Univursa graduated from Cambridge Social Ventures in September 2020.
Univursa creates digital health tools to help detect, diagnose, and respond to outbreaks, including during emergencies and in places with limited access to clinical diagnostics. These tools, based on curated clinical datasets and cutting-edge data science, are designed to empower existing public health systems by providing outbreak responders around the world with powerful analytic tools in an easy-to-use form.
Through this work, Univursa aims to improve health system resilience in a world where infectious disease outbreaks are increasingly damaging and disruptive. Through partnerships with ministries of health, research groups, international outbreak response agencies, and public health funders, Univursa will bring effective, accessible tools to the people who need them most and see outbreaks stopped sooner.
Univursa was founded by two researchers from the Disease Dynamics Unit at the University of Cambridge; Freya Jephcott, a highly experienced field epidemiologist and medical anthropologist, and Emma Glennon, an infectious disease epidemiologist and data scientist.
Univursa began when Freya, having just returned from an outbreak response in Ethiopia, gave a presentation on the challenges involved in identifying the causative agent of outbreaks, especially in resource-limited settings. Emma immediately recognised that she could build mathematical models of the processes being described and through them help identify the causative agents of outbreaks. Both founders, having worked in outbreak response in West and Central Africa, believe technological advances are most impactful when in the hands of local public health authorities. They founded Univursa to help realise this impact.
Since its inception the Univursa team has grown to include software developers, mentors, and a clinical advisor.
Univursa’s primary ambition is to help stop outbreaks of disease faster by strengthening public health systems. In order to realise this ambition, Univursa is committed to seeing its tools and products end up available, accessible, and tailored to the needs of the people that need them the most – that is, the public health professionals dealing with the largest burdens of disease and with the least resources available to do it.
Univursa ultimately aims to become a platform for translating academic epidemiological innovations into tools for health impact. In line with its academic origins, Univursa is also committed to open science, advancing public research and ensuring innovations and breakthroughs are readily available to public and academic researchers.
Freya Jephcott and Emma Glennon
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