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Nesta backs Coronavirus Tech Handbook


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Innovation charity Nesta has provided £50,000 to support the development of the Coronavirus Tech Handbook, a digital repository of technology responses to the pandemic.

The handbook has been set up by Edward Saperia and Nathan Young from the Newspeak House college of political technologists. It has been created for public and private organisations, technologists, researchers and specialists to identify what work has been done, reduce duplication, encourage re-use and identify gaps in knowledge.

Nesta said it has already helped UK doctors advise counterparts in Ecuador how to develop safe personal protective equipment, mutual aid groups to share ways of organising volunteers, and the exchange of dashboards for interpreting data related to the coronavirus.

The charity’s initial funding will support the development of the handbook to allow for more users at a time, improve the search function and the capacity for exporting links.

Global scale

Vick Sellick, executive director of programmes at Nesta, said: “Nesta will be supporting the Coronavirus Tech Handbook as it facilitates community response to COVID-19 on a global scale.

“The project is harnessing the wisdom of the crowd and has grown at an enormous rate since it was set up just a few weeks ago. In such a fast moving situation the Coronavirus Tech Handbook is a clever way to coordinate efforts around the world and share the technologies and strategies that could save lives.”

Edward Saperia from Newspeak House said: "The main problem is one of coordination. Experts and institutions across all nations are all focusing their efforts on this - we will beat it if we work together, and that means specialising and learning from each other.

“If you're working on a response to this pandemic, whether as part of a large institution or a lone volunteer, make sure it's represented in the handbook. If you're updating your strategy, review the handbook to see if you can learn from the experience of others.”

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