Government unveils GovTech £20m competition to tackle Britain's social problems

£20m GovTech Challenge fund looks to solve UK social problems

Government

The UK government has launched a competition for tech firms to develop systems and products to tackle social problems in the country.

The competition was unveiled by Minister for Implementation, Oliver Dowden, at the government's flagship digital conference Sprint 18.

It covers a range of issues that the government is focusing on, such as the data economy; clean growth; healthy ageing and the future of mobility. The competitions will be delivered using the 20 million GovTech fund launched by the Prime Minister last November.

The first competition opens on 14 May and will run six weeks. The remaining competitions being launched in subsequent months. Successful companies will be awarded up to 50,000 to develop their ideas.

The government said that those companies with the best potential technology will then be awarded research and development contracts of up to 500,000 to build prototypes. The fruits of their labours will be made available to the public sector to purchase.

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Dowden said that the government is committed to providing more opportunities for tech businesses, including small firms, to access public procurement contracts.

"The GovTech fund encourages firms to find innovative ways to fix the big social problems we all face - loneliness, plastic pollution and national security," he said. "Through emerging technologies, this fund will elevate British companies onto a global market while helping to deliver outstanding public services and improving lives for people."

In the coming months, the government will launch competitions such as on to identify terrorist still imagery, tracking waste through the waste chain, tackling loneliness and rural isolation, and cutting traffic congestion.

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