David Moinina Sengeh

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David Moinina Sengeh
David Moinina Sengeh in Boston in 2013.jpg
David Moinina Sengeh in Boston in 2013
Alma materUWC Red Cross Nordic

Harvard University

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Scientific career
InstitutionsIBM Research
ThesisThe use of a novel residuum model to design a variable-impedance transtibial prosthetic socket (2016)
Doctoral advisorHugh Herr

David Moinina Sengeh is the Chief Innovation Officer for the Directorate of Science,Technology and Innovation in Sierra Leone. He is a TED Senior Fellow.

Education and early life[edit]

Sengeh was offered a scholarship to study in Norway, and joined the UWC Red Cross Nordic College in 2004.[1][2] His uncle was a surgeon.[3] He studied biomedical engineering at Harvard University. He researched aerosolised vaccines for tuberculosis and graduated with a bachelor's degree in 2010.[4][5] During his time at Harvard University, he was cofounder of Lebone Solutions, a start-up that developed inexpensive batteries from microbial fuel cells.[6] He was listed in the 2013 Wired magazine Smart List. Sengeh joined Massachusetts Institute of Technology for his postgraduate studies, working under the supervision of Hugh Herr.[7][8][9] He was inspired to work on prosthetics because he grew up surrounded by victims of civil war.[10][11] He used MRI to map amputee's limbs, then assessed where artificial materials could create pressure points, and used 3D printing to generate new sockets.[2][7] His prototypes were tested by veterans and amputees from the Boston Marathon bombing.[12] He was named as a TED fellow in 2014, delivering a talk entitled The sore problem of prosthetic limbs.[13][14] He was selected as one of Forbes 30 Under 30 in 2014.[15] He won the 2014 Lemelson–MIT Prize for his innovations in healthcare.[12] He was selected as one of Face2Face Africa's Young Africans Committed to Excellence.[16] He completed his PhD at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2016.[3] After completing his PhD, Sengeh toured makerspaces in America talking about his work on prosthetics.[17]

During his PhD research, Sengeh founded the NGO Global Minimum Inc, a program that supports the Innovate Salone entrepreneurship program in Sierra Leone, Kenya and Cape Town.[18][19][20] He wanted to change 'aid to Africa' to 'Made in Africa'.[21] The "A De Mek Am" Innovate Salone program supports teams from secondary schools to develop solutions to local problems.[22] It was created in collaboration with the MIT Media Lab and MIT Public Service Center and modelled on the MIT innovation competitions.[23][22] Sengeh supported the winning student projects to travel to the United States, where they spoke at Maker Faire.[3] He supported Kelvin Doe, a thirteen year old inventor who had never left a ten-mile radius of his house in Sierra Leone, to join the MIT Visiting Practitioner's Program.[24][25] Sengeh became Kelvin Doe's mentor.[26] He returned to the TED stage in 2015, speaking to Kate Krontiris about innovation and inspiration.[27] He has spoken at the NextEinstein Forum.[28]


Sengeh was offered a position at IBM in Africa, working on data driven healthcare.[29] He worked with IBM Research in Nairobi, as well as in their newest lab in Johannesburg, designing and developing healthcare technologies in Africa.[30] There are fewer than 50 doctors for every hundred thousand citizens in Africa, so Sengeh is exploring the use of artificial intelligence.[30] He worked with Waheeda Banu Saib from the University of KwaZulu-Natal.[31] He partnered with Port Loko Health Management Team to design a web-based tool that allows districts to monitor Ebola.[32] He writes for HuffPost.[33]

In May 2018 Sengeh joined the Office of the President of Sierra Leone, working as chief innovation officer.[5] He ensured that each child in the Pujehun District had access to a laptop.[34] He spoke at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and was described as a trailblazer.[35][36] He is a musician.[37]


