The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has announced it is making up to £20 million available for technology projects to support national resilience.
The money – with grants of up to £50,000 per project – will be made available through a competition run by national innovation agency Innovate UK.
It will be open to technology and research focused businesses for solutions that could help people at home in circumstances like the coronavirus outbreak, and to support critical industries such as transport, food manufacturing and delivery services.
BEIS said this could include services for families to connect with and remotely monitor elderly or vulnerable relatives, and to ensure they are receiving services such as food deliveries and doctor’s appointments.
It also pointed to the potential for education tools to allow teachers to set tasks for children remotely.
Science Minister Amanda Solloway MP said: “The response of researchers and businesses to the coronavirus outbreak have been remarkable. This new investment will support the development of technologies that can help industries, communities and individuals adapt to new ways of working when situations like this, and other incidents, arise.”
Innovate UK said the entries must demonstrate both realistic and significant benefits for society or an industry that has been severely impacted and/or permanently disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The competition is open for entries until 17 April. All of the selected projects should begin by June of this year and last up to six months, with the products and services expected to be available to the public towards the end of the year.