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25 March 2021

First year medical students Overall Winners at Policy Idol 2021 Finals

Hassan Mahfouz & Mr Woo-seok Yang pitched their policy, Bands for Britain, a new contact tracing system designed to potentially reduce the impact of future pandemics

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The competition Policy Idol, run by the Policy Institute at King’s, is an annual competition open to students to pitch their policy ideas to a panel of judges.

The top pitches go through to the final hosted by BBC News Home Editor, Mark Easton, and are judged by Bobby Duffy, Director, the Policy Institute; Lord Jo Johnson, Former Universities Minister; Professor Anand Menon, Director, UK in a Changing Europe; and Baroness Louise Casey, independent advisor for social policy and Chair of the Institute of Global Homelessness.

The students’ policy, Bands for Britain is focused on a novel form of contact tracing, to reduce the impacts of future viruses and diseases on society, the economy and health.

Bands for Britain is accurate, private and autonomous. Bands would be distributed and worn by the population and would use Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Long Range Wide Area Network (LoRWAN) technology to precisely and effectively trace contacts made.

bands for britain

The students say data is anonymous and cannot be connected to the person wearing the band.

This data can then be sent and saved on regional servers for short periods of time.

In the event of a positive case, contacts can be automatically identified and automatically notified via a flashing light on their band to isolate and test.

The system requires minimal user interaction. Users simply wear the bands and if one person comes into close contact with another the two ‘band numbers’ associated with these bands, date and time can be sent to a server.

If at risk of high exposure, users will be notified.

We are delighted to have won ‘Overall Winner’ at the Policy Idol Final. We’re so passionate about ‘Bands for Britain’ because of its possible immediate impact in saving so many lives, livelihoods and our economy. We hope we can build further on the policy and get it practically implemented to facilitate our nation’s response and recovery.

Mr Hassan Mahfouz

It was a privilege to have presented in front of such a renowned panel of judges. I hope we can make an impact in moving in the right direction.

Mr Woo-seok Yang

Policy Idol final

King's students and staff have just three minutes to pitch their policy ideas and win cash prizes