  1. ^ "About David Moinina Sengeh - sengeh.com". cargocollective.com. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  2. ^ a b "David Moinina Sengeh". PINC. 2016-07-07. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  3. ^ a b c "Graduate student David Sengeh gives back to Sierra Leone". MIT News. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  4. ^ "Sengeh named first chief innovation officer of Sierra Leone". www.seas.harvard.edu. 2018-05-23. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  5. ^ a b "President Bio Appoints Chief Innovation Officer, Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation". Sierra Leone State House – The Republic of Sierra Leone State House. 2018-05-17. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  6. ^ "10 Most Brilliant Innovators of 2009: Bacteria-Powered Battery". Popular Mechanics. 2009-10-06. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  7. ^ a b Techonomy. "Cyborgs From Sierra Leone: Polymath David Sengeh Brings Prosthetics To The People". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  8. ^ "Techonomy Magazine: Year-End Edition 2014 - Techonomy". Techonomy. 2014-11-08. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  9. ^ "Biomechatronics | People". biomech.media.mit.edu. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  10. ^ "A high-tech step forward - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  11. ^ Civil war survivor helps amputees - CNN Video, retrieved 2018-10-16
  12. ^ a b "David Sengeh '10 wins 2014 Lemelson-MIT student prize". www.seas.harvard.edu. 2014-04-09. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  13. ^ Sengeh, David. "David Sengeh | Speaker | TED". Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  14. ^ Sengeh, David, The sore problem of prosthetic limbs, retrieved 2018-10-16
  15. ^ "David Moinina Sengeh, 26". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  16. ^ "Introducing Africa's Best: Meet the 2014 Young Africans Committed to Excellence (YACE)". Face2Face Africa. 2014-06-26. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  17. ^ Williams, Sadie. "BIG Maker Presents Engineer David Sengeh". Seven Days. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  18. ^ THNKR. "Innovate Salone: Creating Innovation From Within Africa". The Creativity Post. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  19. ^ "David Moinina Sengeh | Edge.org". www.edge.org. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  20. ^ "Chicago Ideas: David Sengeh". Chicago Ideas. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  21. ^ "Changing "Aid to Africa" into "Made in Africa"". Engineering For Change. 2013-02-07. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  22. ^ a b "Innovate Salone | MIT Public Service Center - 25 Years". psc25.mit.edu. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  23. ^ "Person Overview ‹ David Moinina Sengeh – MIT Media Lab". MIT Media Lab. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  24. ^ "DIY Africa: Empowering a new Sierra Leone - CNN". CNN. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  25. ^ "Sierra Leone Teen Becomes MIT Media Lab's Youngest". TechPresident. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  26. ^ THNKR (2012-11-29), MIT PhD Student Invents New Prosthetics for Amputees, retrieved 2018-10-16
  27. ^ TEDx Talks (2015-03-04), The Intersection of Innovation and Inspiration | David Sengeh & Kate Krontiris | TEDxBeaconStreet, retrieved 2018-10-16
  28. ^ "David Moinina Sengeh - NEF Global Gathering". NEF Global Gathering. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  29. ^ "IBM Careers Blog". www.ibm.com. 2018-08-22. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  30. ^ a b "Two IBM Researchers to Speak at TEDGlobal 2017 in Africa". www.ibm.com. 2016-05-16. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  31. ^ "IBM's African Scientists Look to Tackle the Continent's Pressing Healthcare Challenges with AI - IBM Blog Research". www.ibm.com. 2016-05-16. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  32. ^ "Informatics in healthcare: IBM Research showcases work at AMIA 2017". www.ibm.com. 2016-05-16. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  33. ^ "David Moinina Sengeh | HuffPost". www.huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  34. ^ "Young School Innovators: to develop talents and skills | Standard Times Press". standardtimespress.org. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  35. ^ GatesFoundation (2018-08-31), Chief Innovation Officer for Sierra Leone David Sengeh | Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, retrieved 2018-10-16
  36. ^ "a conversation with Sierra Leones first Chief Innovation Officer Moinina David Sengeh". Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  37. ^ "Moinina". SoundCloud. Retrieved 2018-10-16.