CivTech – innovation, technology and solutions to public sector challenges – comes to the Scottish Borders

Published: 31st May 2022

The Scottish Borders has been given the opportunity to participate in CivTech Challenge an exciting town regeneration challenge, funded by the Scottish Government

CivTech challenges, now in its seventh year, are set by public sector, local councils and charities and focus on innovation to improve public sector services. Galashiels has been chosen as one of the 13 new challenges across Scotland, put forward jointly by us and South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE), one of three challenge themes SOSE is involved with. 

Galashiels challenge will focus on how technology can help gather and analyse data to better inform investment decisions to drive town centre regeneration. We are looking for submissions from companies and individuals to develop innovative ideas, working through to a commercial solution, which may lead to a contract with the Scottish Government.

Councillor Euan Jardine, Council Leader

“Even before the pandemic many town centres across Scotland faced significant challenges: increased number of vacancies, reduced level of footfall, and general decline.

“We know regeneration is essential to support local economy, we want to invest in our towns and villages and we want to make them attractive for communities, businesses and visitors, but we must understand the impact of investment – and this is our CivTech Challenge – using data to understand and ensure investments are targeted to maximise impact.

“This is the first time Scottish Borders has participated in the CivTech Challenge it literally opens up the Borders to the world of innovation and technology – focussing on our needs – finding innovative solutions that will be a benefit not just to Galashiels but for towns across Scotland.”

There are two additional challenges SOSE is co-sponsoring

The first is focussed on how technology can help places, communities and households understand their energy needs and work with local suppliers to create sustainable energy solutions.

The second challenges aims to find out how technology can stimulate demand for cycling infrastructure and support South of Scotland communities.

Jane Morrison-Ross, Chief Executive of SOSE

“SOSE is delighted to once again be part of the CivTech programme and to be playing an active role in bringing technological innovation to the South of Scotland.

“The three challenge themes – energy, cycling and revitalising our town centres - are priorities for SOSE and the South which offer huge potential for our region. Each offers a fantastic opportunity for tech companies to secure a 100% funded contract to explore innovative and ground-breaking ideas.

“Technological innovation has the ability to make people’s lives better, which is why SOSE last year became the first enterprise agency in Scotland to agree a strategic partnership with CivTech.

“I would encourage anyone interested to visit the CivTech website, which has lots of information on each of our Challenges.”

The CivTech Challenge Programme is designed to bring together public sector expertise and private sector innovation, charities, academia from across the UK and beyond to develop solutions for the 13 new Challenges.

Any organisation or individual wishing to learn more about the CivTech programme can find out more information here