COVID-19 makes more evident the need for an inclusive and collaborative innovation approach: how IoT and biotech can tackle global challenges
I came to Cambridge, UK, in 2011 to pursue my PhD in Chemical Engineering at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology of the University of Cambridge with a biotech degree from the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences of the University of Chile and a professional background in R&D and engineering in the Lab & Analytics and multinational manufacturing industry (P&G, 3M, Air Liquide, Bayer Corp).
Before this pandemic, it was evident that the current global challenges that we were facing as humanity demanded for a new approach of innovation: a more inclusive, collaborative and multidisciplinary approach. And this is at the core of our vision in Camnexus.
COVID-19 is a new disease, and in approximately four months there has been a great amount of scientific findings around it, in a remarkably accelerated rate, putting a monumental effort of experts to understanding more about this virus and the way our cells and our immunity system respond.
Before this pandemic, it was evident that the current global challenges that we were facing as humanity demanded for a new approach of innovation: a more inclusive, collaborative and multidisciplinary approach. And this is at the core of our vision in Camnexus, the company we co-founded with Dr Pablo Salas (Land Economy, University of Cambridge) at the end of my PhD studies. Through Camnexus we are tackling the global challenges by integrating cutting-edge technologies and making them accessible for sustainable development.
We have combined the digital and IoT solutions with biotechnology in collaborative way with partners internationally (UK, Brazil, Chile, Uganda), creating local innovation capability (which was the theme of my first TEDx talk). This new global challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic is making even more evident the need for this new innovation approach.
From my background and expertise, I feel a deep responsibility to contribute and to make myself and my team available to tackle this new challenge. So, in view of the current need for science-based information, with a colleague of Chemical Engineering of the University of Cambridge, Dr Mengmeng Wang we wrote an article to support informed decisions on diagnostic tests for COVID-19. The article has had a huge impact. We received several requests from different organisations abroad, including request from newspapers to interview us and put this information in a clearer, simpler message that can get to anyone, such as the one in Cambridge Independent.
At Camnexus we are currently working in IoT solutions combining sensors and diagnostics to support UK and international companies to support their needs emerged because of COVID-19. We hope to contribute even a small bit, in comparison to the immense international efforts done by experts in the lab and the whole healthcare front line in tackling this pandemic.
I am Jessica Ocampos, PhD in Chemical Engineering of the University of Cambridge and co-founder and CEO of Camnexus. I am Chilean but living in Europe since 2008. My passion for science and technology moved me work in several industries as leading engineer and then to Cambridge, where I did a PhD in Chemical Engineering of the University of Cambridge and then started my startup.