Today (10 May), the Minister for Implementation, Oliver Dowden MP, announced the first round of challenges to be tackled through the £20m GovTech Fund, including tracking waste through the waste chain.
The fund, launched by the Prime Minister in November 2017, is designed to incentivise Britain’s tech firms to come up with innovative solutions to fix public sector problems and improve services for citizens.
Tech firms bidding to the fund will have free reign to create truly innovative fixes. Those successful will receive funding to cover their research and development costs.
Winning companies will be awarded up to £50,000 to develop their ideas.
The companies providing the best potential solutions will then be awarded research and development contracts of up to £500,000 to build prototypes. These solutions will then be available for the public sector to purchase.
Defra – “This data is also crucial to helping us ensure that waste is managed properly and does not damage the environment. Waste tracking can provide a basis for more effective compliance and enforcement work, so reducing waste crime.”
The challenges announced today, which will be launched in coming months include tracking waste through the waste chain, submitted by Defra. A new technological approach could help record, check and track waste, helping boost productivity, reduce costs, and protect both human health and the environment.
This challenge supports the forthcoming Resources and Waste Strategy and helps deliver commitments in the Clean Growth Strategy, the Industrial Strategy, and the 25 Year Environment Plan, all of which commit to looking at waste data and waste tracking.
In shaping this challenge, Defra has worked closely with the Environment Agency and counterparts in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on a waste tracking discovery project. The research conducted during this discovery project, including considerable user research will be used to support this challenge.
“We know from this research that many large companies have their own electronic solutions for managing waste that work with their business systems, this challenge is not intended to replace them,” Defra said. “But our research also found that many businesses, both small and large, want better information on all the wastes they manage where it goes to, and what happens to it.
“This was also a key finding of the Report of the Government Chief Scientific Adviser, From Waste to Resource Productivity.
“This data is also crucial to helping us ensure that waste is managed properly and does not damage the environment. Waste tracking can provide a basis for more effective compliance and enforcement work, so reducing waste crime.
“Once the challenge is launched the involvement of the waste sector, and waste producing businesses will be absolutely critical to helping us identify, test and develop innovative and viable solutions. We will communicate ways businesses can get involved in due course.”