Imperial College London

Graduate School programmes encourage innovation and international collaboration


The Latin American Symposium group at Imperial College

The Latin American Society alongside Nicola Pogson, Director of Alumni Relations

From award-winning innovations to an international symposium on sustainable development, Imperial postgraduates are collaborating on global challenges

Two programmes, the Global Fellows Programme and the Research Community Fund, have brought together a range of students from the College's Graduate School in unexpected ways.

Venture Catalysts

Laura Braun, a PhD student in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Kai Riemer, a PhD student in the Department of Bioengineering, met at Tokyo Institute of Technology during the 2018 Global Fellows exchange.

They stayed in touch once returning to Imperial and began developing Capta, a low-cost, handheld microscope that can connect to smart devices to facilitate earlier diagnosis of parasitic worms.

Parasitic worms affect 1.7 billion people globally, largely in the world’s poorest communities, causing malnutrition, pain and physical impairment. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent illness, but current diagnostic tools are labour intensive and require expensive microscopes, which are often unavailable in the areas where parasitic worms are most prevalent.

The students are developing an AI powered diagnostic tool that can instantly detect the type of parasitic infection and its severity to allow for appropriate and timely treatment. The instrument would also use this data to provide statistics about disease prevalence, allowing for more target drug delivery in the future.

They decided to enter the Venture Capitalist Challenge, which they then went on to win.

Laura and Kai receiving a cheque
Laura Braun and Kai Riemer receiving funding at the 2019 Venture Catalyst Challenge

Latin America Symposium

Diego Moya, a PhD student in the Department of Chemical Engineering, took the opportunity of socialising with fellow students of the Graduate School, and joined the organising committee for the Imperial College Latin-American Society.

In his capacity as part of the Society, Diego applied for funding via the Graduate School’s Research Community Fund in order to part-fund a symposium focussing on the challenges of sustainable development in Latin America.

The symposium, Shaping the future of Latin America, was attended by nearly 130 delegates including several Latin American ambassadors to the UK, science attachés and researchers with an interest in the continent.

The symposium in action
Speakers at the Symposium

PhD student Moisés Gómez Soto, President of the Society, said at the time: “We're delighted and honoured to create a forum to discuss and be surprised by the latest research on Sustainable Development in Latin America. This initiative is in accordance with our commitment, as students and researchers dedicated to find innovate and sustainable solutions to the world’s biggest challenges.

"We are part of an effort to bring academia, industry and stakeholders together towards the challenges that the Latin American region is facing and also to present some of the best and most innovate solutions in order to tackle environmental problems and to achieve a more sustainable development in the region.

Find out more

For more information on application deadlines for the Global Fellows Programme and Research Community Fun, follow the Graduate School on Twitter or keep an eye on the relevant project webpages.


Murray MacKay

Murray MacKay
Communications and Public Affairs


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