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CLIMATE


Te Scottish Government’s tech accelerator is spearheading a public sector response to carbon reduction


CivTech is poised to join the frontline response in fight against climate change


BY KEVIN O’SULLIVAN


CivTech – the Scottish Government’s flagship innovation and tech- nology accelerator scheme for start-up companies – is poised to become a significant addition to the public sector response to climate change. Te government business men-


torship and support programme, which held its fourth annual ‘demo day’ on Wednesday, March 4 at the Edinburgh International Confer- ence Centre (EICC) – has indicated a shift in policy focus as the public sector considers new ways to harness entrepreneurial talent to help the country realise ‘net zero’ carbon aspirations by 2045. More than 500 delegates gath-


ered for CivTech Demo Day 4.0 to watch 14 companies respond to public sector challenges, with almost half of this year’s cohort explicitly focused on ameliorat- ing national and local government responses to environmental chal- lenges. Colin Cook, Director Digital,


Te Scottish Government, reflect-


ed on the urgent need for public services to try and find ways to bring solutions to market which can help not only Scotland but global governments adopt climate change-focused innovations and technologies.


Addressing a packed auditorium at the full-day event, which fea- tured its first ‘Net Zero Zone’, Cook said: “We have the opportunity to address the biggest challenges of our time and later this year in Glasgow the Scottish Government and Scotland hosts COP26. “And what we’re going to do


– and we’re going to put all our energies and passion into doing – is to leverage what we see today in the Net Zero Zone, leverage the six companies that are already trying to tackle climate change, build on that and focus the future of CivTech on tackling the climate emergency.” He said: “With your support in


that area I think we can do some- thing really special and use COP 26 to send a powerful message, not only about Scotland’s determina-


20 | FUTURESCOT | SPRING 2020


tion to address the climate emer- gency but also about the level of innovation in digital and data that we have. It’s a great challenge and it’s a great future for CivTech. “


Among the challenge sponsors at the conference were Glasgow City Council, which asked technology providers, ‘How can we help citi- zens reduce their carbon footprint and make the city more resilient to the impacts of climate change?’ Te council worked with Reshape Technology, which devised an app to help people at an individual level measure their own impact on the environment, through their everyday behaviours. Te idea behind the tech is that everyone with a mobile phone can download a ‘fitness app for the planet’ and view a dashboard of their ‘carbon stats’, with access to a series of features which even ‘gamifies’ the experience.


Cook said that COP26 in


Glasgow in November – where the world’s eyes will be on Scotland and the UK as hosts of the global UN climate summit – could be a fantastic platform for Scotland to showcase some of the climate change-focused applications being developed through the CivTech programme. He added: “CivTech is de-


signed to meet the major public service challenges of its day and there is no greater public service challenge and no greater societal challenge than climate change. So, it’s up to us to use the CivTech process to get the energies of entrepreneurs, academics, small business people and get them working with government to develop solutions. And that’s what we intend to do. I think with COP26 coming up, quite often with good ideas like these, you need a platform to launch


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