Matt Hancock has challenged the UK to undertake 100,000 Covid-19 tests a day, by the end of the month and we have been busy helping a lab in Milton Keynes to fulfil their part in that challenge.

AI Digital was honoured to have been asked by UK Biocentre to provide the project management services for the setting up of a major COVID-19 testing facility in its laboratories in Milton Keynes. For the lab to play their part in the current national testing challenge, they will need to be able to undertake 30,000 tests a day. To deliver this amount of tests during the coronavirus pandemic requires a huge amount of change and complexity.

Since being approached to provide the Project Management service some three weeks ago AI Digital has worked with the UK Biocentre staff, senior management and equipment suppliers to repurpose the existing laboratories in order to provide the capacity required for such a massive undertaking.

We have been amazed by the dedication and professionalism of the scientists, clinicians, volunteers, consultants, management professionals, and suppliers, who have come together to create this Covid-19 testing facility.

The scale of the challenge has been significant and required the collaboration of many individuals and organisations to transform the existing facilities. This not only included ourselves but also The NHS, Public Health England and the military working together on a project on an incredibly tight timescale.

AI Digital worked with the UK Biocentre team to identify the project workstreams required to deliver the testing service and to implement a plan and governance structure which allowed the workstream leads to work together. The project involved a wide range of interdependent workstreams including:

  • Building Setup
  • Science operations
  • Human resources
  • Procurement and Supply Chain Management
  • Data Analysis and LIMS
  • IT
  • Communications
  • Supplier Management
  • Operational Sustainability

UK Biocentre has expanded rapidly and is now able to analyse many thousands of samples every day as part of the national COVID-19 testing effort and is continuing to increase capacity every day.

Dr Tony Cox, Chief Executive of UKBC, who is overseeing the establishment of this service said:

“Building a national infrastructure for high volume COVID-19 testing is an extraordinarily complex task. The speed and scale of collaboration between individuals across industry and academia to support these efforts are unprecedented and underlines the crucial nature of national cooperation in times of emergency. The shared sense of pace and purpose in bringing our testing centre online will maximise our ability to support wide-scale testing, and more rapidly help us understand infection rates and wider effects of control measures.”

Here at AI Digital, we are really proud to have been part of this project. Particularly how different people who had never worked together before, pulled together and followed the workflows to deliver in an extremely short space of time. Quite a few of us, worked 7 days a week for 4 weeks to make sure the project delivered, in circumstances of social distancing that was working conditions none of us had experienced before.

The UK Biocentre in Milton Keynes is one of the Lighthouse Labs, working alongside other laboratories in Glasgow and Manchester. This is the biggest diagnostic testing network the country has ever seen and we are proud to play our part in this unprecedented effort.

AI Digital, helping Biotechnology and Scientific organisations tackle change and transformation projects. Because if it matters to you, it matters to us.

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