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17 September, 2020 - 13:08 By Tony Quested

Cambridge entrepreneur in Women4Climate Tech Challenge finale

Climate change pioneer Lorena Gordillo Dagallier from Cambridge UK is one of 10 inventive women who will pitch their innovative ‘green’ technology initiatives to a panel of international mayors and city officials in an online Tech Challenge. 

Selected at the Women4Climate Tech Challenge in March, the 10 finalists have since been preparing their final pitches to present to the panel and invited guests on Wednesday September 23.

Women4Climate Tech Challenge is a joint initiative from the VELUX Group and C40, alongside four C40 host cities. Its main aim is to support and promote diversity and inclusion in technology, innovation and to built environment sectors. 

Along with the other finalists, Lorena Gordillo Dagallier was due to pitch their solutions live in Lisbon, Portugal during Entrepreneurship Week in May this year but the COVID-19 pandemic meant this could not take place. 

The event is now taking place virtually, where up to four winners will be named, receiving financial and technical support to implement their projects.
The winners will see their initiatives brought to life in one of this year's host cities; Lisbon, Los Angeles, Stockholm or Tel Aviv-Yafo. Alongside the mayor’s offices in these cities, city partners; City Zone in Tel Aviv-Yafo, Stockholm Business Region in Stockholm, LACI in Los Angeles and Lisboa e-Nova in Lisbon will support in the experimentation phase of these projects. 
The Tech Challenge encourages and promotes women leading the world towards the sustainable and greener future we want. To be selected, the projects must be led by women, address urban sustainability, mobility, food, waste, water, building, urban farming, air quality solutions, have measurable impacts, be relevant to its field and be scalable to other cities.

Lorena Gordillo Dagallier is from the University of Cambridge Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology. Her initiative, open-seneca, impressed the judging panel earlier this year and won her a place in the final of this global challenge. 

Open-seneca is an initiative working to highlight and install mobile air quality sensor networks throughout cities. Uniquely the monitor's data are captured and recorded by volunteers that have been called citizen science. 

The aim of the 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.

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 adopt attitudes. 

By hosting workshops prior to each deployment, the project demonstrates and explains the effects of air pollution on both health and the environment. These interactive sessions share practical solutions for the citizen science and work to drive behavioural change.

Lorena Gordillo Dagallier said: “I strongly believe in the power of open collaboration and engaged communities in finding new solutions to the climate emergency. 

“Open-seneca aims to turn air quality monitoring into a social movement and drive behavioural change. Joining Women4Climate is an important step towards fulfilling this vision. All of you, all of us, are the solution.”

C40 chair and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said: “When women have the chance to innovate, invent, and lead, our economies, our families, and our environment are better off. 

“The Women4Climate Tech Challenge puts the power of saving our planet in the hands of women – bringing bold solutions to our cities and placing them at the forefront of our global effort to combat the climate crisis.”

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