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London sets innovation challenges for pandemic recovery


Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has set a series of challenges for innovators to support the city’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

It comes with the setting up of a £1 million Resilience Fund and the naming of a partners to work on the development of ideas under the challenges.

Most include an emphasis on data and digital technology to address serious issues facing the capital.

These include using data to: activate vacant properties on high streets, in partnership with Ealing Council; reduce vulnerable residents’ exposure to air pollution (Lambeth Council); develop Covid-safe travel; facilitate better pay and conditions for gig economy workers (the Living Wage Foundation); and make freight journeys smarter and greener (Better Bankside BID and King’s College London).

Other challenges cover: helping local businesses access and occupy affordable workspaces (with Hackney Wick and Fish Island Creative Enterprise Zone); improving bereavement support services communities disproportionately affected by the pandemic (Thrive LDN); tackling food insecurity (Groundwork London); increasing activity and resilience in London’s markets (Hackney Council); and using water for renewable energy (Royal Docks Team).

The Resilience Fund is being delivered in partnership with innovation charity Nesta and the London Economic Action Partnership, and will provide grants of up to £50,000 for the development of solutions.

Design initiative

Khan has also called on public bodies, charities, businesses, social enterprises and educational institutions to take in the Designing London’s Recovery initiative to help organisations work together on some of the city’s challenges. It will be delivered with the Design Council and the London Office for Technology and Innovation.

He commented: “I’m doing all I can to support our creative businesses and organisations – so I’m calling on them to come forward with their ideas and take advantage of the funding and support on offer.

“This has been a very dark and difficult period for our city and I hope that these funds will bring together the capital’s talent and help build a more resilient city.”

Image from iStock, Javenlin

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