Kragujevac, 29. September 2020. – His Excellency mr. Nikolaus Lutterotti and the resident representative of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Serbia, Francine Pickup, visited the University of Kragujevac today. Together with the rector, Prof. Dr. Nenad Filipović, they met the team of innovators of the Centre for Bioengineering at the Faculty of Engineering, who designed a 3D printed medical ventilator. This solution will be further developed thanks to the financial support of the Austrian Development Agency (ADA).
„Austria and Serbia have shown great solidarity and mutual support in the fight against the global pandemic and its consequences. Through our partners UNDP, UNHCR and the International Red Cross Austria we have provided assistance in the amount of 1.2 Mio € to the Western Balkans, including Serbia, for medical equipment, support for vulnerable groups and aid to asylum centres. The European Union is assisting the entire region with an impressive aid package of 3,3 billion Euros. With the Austrian Development Agency’s contribution to UNDP in supporting local solutions in the fight against COVID-19 through research and the local production of respirators we aim at strengthening the resilience of Serbia’s response to the pandemic. I congratulate the University of Kragujevac and the research team for their successful project.” said h.e. mr. Nikolaus Lutterotti, Austrian Ambassador to Serbia.
Thanks to the support of the Austrian Development Agency (ADA), a team of bioengineers from the University of Kragujevac will continue to develop their prototype 3D printed medical ventilator, which enables lower costs and shorter production times compared to the standard industrial approach. This solution is based on the knowledge and resources developed by the research initiative 'Open Source Mechanical Ventilator', with a significant innovation by the team from Kragujevac to the mechanical part of the respirator, providing greater safety in oxygen flow, which is especially important for patients with Covid-19.
"We are extremely honoured that His Excellency Mr. Nikolaus Lutterotti and Mrs. Francine Pickup officially visited our University for the first time and got acquainted with its tradition and work. We also express our satisfaction, but also our gratitude to the Austrian Development Agency for supporting the ideas of our researchers in the fight against one of the biggest epidemics the world has encountered. The grant received by the University of Kragujevac in the amount of over $40,000 will be intended for the construction of mechanical fans for research purposes, as help that the engineers of our Centre for Bioengineering will give in the fight against Covid-19. We also owe our gratitude to the United Nations Development Program, which, among the really strong competition, chose our idea as Serbia's response to the pandemic. We are currently in the second phase of the project, computer models have been made, the procurement of additional material for the production of the device is in progress, and we expect to have the main results by the end of the year", said Prof. Dr. Nenad Filipović, Rector of the University of Kragujevac.
This ventilator is one of the winning solutions to the Challenge for Innovation in crisis organized by UNDP in Serbia, to help the health system cope with the coronavirus epidemic, but also to encourage innovation and development of local companies and entrepreneurship. A total of 23 proposals were selected as the most innovative solutions, which can help Serbia overcome this health crisis, but also to cope with similar challenges in the future.
"The challenge for innovation in times of crisis has proven to us that there are many talented people in Serbia, with the knowledge and skills to quickly adapt to the new situation. Innovative solutions, such as this ventilator, show that Serbia has the capacity to find solutions to the crisis, such as Covid-19, on its own. We would like this potential to be used more in the future to strengthen local production and the competitiveness of the economy in the region and beyond", said Francine Pickup, UNDP Resident Representative in Serbia.
More details about the 3D printed medical ventilator made by the team from the University of Kragujevac, as well as other innovative solutions to mitigate the effects of the Covid-19 epidemic, that answered the call of UNDP in Serbia, are available at: https://covid19response.undp.org.rs/en/.