Skip to main content
St Catharine's College, Cambridge Search

Catz postgraduate wins at climate tech competition


Lorena Gordillo-Dagallier (2018, Engineering), a second year PhD student with at the University of Cambridge’s Centre for Doctoral Training in Sensor Technologies (Sensor CDT), has been announced as one of four winners of the International C40 Women4Climate Tech Challenge 2020.

Lorena successfully pitched her initiative “open-seneca”- a mobile air quality sensor network that will be installed throughout a city alongside educational workshops. The project is run by a team of six Sensor CDT students, including Lorena. Now she has been awarded support and funding from Women4Climate Tech Challenge, the project will be piloted in Lisbon and Stockholm.

Pictured: Lorena (third from left) with colleagues from a previous pilot in Nairobi.

Lorena commented: “This is such an exciting opportunity to work closely with the cities of Lisbon and Stockholm in engaging citizens in the fight for clean air. It was a very rewarding experience to get to work with other finalists in preparation for the final pitch and see everyone deliver such inspiring pitches today. I thank the organisers for bringing us together and all the support we've received over these past months. Having open-seneca as one of the winning projects has only been possible thanks to our very passionate team and all the support received from the University of Cambridge, especially the Sensor CDT, the Centre for Global Equality, and our partners all over the world. Thank you to you all."

The aim of the open-seneca initiative is to raise awareness within communities about personal exposure to particulate pollution while creating pollution maps that can be used to inform policy and urban development.

Pictured: The sensors during a previous pilot in Nairobi.

In addition to providing sensors, the initiative also aims to educate communities through a series of practical workshops in the hope to drive behavioural change and change attitudes. By hosting workshops prior to each deployment, the project demonstrates and explains the effects of air pollution on both public health and the environment. These interactive sessions share practical solutions for citizens and work to drive behavioural change.

The International C40 Women4Climate Tech Challenge 2020 is a joint initiative from C40 Cities and the VELUX Group. The Challenge aims to support and promote diversity and inclusion in technology, innovation and the built environment sectors. All the projects judged in the competition were led by women; address urban sustainability, mobility, food, waste, water, building, urban farming, air quality solutions; deliver measurable impacts; and have the potential to be scalable in other cities. The 2020 winners were selected and chosen for their forward thinking and innovative solutions.

Find out more about studying Engineering at St Catharine’s.