Identifying innovative solutions to challenges presented by COVID-19

In March 2020, PUBLIC launched TechForce19 – a new-challenge based programme to identify digital solutions to challenges presented by COVID 19.

Developed in partnership with the UK’s NHSX, Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and the Academic Health Science Networks (AHSN Network), TechForce19 invited innovators with digital solutions that could support the elderly, vulnerable and self-isolating during COVID-19 to apply for government funding of up to £25000.

With NHSX giving the programme the greenlight just 9 days before the planned launch, PUBLIC’s team coordinated the application and challenge elements of the process, with the AHSN Network acting as innovation partner.

Our research and programmes teams worked with NHSX project leads to break down the challenge into three sub-themes, helping to clarify the agencies priorities and the gaps in provision it was seeking to fill as part of this challenge.

The competition opened in late March 2020, and ran for just under 10 days – at the end of which we had received over 1600 applications from innovators with solutions that were ready to go.

Following an extensive sift of applications and dozens of interviews with prospective companies, NHSX announced the 18 solutions that would receive up to £25000k each and be taken forward for further testing across a range of different settings.

Remote Social Care

  • Finding healthy and qualified carers who can provide support for those in need
  • Managing and delivering care in care homes
  • Delivering domiciliary care and technology in the hom

Optimising Staffing in Care and Volunteering Sectors

  • Recruiting, training and certifying of doctors and nurses and professional carers
  • Volunteering – recruiting and triaging volunteers into clinical and non-clinical workers
  • Projecting demand for health and care workers across the country to improve deployment and management of resources
  • Tackling data gaps in the care sector to understand the financial sustainability and needs of care businesseS

Mental Health

  • Discovering and delivering mental health services
  • Accessing relevant and inclusive peer 2 peer communities
  • Supporting self-management of mental health and well-being
  • Facilitating employee well-being

Next steps

We’ll be announcing further news on the TechForce19 programme in due course. Keep checking back here regularly for an update on what happened with the companies and the trials of their products.

Find out how a challenge-based programme could help your organisation
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