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Scottish Government confirms CivTech’s future



Administration announces continuation of public service tech accelerator fund with new phase of projects

The Scottish Government has confirmed its continued support for the CivTech accelerator, taking it from pilot status to an ongoing programme with plans for a new round of projects.

The programme is aimed at matching digital tech innovators – typically start-ups and SMEs – with public sector organisations to create digital solutions for a range of ‘civic challenges’.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said it will provide the seed funding to keep the programme going while the individual projects will be funded by the public authorities that set the challenges.

The new round, titled CivTech 2.0, involves seven:

  • Cairngorms National Parks Authority / Scottish Natural Heritage – Combat the persecution of birds of prey.
  • Historic Environment Scotland – Track visitors to Scotland’s historic attraction.
  • NHS National Services Scotland / Scottish Government – Improve access to Scotland’s statistical information.
  • NHS Scotland – Create a smarter booking system for outpatient appointments.
  • Scottish Government – Develop a way to use data to provide better access to public services through the portal.
  • Scottish Enterprise – Mobilise its networks to build brand Scotland.
  • Stirling Council – Capture and use data to improve local services.

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay said: “Scotland is highly regarded around the world for innovation. We have some of the brightest entrepreneurial minds based here on our own doorstep, so it makes perfect sense to tap into that talent to help the public sector work faster and smarter.

“If we want to be a world leader in tech we need to create conditions that allow companies to thrive, and that includes enabling new ways of working, such as streamlining the public sector procurement processes and working in a more agile, fast-paced way.”

Nine from phase one

Under last year’s pilot nine firms delivered a range of products in partnership with bodies such as the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, NHS Scotland and Transport Scotland. This led to a new flood forecasting system, smart road monitoring software which promises “to detect potholes before they happen”, and a new fundraising service for homeless people enabling them to raise and access emergency funding.

Learn to Love Digital was among the companies backed in the first round, developing its Highlands Discovery app to provide information about the passing landscape along the A9 motorway. Its co-founder, Stephen Heron, said: “The experience has enabled us to make connections with the public sector and other start-ups within the tech industry. It has given us an opportunity to access markets that would otherwise have been impossible.”

Image: The River Track app, one of the projects from the CivTech pilot

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