On November 15, 2017, the Big Ideas Contest received more than 300 proposals, representing approximately 900 aspiring innovators, across 11 universities. A pool of nearly 300 judges from academia and industry advanced 70 of the most promising ideas to the final round of the competition.

Of the 70 finalists, 9 ‘big ideas’ are from Makerere University, and these innovations are;

Livestock Disease Diagnosis Kit (LIDDIA) – The LIDDIA team developed an affordable point of care diagnostic device based on microscopic principles for hardware and mHealth technology to support the software running the device. The microscopy hardware operates on a Phone through LIDDIA app that is made up of a database containing standard images for pre-determined samples.

PesT Tester – PesT Tester is a portable, safe, accurate, and affordable device that tests for pesticide residues in agricultural products. It has also got a mobile application that can be used to obtain real time results in cases where one is distant from test location.

Teleeka – Supplementing hydrostatic pressure with a sensing system that monitors the activity and detects different stages of bacterial spore germination in fresh foods and triggers UV light to effectively kill the spores at the right moment to preserve food for a very long period.

TRAM project – Up to 40% of the agricultural produce in low resourced countries are lost due to post harvest losses. The Tram project aims to provide financial freedom and food security to smallholder farmers in Uganda through providing quality food storage systems.

Coordinated Emergency Response System (CERS) – The Coordinated Emergency Response System uses a combination of USSD for communication and e-ridesharing services for quick transportation to get emergency care to victims in Kampala. In so doing, it addresses the problem of lack of an emergency response phone number and an adequate, reliable ambulance fleet in Kampala.

Ecosmart Pads – Many girls in rural Uganda are frustrated with using cloth and banana fibers to manage their periods, and worse, the standard pads on market are very expensive for them to afford. Ecosmart pads are locally upcycled from sugarcane residue, of high quality and affordable to solve this pain point.

LUMENDA – Lumenda is an affordable and portable device for rapid and accurate diagnosis of neonatal bacterial meningitis in low resource settings. This is intended to save the lives of thousands of neonates that die of meningitis without being diagnosed and treated due to an expensive process.

Oxygen Splitters – The project aims at improving the current oxygen therapy system for neonates in Uganda. The oxygen splitters that are currently in use are incapable of controlling amount to each neonate and are serious vectors for infections. To address this problem, a centralized panel and pathogen filters will be used.

Early Preeclampsia Detection (EPED) Strip – EPED Strip is a urine-based point-of-care early diagnostic test strip for preeclampsia which expecting mothers can use to self-screen against the condition. This is geared toward reducing the global burden of preeclampsia by saving lives of thousands of mother through empowerment and enabling women to self-screen.

Big Ideas is an annual contest aimed at providing funding, support, and encouragement to interdisciplinary teams of students who have “big ideas.” Since its founding in 2006, Big Ideas has inspired innovative and high-impact student-led projects aimed at solving problems that matter to this generation. By encouraging novel proposals and then supporting concrete next steps, Big Ideas is helping contest winners make an impact all over the world.

Award winners will be revealed in May 2018!