The Norwich Testing Initiative was born from a shared commitment to ensure the collective strength of Norwich Research Park was used to protect the local community in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Together UEA’s Norwich Medical School and the Earlham Institute harnessed their expertise and equipment working tirelessly to provide accurate, rapid results delivered securely and compassionately. A high through-put PCR lab was created and allied to a primary testing facility in Earlham Institute, and a logistics system was designed in collaboration with industry experts and delivered to a standard well above Public Health England requirements. UEA’s School of Computing Sciences developed a bespoke online data system to an exceptional standard of data protection. Through iterative design, daily prototyping and reapplication of learning, the Norwich Testing Initiative has rapidly evolved and innovated, influencing policy and practice locally and nationally. The Norwich Testing Initiative positioned UEA as one of only nine UK universities able to provide asymptomatic testing at the start of the academic year in September 2020. This would not have been possible without the dedication, commitment, enthusiasm and expertise of the staff and student volunteers who stepped forward to help. The Initiative has been a major collaboration in the face of the pandemic. Its direct health impact on users is extensive with over 17,000 tests run and over 225 positive cases identified, many lacking symptoms or awareness of their infection.