effort with support from mentors, platforms and connections to turn some of these solutions into reality and impact.

To ensure we have the right group of people attending this exclusive event we would like to invite you to register your interest by clicking 'reserve a place' and we will reply back to confirm your suitability (within a week).

You can follow @CambWireless on Twitter and tweet about this event using #CWUnplugged.

Event partner: Centre for Global Equality

The Centre for Global Equality focuses the resources available in global centres of excellence such as Cambridge on evolving innovative solutions to global challenges.

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Title sponsor: Arm

We design the technology that lies at the heart of advanced digital products.

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Sponsored by: Mills & Reeve LLP

Legal and intellectual property advisers.

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Sponsored by: u-blox UK

u-blox is the global leader in positioning and wireless semiconductors

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Ideation Partner: Fresh Perspectiv

Our team of commercially-minded scientists love working at the intersection of science and business strategy to help companies to make informed decisions and enhance their commercial impact.

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Ideation Partner: Dovetailed

We are a Cambridge UK based user experience design studio and innovation lab.

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Ideation Partner: Cambridge Consultants

The deep tech powerhouse of Capgemini

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Hosted by: The Bradfield Centre

The Bradfield Centre is the premier Tech Hub serving the Cambridge technology cluster and the wider East of England region.

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Agenda highlights

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The information supplied below may be subject to change before the event.


Arrival, registration and networking


CW Unplugged Introduction & CWiHero

Abhi Naha, CCO, CW
Sylvia Lu, U-blox


Setting the Scene



Developing an inexpensive, rapid water testing kit capable of identifying bacterial presence in 20 minutes, 20 times faster than current tests available.


Blue Tap

Developing a water purifier pack which can be easily installed by local plumbers onto household pipes in developing countries. This means water can be purified to drinking water quality. The plumbers will be trained to safely dose water and insert the correct amount of chlorine into the water supply. The venture aims to build a local water entrepreneurship movement – helping plumbers build their business from selling, installing and maintaining the Blue Tap technology in the communities that will benefit from it most.



Designing a patented technology based on a new method of water treatment that accelerates photocatalysis – the disinfection of water from many common organic contaminants under solar illumination. This innovative technology allows faster and more effective (efficiency of E.coli disinfection rate up to 13x higher than titanium dioxide) sunlight-driven water treatment and its simple delivery allows it to be conducted off-grid.


Intro to the Ideation workshop facilitators

We'll split into 3 groups and intro you to your group leader before a quick break to refuel.




Ideation Workshop

A fast paced hour of brainstorming discussing the challenges Tech for Water faces. Attendees have the opportunity to contribute their ideas and experiences in facilitated groups ran by our partners.


Workshop Presentations

Informal presentations and discussion of the main outcomes from each Ideation group.


Next Steps


Join us in the atrium for food, drink & networking


Event Close


Lara Allen - Director, Centre for Global Equality

Dr Lara Allen has worked extensively in international development and in academia. As well as being the Executive Director of CGE, Lara is the Director of Implementation & Impact at Cambridge Global Challenges Strategic Research Initiative, and an Affiliated Lecturer: Centre of Development Studies, University of Cambridge. She has a PhD from the University of Cambridge and was an Associate Professor at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. In 2007, she co-founded Tshulu Trust, which links rural communities in the Venda region of South Africa with universities around the world. The Trust enhances the livelihoods and well being of local communities through

knowledge sharing, capacity building and the creation of income generating opportunities. Lara ran Tshulu Trust for eight years. She then spent two years with the Irish NGO Misean Cara, as Head of Research, Monitoring and Evaluation, Capacity building and Communications. Lara became the Director of the CGE (then the Humanitarian Centre) in October 2014.

Mike Coto

Mike completed his PhD in photochemistry at the University of Cambridge in 2017. The focus of his PhD was the application of new-generation photocatalytic materials for solar water purification. This academic work, and Mike’s experience in product development within the water industry, lead to the conception of Majico – an impact lead initiative that uses the photocatalytic technology in a development context.

Rebecca Donaldson

Becky is studying Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge. She believes technology, when designed with people as the focus, is the best way to combat poverty and improve quality of life. This makes her very excited about Blue Tap. Becky has been awarded a BP STEM Scholarship and has helped set up 17 social enterprises in Tanzania as part of the Cambridge Development Initiative.

