By Daniel Hunter
More than £2.5million worth of competitive contract funding is being opened up to businesses during the first quarter of 2015 as part of an ongoing drive to solve challenges facing public sector organisations in Wales.
Six competitions launched through the Welsh Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) Innovation Catalyst Programme are introducing new opportunities for the business community to engage with the Welsh public sector and promote innovative solutions to challenges identified within the energy, transport and other public service areas.
The scheme is being funded through a combination of support from Welsh Government, Innovate UK, Department for Energy and Climate Change and by the challenge owners, which in this case include Cardiff Council, South Wales Police, Betsi Cadwalader Health Board, Welsh Government and Natural Resources Wales.
Now in its second year, businesses are being invited to competitively bid for R&D funding available via the SBRI scheme, to help catalyse new technology development that will lead to the procurement of innovative solutions.
Individual opportunities include the chance to compete for a share of £1m in funding set aside to help Cardiff Council explore the increased use of cost effective, portable and r renewable energy technologies at a number of vacant and disused sites in the area.
More than £500,000 has also been allocated for the development of research and demonstration projects that can help Welsh Government reduce the number of motorcyclists killed or seriously injured on Welsh roads in partnership with Innovate UK and RoSPA Wales.
South Wales Police has launched a £250,000 project intended to improve police efficiencies, forecasting methods, and crime prevention and detection rates among other things, through the improvement of data analysis, prediction, integration and interpretation methods.
Betsi Cadwaladwr Health Board is also inviting bids for a share of £160,000 made available to investigate the market for innovative technological solutions that will promote independence in cooking tasks amongst service users with acquired brain injuries that are currently supported by one-to-one prompting from therapists and other support workers.
Edwina Hart, Minister for Economy, said: “Funded with support from Welsh Government, Innovate UK and the individual bodies involved, the Welsh SBRI Innovation Catalyst Programme continues to lead the drive in creating opportunities for businesses to develop novel solutions for the benefit of Welsh public sector services.
“Wales itself is home to thousands of innovative businesses and the challenge is on to ensure companies from across the board that are capable of addressing these issues get the opportunity to showcase their ideas in order to procure the innovative technological developments needed in partnership with those organisations involved.
“As these projects collectively show, the Programme continues to drive innovation in public services and offer opportunities for innovative businesses to win contracts that will stimulate investment in R&D.”
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