A team of researchers from Dublin City University (DCU) is calling on frontline workers to share their experiences to date as part of a new survey to appraise the quality and design of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) they use, and to identify areas for improvement.

Led by Dr Róisín Lyons, Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship in DCU Business School, and Prof Dermot Brabazon in the I-Form Research Centre, the study will also examine the role that open-source innovation has played in the rapid ideation and manufacturing process.

DCU hopes that the survey’s findings will allow agencies to improve national and international strategies in their efforts to fight the ongoing pandemic, and future crises that may require rapid manufacturing.

Dr Róisín Lyons
Prof Dermot Brabazon

Dr Roisin Lyons said: We were struck by how many companies, individuals, hobbyists and school students came together over the last few months to produce shields, gowns and other materials to supply and protect frontline staff. We want to hear from all those who were involved in the open-source ideation, production and use of these materials.”

Within DCU, the I-Form Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre and DCU’s School of Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering pooled resources to open laboratories. “They began to produce emergency supplies, working closely with hospitals, voluntary groups and online innovation communities to attain feedback and novel ideas to improve design and manufacture,” she added.

Dr Lyons said that feedback on PPE usage during the Covid-19 pandemic or from anyone who has participated in an Open Source Innovation community would help the team get a clearer picture about the products used. She said it would also recommend improvements for future national and international strategies to fight the ongoing pandemic or other crises.

Click here to take part in the survey.