Samer Kurdi

Samer was introduced to the Majico team in May 2017 via the Development i-Teams programme – a bi-annual programme facilitated by the Centre for Global Equality at the Institute for Manufacturing. Samer’s interests lie in understanding the cultural barriers hindering technological breakthroughs in the developing world, and designing Majico’s sustainable business model with these barriers in mind. Samer is presently completing his PhD in Materials Science at the University of Cambridge.

Sylvia Lu - Corporate Strategy, u-blox UK, Member of Advisory Board, UKTIN

Sylvia Lu is an award-winning Chartered Engineer and Non-Executive Director. Sylvia has over 15 years of experience in the Telecom industry for four mobile generations with chipset vendors, currently with u-blox at the Corporate Strategy group – a Swiss vendor of positioning and wireless communication chipset, modules, and services.

Sylvia serves on several national and global industry Boards: she is an elected board director of CW (Cambridge Wireless), and serves on the Advisory Board of UKTIN, which provides independent advice on the telecoms sector, champions the opportunities in telecoms research, development, and innovation for the UK, and helps UKTIN provide impartial input to government. She also serves on the Board of 5G-ACIA (5G Alliance for Connected Industries and Automation), and joins forces with global industry stakeholders to influence 5G development and deployment in line with industrial imperatives to accelerate Industry 4.0.

She holds a first-class Electronic Engineering degree from Birmingham University and a Master of Science degree in Communications and Signal Processing from the University of Bristol. She graduated with a Distinction from the University of Oxford in PGDip Strategy & Innovation, and an Executive MBA degree from the University of Cambridge. Sylvia is also an artist.

Sophie Mower

Sophie is the Business and Operations Manager at the Centre for Global Equality. In 2014 following a brief spell in Doha working on Qatar Science Festival, an international capacity building event for children, Sophie co-founded the First Steps Project, a Brighton-based non-for-profit that ran workshops and training programs for young people living in areas of deprivation. After the successful delivery of a number of programmes, Sophie spent two years working and volunteering in developing countries, predominantly in India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. Working abroad was an opportunity for Sophie to experience different working environments in different cultures. Seeing first-hand the social, environmental and political challenges faced by the developing world has enhanced Sophie’s perspective on social and economic responsibility, inspiring her to pursue a career in international sustainable development.

Abhi Naha - Digital Accelerator Director, PwC UK

Abhi Naha is the Digital Accelerator Director at PwC. He is creating and leading a new tech division for PwC. The Digital Accelerator solves innovation challenges using the power of scale ups and ecosystems for greater insights, impact and value creation.

Abhi was the CCO of CW Cambridge Wireless and CEO of the Product as a Service Consortium. At CW, Abhi initiated and lead on the 5G private network testbed in Cambridge, corporate digital innovation accelerators and high value collaborations.

Abhi was the CEO and Founder of Zone V a Cambridge start up backed by Qualcomm and ARM focused on empowering people with aging eyes and visually impairment through inclusively designed smartphone software. He held senior roles at Powermat, San Jose based Synaptics and advisory roles for Goldman Sachs and Silver Lake in the area of mobile user interface technologies. Abhi is a senior advisor to an autonomous vehicle mobility scale up Conigital, Industry Partner (Digital Infrastructure) for Arjun Infrastructure Partners with 5 Billion Euros of assets under management and an Ambassador for the United Nations Global Sustainability Index Institute. Abhi studied Electronics and Electrical Engineering, has an MBA in International Marketing and authored a book on Mobile Handset Design when approached by Cambridge University Press. More recently Abhi has created an initiative to help train widows in developing countries learn python programming, gain financial empowerment and become future leaders.

Alex Patto

Alex is a Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Fellow, and Borysiewicz Biomedical Sciences Fellow in Jeremy Baumberg’s lab in the department of physics, at the University of Cambridge. His research focuses on developing low-cost methods of identifying bacterial contamination for use in low-resource settings. Alex is also the CEO of WaterScope, a not-for-profit company through which his research has a clear route to impact. To date, WaterScope has raised over £130,000 and completed their first field trial in one of the largest refugee camps in the modern world.

Jeroen Verheyen

As a technology consultant, Jeroen has worked with large multinational organisations to leverage emerging technologies. He works extensively in the Cambridge start-up ecosystem, supporting new ventures to create global impact. Over the last 3 years, Jeroen’s focus has been sustainable development, particularly the potential impact of his work around photocatalytic water purification and the development of the Majico technology.

Event Location

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Location info

The Bradfield Centre, 184 Cambridge Science Park Milton Road, Cambridge CB4 0GA

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