This week, Expo 2020 Dubai has announced that three UK-based start-ups leading innovation in healthcare, water security and science education have each won an Expo Live grant from organisers of the 2020 World Expo, being held in Dubai.
Welcoming this news, the British ambassador to the UAE, Philip Parham, said: “I am proud of Babylon, Desolenator and ScienceScope for their great business partnerships with Expo2020 Dubai. They are impressive examples of British excellence in science and innovation, and of UK-UAE collaboration. I am confident that cutting edge British companies will continue to make major contributions to the fulfilment of the UAE’s ambitious vision. And I look forward to UK participation in the success of Dubai Expo 2020.”
Babyl Rwanda is a branch of UK-based digital healthcare tech start-up Babylon that designed smartphone ‘chatbot’ technology to offer live consultations and medical prescriptions. Babyl developed its platform on feature phone version to allow all Rwandans, including those without smartphones or with limited access to the internet, predominantly in rural areas, to access “call-in” consultations service with doctors from anywhere.
Desolenator is a clean technology venture based in London. It uses only solar power to purify water from any source, including sea water; which is especially critical in regions where natural groundwater reserves have been polluted or poisoned or where seawater is the only water source available. The process used is a simple distillation, but Desolenator’s innovative technology accelerates the process and cuts the environmental impact, allowing its purifiers to produce up to 20 litres a day from a one square metre area, versus an average two litres a day using traditional solar stills.
ScienceScope Ltd is a startup based near Bath, Somerset, that specialises in science education. It provides schools with tools using the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) so that students can explore the world around them to enhance learning in science, technology and geography. ScienceScope is already working with the Infocomm Development Agency of Singapore to bring IoT technology to five schools there to engage students in technology development and in understanding how technology can address the problems and challenges faced in the world.
Expo 2020 Dubai’s Expo Live programme has an allocation of $100 million, to back projects that offer creative solutions to pressing challenges that impact people’s lives, or help preserve the world – or both. Organisers are looking for such projects that would not reach their full potential without its support.