Solving Global Problems Through Science & Technology

TU Delft Global Initiative, part of Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in Holland, recently started a project to solve urgent social problems in Africa. Seven research projects received the green light to be realized.

Street scene in Johannesburg, South Africa

Street scene in Johannesburg, South Africa

The aim of these projects is to provide solutions to urgent social problems in developing countries using science and technology. The researchers will use TU Delft’s technological expertise and work closely with local partners. Their goal is to come up with practical solutions with a local impact.

Sustainable Development Goals

The research projects focus on the themes: affordable housing, water management, diagnosis for tuberculosis and malaria, and electricity generated from biogas. The themes are based on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Research projects

The following projects will be part of the TU Delft Global Initiative:

Affordable housing in emerging economies

This project focuses on Ethiopia’s capital city Addis Ababa and its growing housing crisis. 75% of the inhabitants live in slums with below standard housing. The goal of this project is to develop new design methods for low-cost housing. These urban areas will be connected to the rest of the city so as not to become an enclave on their own.

Building adaptive cities

This project looks at new solutions in urban planning. Through providing urban planning guidelines, researchers want to help local authorities in the various stages of urban development. Focus will be put on the African cities of Nairobi (Kenya), Dar-es-Salaam (Tanzania), Cape Town (South Africa) and Accra (Ghana).

Water balance in the Zambezi river basin

By using the latest technology this project aims to make accurate predictions about the water discharge of the Zambezi river. The researchers will use hydrological parameters based on the surrounding landscape and climate to make their estimations.

Diagnosis of tuberculosis and detection of malaria

Most of the people who suffer from tuberculosis live in developing countries. The decease kills 1.5 million people a year. It currently takes a long time to diagnose if a person has the illness. By using computer algorithms researchers can find DNA which contain hard to find antibiotic-resistant infections.

Another project involves electrochemical techniques to detect tuberculosis. This involves the creation of simple portable devices which can be integrated in smartphones.

Malaria is a decease affecting many in Africa and other developing regions. Using an optical analysis of blood samples, it is possible to achieve an automated, fast and reliable diagnosis. The aim is to have as few human interactions as possible. The Optical Smart Malaria Diagnost (OSMD) device can accomplish this through analyzing patterns and microscopic images of blood samples.

Biogas fuel cell system for rural areas

Biogas is the fastest growing renewable energy source in developing countries. Currently most of the biogas is used for cooking. However, rural areas urgently need to expand their electricity supply. This project focuses on how fuel cell technology can be integrated into domestic biogas systems, creating energy on a small scale.

More information

More in depth information about these projects can be found at TU Delft Global Initiative.