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£250,000 Digital Innovation Fund announced by Welsh Government and Y Lab

3 November 2015

Steve Gamlin

Digital Innovation Fund to grow use of digital technology in public services
A new fund that will explore how digital technology can help innovate public services in Wales will be announced today (Nov 3) by the Welsh Government.

The £250,000 Digital Innovation Fund will be delivered by Nesta and Cardiff University’s ‘Y Lab’ - an initiative launched in July to devise and test new solutions to major public service challenges in Wales.

The fund, which will open to applicants later this month, will support public service organisations wishing to use digital technology to trial smarter and more efficient ways of working. The funded projects will inform future areas of focus for the Welsh Government and Y Lab.

Examples of projects that could be funded include those that use public data to better target services, or that streamline systems and processes to reduce costs and make services more accessible. 

Support provided through the fund will also include access to business advice, events, workshops and mentoring. The fund will also be used to support the establishment of a new Digital Innovators Network, run by Y Lab, which will bring together public and private sector digital leaders to share best practice.

More information about the fund and the Digital Innovators Network can be found here.

Speaking ahead of the launch of the fund, the Welsh Government's Minister for Public Services, Leighton Andrews AM said:  “We recognise that digital has transformed the way people live their lives and we want public services to use digital approaches to transform the way they interact with citizens.  The Digital Innovation Fund will support the Welsh public service to build the capability to deliver digital services and find new solutions to the challenges faced by the public sector. I am delighted to be working in partnership with Nesta and Cardiff University’s Y Lab to enable much-needed innovation in this area.”

Professor Rick Delbridge, Dean of Research, Innovation and Enterprise at Cardiff, said: "Cardiff University has a proud track record of working with and bringing together innovation practitioners in the public and private sectors to help improve public service delivery in Wales. Today's funding announcement will see the next phase in this work.

"The Digital Innovation Fund will be an important mechanism through which Welsh public services can boost their capacity to take advantage of technology, trial new approaches and tap into new opportunities and approaches.

"Through Y Lab, we'll be working to develop collaborative links across the public sector and to connect these with blue chip companies and third sector organisations to tackle the big issues that have an impact on the prosperity and wellbeing of the whole nation."

Simon Brindle, Y Lab Director, Nesta, said: "The Digital Innovation Fund creates an exciting opportunity for Welsh public services to learn from cutting edge digital developments in the public and private sectors.  The fund will support the acceleration of learning and development of digital public services in Wales, helping to identify ways to reduce costs and improve outcomes.”