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EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Future Infrastructure and Built Environment


Blue Tap, a Cambridge-based social enterprise directed by FIBE 1st-year PhD student, Francesca O’Hanlon, has been  awarded the Cambridge University Entrepreneurs £10,000 award in the social enterprise category. Blue Tap was founded in 2016 by Francesca O’Hanlon. The social enterprise uses 3D printing to design low-cost water purification technology for households in developing countries. 

The Blue Tap project began after Francesca worked as a water engineer in sub-Saharan Africa before joining the FIBE MRes + PhD programme. While in Africa, she saw that most water purification technology was expensive and therefore inaccessible to everyday users in the region. Francesca set out to design a low-cost chlorine injector that was reliable and simple to use. 

Francesca's PhD research looks at how to build resilience to climate change in communities in developing countries by providing water access in times of extreme weather events such as floods and droughts. For both her research and for Blue Tap, she has carried out a field visit this year to Uganda and looked at how to improve access to good quality water in Western Uganda.  She hopes to continue to use her research to inform the type of interventions that Blue Tap can carry out to improve quality of life in developing countries.

In April 2018, she presented her research on water access and climate resilience at the Tenth International Conference on Climate Change: Impacts & Responses at the University of California, Berkeley.

The conference was a stimulating platform bringing together researchers from across the globe to discuss their work on the impacts of climate change on people and Infrastructure systems."                                           -Francesca O’Hanlon