IfM team set up logistics for Cambridge student COVID-19 testing

This term, the University has embarked on the weekly COVID-19 testing of all Cambridge students living in college accommodation (about 16,000). A group of IfM staff, students and alumni are handling the job, managing the sample preparation logistics, including assembling test kits as well as delivering and collecting from colleges, in real time.


"Involving former MET and ISMM students from the IfM - with their experience of many, intense industrial projects - was critical to making this undertaking possible in the very short time we had to get a system up and running", said Professor Duncan McFarlane who is the Logistics lead for the COVID-19 Asymptomatic Screening Programme at Cambridge.


This project has involved acquiring 250,000 swabs, 25,000 sample tubes, getting tube stands made (via Makespace), packing and sealing envelopes with test kits and setting up tight delivery and collection schedules with the University Messenger Service.


A mini-factory has been established in the West Forvie building on the Addenbrooke's Hospital site to gather incoming materials, package them and putting into shipping containers for each college. The programme has had an 80% uptake with college students, a remarkably high rate for such a programme.


The following webinar is presented by the IfM team working on the logistics aspect of the testing programme.



You can track the progress of the testing programe on the University's Stay Safe Cambridge Uni web pages



Date published

18 November 2020

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