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CivTech Scotland sets 13 new technology challenges


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Ivan McKee
Image source: Scottish Government CC BY 2.0 - Ivan McKee

The Scottish Government’s CivTech programme has announced 13 new challenges with the promise of over £7 million worth of contract opportunities for the successful companies.

The challenges have been set with the input of public sector bodies and charities in the seventh round of the programme to find new technology and data solutions to deal with public service issues.

The focus of this round is on using tech to empower communities, minority groups and marginalised individuals, as well solving environmental problems and improving transport infrastructure.

Successful respondents will be paid over a series of stages to work with public sector organisations in deals worth between £350,000 and £800,000 each.

The 13 challenges are as follows:

  • How can technology help detect beaver burrows and assess the associated risk to public and private interests? Sponsored by
  • How can data about businesses be used to transform the design, delivery and evaluation of business support services across Scotland’s public sector? (Scottish Government Directorate for Covid Business Resilience and Support).
  • How can technology help people self-organise and build meaningful connections as part of Scotland’s global business community? (Entrepreneurial Scotland Foundation, Scottish Government Economy Directorate, Scottish Government Digital Directorate, CivTech).
  • How can technology stimulate demand for cycling infrastructure and support communities in the south of Scotland? (South of Scotland Enterprise and Censis Technology Solutions). 
  • How might technology help match British Sign Language (BSL) users and their required interpreters more easily and equitably? (Scottish Government Directorate for Equality, Inclusion, and Human Rights).
  • How can artificial intelligence, data and digital technologies be used to enable more inclusive access to public services, starting with disabled people? (Scottish Government Digital Directorate, Directorate for Digital Health and Care, Directorate for Social Care, National Care Service, NHS 24).
  • How can technology help communities and households understand their energy needs and work with local suppliers towards sustainable energy solutions? (South of Scotland Enterprise and Censis Technology Solutions).
  • How can technology aid parents through the admissions process for an ever changing statutory entitlement to early learning and childcare? (West Lothian Council). ​
  • How can technology enable organisations and volunteers to organise while expanding and evidencing the positive impact of their work across Scotland? (White Ribbon Scotland, Scottish Government Directorate for Justice, Citizens Advice Scotland).
  • How can technology reduce the impact of giving evidence in court by helping victims and witnesses prepare for the experience? (Victim Support Scotland, Scottish Government Directorate for Justice).
  • How can technology support Citizens Advice advisors to quickly deliver the best possible outcome for their clients using data and collective expertise? (Citizens Advice Scotland).​
  • How can technology transform building standards compliance to empower citizens and contractors to produce safer and more energy-efficient buildings? (Scottish Government Directorate for Local Government and Housing).
  • How can we use technology to better understand the issues facing our town centres, and be a catalyst for revitalisation? (Scottish Borders Council and South of Scotland Enterprise).

Ivan McKee (pictured), Scottish Government minister for business, trade, tourism and enterprise, said: “This year the Scottish Government committed £6 million to this programme, which attests to the confidence we have in the real world solutions which the accelerator produces. The Scottish Government’s National Strategy for Economic Transformation will build upon this by helping deliver innovative solutions to build a sustainable economy.

“We want thinkers, creatives, entrepreneurs, innovators, to all come together and join us in finding answers to major challenges facing not just communities and individuals across the country, also around the world.”

Launched in 2016, CivTech has so far set 64 challenges with 184 teams taking part in its initial exploration stage, and 71 going through to its accelerator programme.  Over 90% of the teams engaged were pre-starts, start-ups and early stage SMEs.

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