Scottish Government’s £250,000 fund for high-tech innovators

Package will be shared by four promising CivTech solutions

The Scottish Government has unveiled a £250,000 funding package for four innovation challenges which aim to improve public services. From keeping tenants safer by

making it easier to coordinate tenement repairs, to growing more trees as part of action on the climate emergency, the projects are all developing new technol- ogy solutions to tackle challenges Scotland is facing as a nation. Te projects are being supported

through the Scottish Govern- ment’s CivTech® programme, a flagship initiative which brings together “challenge setters” from the public sector with “challenge solvers” from the private sector to develop innovative new technol- ogy solutions. Te funding is part of a total of over £600,000 in contract awards which have been made across the four companies to continue to develop the prototypes which were showcased at CivTech Demo Day 4.0 on March 4. “By bringing together the talent

which exists in our entrepre- neurial and tech sectors and the subject matter expertise of our dedicated public servants these projects show what can be achieved in terms of new solu- tions with real potential to scale,” said Colin Cook, Director Digital, Scottish Government. Te Digital Directorate is work-

ing on the fund with the Scottish Government’s Economic Devel- opment Directorate to support inclusive growth through the de- velopment and application of new technologies. It co-funds CivTech because it is “an economic win- win: injecting innovation into our

public services while developing some of Scotland’s most promis- ing and innovative startups.” Tere is an added international

dimension to the work, as govern- ment seeks to build on its recent- ly-launched ‘Brand Scotland’ cam- paign, in order to develop overseas markets. Cat Leaver, Director of the Cross Agency Initiative, Brand Scotland, said: “CivTech is an excellent opportunity to build our international networks, showcase the brilliant ideas coming from Scottish businesses and continue to promote Scotland as a country at the forefront of technological innovation.” Te announcement comes on

the back of CivTech’s Demo Day event on 4 March 2020, which showcased 14 innovative solutions to a wide range of different chal- lenges. Te event was attended by more than 500 people from public, private and third sector organisations from across Scot- land and from around the world.

CIVTECH INNOVATORS: While tenements are a key feature of Scotland’s cities and towns coor-

dinating repairs can be a complex task and when they are not com- pleted they can create serious risks for the public on the streets. An award of approximately £56,000 has been allocated to Te City of Edinburgh Council to work with Novoville. Teir technology makes easier for owners and the council to coordinate on planning and managing repairs to tenements. From bins to lawn mowers to

laptops, local authorities manage a huge variety of assets. However they can often go missing and valuable staff time is wasted in re- locating the assets. West Dunbar- tonshire Council has been awarded £59,000 through the fund to work with Dundee-based M2M Cloud to develop tracking systems for assets. Teir technology uses a novel low cost approach to discovering off- network assets without the need for significant additional hardware infrastructure investment. Trees are a central part of

nearly every nation’s response to the climate emergency, however we have a limited supply of seed which limits the number of ad- ditional trees we can commit to

growing. An award of £50,000 has been made to Forestry and Land Scotland for field trials of 4 different novel approaches to making our limited supply of tree seed go further. Te companies delivering field trials are; Elsoms Seeds, Cumbria Tree Growers, SilviBio and Forestart. In recognition of the con-

sequences of climate change, Glasgow City Council has de- clared a Climate Emergency and data is key to making informed decisions. An award of £84,000 has been made to Reshape Technology whose app will make it easier for people to measure, monitor and identify ways to reduce their carbon emissions through connecting to a wide range of data sources. l

See page 20 for more.

This article was written before the current crisis surrounding the country’s response to COVID-19 which the Scottish Government recognises as the most significant challenge facing the Scottish public sector and our communities.


Colin Cook, Director Digital, Scottish Government, addresses delegates at CivTech Demo Day 4.0

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