20 diverse projects have successfully secured funding from this year’s call for ideas under the Public Service Innovation Fund, an initiative of the Our Public Service 2020 reform strategy for development and innovation in the Public Service.
The Fund, which was established in 2019, is a competition designed to support innovative ideas from public service bodies to promote collaboration and new and better approaches to service delivery.
This year’s call saw a total of 279 project proposals received from organisations in all sectors of the Public Service – Civil Service, Defence Forces, Education Sector, Health Sector, Local Government, Justice Sector and Non-Commercial State Agencies.
Announcing the results, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath TD, said:
“The Public Service needs to be innovative and agile to effectively respond to the many challenges it faces. We’ve witnessed the enormous innovative capacity of our public service organisations in dealing with the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic over the last year. This innovation needs to be encouraged and sustained beyond the crisis to ensure Ireland and its citizens thrive into the future.
“We need our Public Service to collaborate with the entire innovation ecosystem including academia and industry to solve some of the more intricate problems we face. We need to embrace enhanced ways of working by adopting new and emerging technologies that will help us design and deliver better and more efficient services for the public. Importantly, we must include people at the centre of our service design to ensure better user outcomes.
“I want to congratulate the project leads receiving funding this year in what is a highly competitive process. The projects clearly demonstrate the willingness of public servants to work together to find better solutions.
“It is imperative that we create value in every public project embarked on, whether in healthcare, our emergency services, digital delivery of public services or education for our young people.
“The portfolio of projects contains a diverse selection of innovations from around the country and across all sectors of the Public Service. Many are collaborative and have demonstrated evidence of their potential to scale and transfer within, and in some cases outside their own sectors. The common factor among all projects funded is the value created for the public, whether it be a patient, student or local business”
Projects will completed before the end of 2021 with funding awards between €25,000 and €55,000 per project. The 20 successful projects (see full list below) display many types of innovation being employed across all sectors:
- A remotely operated robotic vehicle to assist Cork City Fire Department in emergency incidents such as leaking hazardous materials, gas leaks, extremely high fire temperatures;
- Carlow Kilkenny Mental Health Services will create a Dementia friendly garden;
- The development of a minimum viable product in the form of a disruptive, emerging and sustainable technologies portal for IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland clients;
- The Defence Forces will design and develop a suite of alternative remote disablement techniques to nullify the risks posed from explosive ordnance.
- Cork City Council aims to encourage more sustainable travel, particularly with retail deliveries and businesses by establishing a cargo bike fleet ‘library’ where businesses and community groups will be allowed to borrow a bike for six months on a trial scheme to see if a cargo bike can be used on a daily basis as an alternative to other modes of transport before they invest heavily themselves;
- The National Building Control Office will integrate technologies in Smart Inspections with a combination of virtual reality, thermal imaging and drone technology to capture leaks, missing insulation, materials, etc., which will allow inspectors to see what the naked eye cannot and get into spaces that that are inaccessible and dangerous for an inspector.
- Cork University Hospital will create a combined automated process for meal ordering and nutrition screening for patients;
- The Office of Public Works is going to develop guidance for deep energy renovation of public sector historic properties;
- The Courts Service with other Justice Sector partners will introduce a JAM card training programme to improve customer service offerings for people with communication difficulties.
- Tallaght Cross Primary Care Centre’s project is to provide Equine Assisted Occupational Therapy intervention in a community setting for children attending Primary Care Occupational Therapy Services in CHO7 Dublin South West;
- St James’s Hospital together with the Spark Innovation Programme/NDTP and the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) will create a design space for public healthcare innovation;
- Cavan County Council, together with South Cavan South Monaghan CAMHS HSE and Mental Health Ireland will work on a project to support young people in personal growth and self-advocacy using creative arts therapies;
- Dublin City Council in collaboration with Irish Aviation Authority, Local Government Management Agency and Smart Dublin aim to accelerate the potential of drones for local government;
- Monaghan County Council is working with OGCIO, Cavan County Council, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, Laois County Council, Leitrim County Council, Longford County Council, Louth County Council, Sligo County Council and the Irish Road Haulage Association to develop MyCoCo, an online platform to provide the diverse services of the local authority sector;
- Tusla, the Child and Family Agency in collaboration with Corpus Christi Primary School in Moyross, Limerick will create an implementation package that will support and link individual outcome measures to population level outcome measures to inform a wider system impact analysis.
- IMMA- Irish Museum of Modern Art, through a partnership with Forerunner, will provide areas throughout their grounds which are safe spaces for families, friends, and individuals to relax and engage with IMMA’s free events. These will be a combination of bespoke seating, convivial gathering structures and demarcation on the ground, all of which will comply with COVID guidelines, and offer socially distant and structurally sound spaces for the public to spend time outdoors.
- Dublin City Council’s project aims to ‘Reclaim the Lanes’ in Poppintree in Ballymun for the purpose of public space using a collaborative approach with Community Groups, Local Agencies and DCC.
- Maynooth University in collaboration with Dublin City University, The Irish Refugee Council and Dublin Castle will create the ‘We are here HEAR’ project, an outdoor and virtual exhibition of photographs taken by refugees to illustrate barriers they experienced accessing Higher Education, alongside accompanying descriptions.
- The Mater Misericordiae University Hospital together with CH09 Community Health Network Team, Irish Heart Foundation, HSE National Stroke Programme, Irish College of General Practitioners, National College of Art and Design and UCD Health Systems will further develop ‘StrokeLINK’, their unique patient empowerment programme which is nurse-led and includes novel physical and digital tools which were co-designed with patients, carers, hospital and community healthcare workers to not only be useful but fun and engaging;
- The HSE Digital Transformation Division will bring a mobile X-ray Service to HSE Nursing Homes thereby allowing service users to be scanned in their familiar environments and improving user experiences.
A full list of successful projects funded this year and previous years is available online: https://www.ops2020.gov.ie/funding