A new £9.2m fund has launched to drive more business innovation in Scotland by encouraging businesses to collaborate with Scotland’s public sector to develop innovative solutions which will help to care for elderly and disabled people.
The fund will support innovations that tackle societal challenges. Five challenges have been identified and among the tech being sought is a telecare solution in Glasgow.
It is estimated that there are 160,000 vulnerable people in Scotland who receive support and assistance through telecare, with services ranging from in-house alarms to motion detector sensors.
To support the switch from analogue to digital, Glasgow is seeking to develop consumer-oriented technologies that are digitally compatible and enable easy access to support according to user preference.
The ideal solution will be one that allows some of the most vulnerable users to live independently within their own home with reduced reliance on publicly funded interventions.
The fund was formally launched by Scottish Government Minister for Business, Energy and Innovation, Paul Wheelhouse.
Mr Wheelhouse said: “Scotland’s Can Do Innovation Challenge Fund addresses one of the biggest barriers to successful innovation among SMEs today – finding that first customer or market. This new £9.2 million fund will provide public sector agencies with the opportunity to find innovative private sector led solutions to challenges they face.”
“Scotland’s innovation performance has improved in recent years, but there is more to do to meet our long term ambitions which are to see Scotland as a recognised leader in the development, commercialisation and adoption of cutting edge products and services. As well as our Innovation Action Plan, the First Minister announced £45m increase in R&D grant funding over the next three financial years in the latest Programme for Government.
“Our ambition is clear: to create a culture in Scotland that supports businesses to use innovation to grow, all underpinned by a clear, easy to navigate, well-connected system of information, advice and support.”
Meanwhile, Jim Watson, director of innovation and enterprise services at Scottish Enterprise, said: “Increasing business innovation is critical to maintaining Scotland’s global competitiveness. The Can Do Innovation Challenge Fund is a powerful tool for us to help smaller businesses collaborate with large organisations they may not otherwise have access to, and provide funding to develop their ideas.
“We’re making excellent progress in encouraging more Scottish businesses to embrace innovation to open up new global markets, with Scottish companies securing over half of the recent R&D funding contracts with NHS Scotland to drive innovative patient care.