ShareLab Scotland scheme to support online technology for energy and transport
Wind turbines on Arnish Moor - Image credit: Colin Campbell via Flickr
A new scheme has been launched to support the development of online platforms to deliver affordable clean energy and sustainable transport to remote communities.
The £172,000 ShareLab Scotland scheme will support digital projects to help vulnerable individuals and disadvantaged communities make better use of local resources.
The programme is being run by Nesta, a UK innovation foundation that promotes ideas that can help tackle current challenges.
Individuals, social enterprises, charities and community groups will be able to apply for the grants of up to £33,000, which will be awarded by a panel of experts from the Scottish Government and Nesta later this year.
A series of webinars and discussions about the scheme will be held across Scotland this summer.
After the workshops and webinars, interested organisations will be able to submit expressions of interest using a short questionnaire.
Nesta will then work with the Scottish Government to create a shortlist of ideas with greatest potential and host a workshop to develop them.
ShareLab Scotland is the latest in a series of projects across the UK developed by ShareLab, a learning and funding initiative from Nesta, which supports technology platforms that create social impact in areas as diverse as housing, health and homelessness.
Geoff Mulgan, CEO of Nesta, said: “Digital platforms have transformed how we shop and travel, creating vast global companies along the way.
“We believe that similar technologies can help deal with many of our social challenges too, and with this fund – a partnership with the Scottish Government – we hope to find great examples that can also be more controlled by local communities.
“Over the next few months Nesta’s ShareLab Scotland wants to hear from communities, start-ups and innovators of all kinds with exciting ideas about how to use collaborative digital platforms to address social needs.”
The scheme is one of a range of actions the Scottish Government plans to make in response to the report of the Expert Advisory Panel on the Collaborative Economy, which was published in January.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “The Scottish Government believe that innovation is central to our future, and in recent years I have made promoting innovation a major focus of our economic policy.
“However, governments have to ensure that our social policies respond to the technological and economic changes that we promote.
“We can’t just promote innovation in our economic policy – we also have to adopt innovation in our social policies.
“The collaborative economy brings together individuals and communities in new and innovative ways.
“There is huge opportunity for Scotland in this area, particularly given some of our geographic challenges and the potential benefits it can bring for tourism and transport in more remote areas.”