Becoming an RAE Enterprise Fellow: Dr Alexander Patto
The Royal Academy of Engineers (RAE) enterprise fellowship is awarded to outstanding entrepreneurial engineers working at a UK University; to individuals who have demonstrated an exceptional innovation in engineering and considerable entrepreneurial potential. In 2018, WaterScope Co-Founder Dr. Alexander Patto, supported by Cambridge Enterprise and the Cavendish Laboratory, UoC, was awarded this fellowship. The fellowship aims to: bring engineering innovations to market for a wider public benefit; improve the skills of the awardee; develop role models of entrepreneurship; and develop a wider alumni network.
During the course of the fellowship, Dr. Patto worked with partners on the ground to collect the data needed to verify the performance of the microscopy test in practice. In addition, WaterScope obtained verification in lab-based tests, both conducted in-house, and independently that the WaterScope test is sensitive enough to exceed the World Health Organisation (WHO) requirements and can meet the relevant ISO standards for water quality monitoring. The fellowship is supported by Cambridge Enterprise and the Cavendish Department, UoC who described Dr. Patto as having “demonstrated the necessary technical skills as well as commitment and leadership qualities over the last year”. This was shown through his ability to win competitive funding while balancing it with the completion of his PhD.
This postdoctoral position enabled Alex to perform the first field trials with partners in Tanzania and Rwanda (supported by Oxfam). It also allowed Dr. Patto and the team to take the water testing system from initial trial phase to the critical prototype stage and secured the further funding needed to take the product to market.