An extra £20m is being ploughed into a government-backed scheme designed to encourage the public sector to invest in innovative technology from SME suppliers.
The Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI), which is backed by the Technology Strategy Board quango, aims to help smaller tech firms develop and deploy technology which caters to public sector desires. Design competitions are run for specific initiatives based on things like energy efficiency, promoting good health and the effective use of remote technology in the NHS.
Launched last year, projects already awarded through SBRI include the £17m Retrofit for the Future programme, in which 180 organisations across 193 projects have been tasked with cutting carbon emissions from social housing. The £2.75m Energy Efficient Whitehall project is also underway, with the aim of improving the energy efficiency of government buildings in the iconic Westminster street.
The Technology Strategy Board has now announced that an extra £20m has been made available to SBRI to fund continued investment.
The board's chief executive Iain Gray said: “We want to ensure that public sector procurement activity in the UK helps to stimulate the mass of innovative potential in business, especially small business.
"There is a huge untapped resource that we really want public sector bodies to access, in the form of strong growing and innovative businesses, who, when given a chance, can offer up the right technology-enabled solutions to many public sector needs and challenges.“
Mark Glover, head of SBRI for the Technology Strategy Board, claimed top investment initiatives this year would be "promoting low carbon economic growth, the life sciences and security".
"The decision to allocate further spending in this area is testimony to the inherent need for the programme and the increasing political will for government departments to find solutions to their own challenges by supporting innovation and innovative businesses," he added.
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