€1.2m to fund 20 digital innovation projects across rural Ireland

19 Aug 2021

Image: © Hurca!/Stock.adobe.com

The funded projects will trial new technology and expand existing work to support innovation and digital development in rural Ireland.

Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys, TD, announced €1.2m in funding today (19 August) for 20 digital projects in rural communities across Ireland.

The funding is under the Our Rural Future Digital Innovation Programme and successful applications included a defibrillator app, inflatable cinema screens and an air quality monitoring project.

‘This small scheme is all about giving rural communities the opportunity to trial new technologies which will solve local problems’

Projects could be submitted under the branches of innovation or scaling up. Innovation projects were eligible to receive as much as €75,000 to trial entirely new technologies or use existing ones in new and creative ways.

The second stream consisted of projects that have proven their value but plan to be scaled up. This could include bringing initiatives from a county to a national level or projects designed for a particular cohort being expanded beyond their initial intended group. The maximum award under this stream was €200,000.

“The Digital Innovation Programme is designed to encourage innovation and collaboration, and to help us to work smarter in supporting rural Ireland. The range of projects approved today showcase the imagination, energy and expertise that exists in rural Ireland,” said Humphreys.

“People who live in rural Ireland are nothing if not innovative. In recent years we have seen drones delivering medicine to our island communities. This small scheme is all about giving rural communities the opportunity to trial new technologies which will solve local problems. If it works for one community, it can work for others and we can then look at replicating these models in other areas.”

The defibrillator location app is being developed by Roscommon County Council and will enable users to locate the nearest defibrillator to their location in an emergency. The local council hopes this will allow users to find equipment as quickly as possible in the event of a cardiac arrest and said it has the potential to be scaled nationally.

Monaghan County Council is developing the inflatable screens as a platform to deliver information to the public and will be made available to local organisations. Meanwhile, a project in Meath will receive €163,518 to configure and install nine air quality monitors across the town of Trim. Data will be made available on a dashboard on the council website for the public.

More details about the selected projects can be found here.

Sam Cox was a journalist at Silicon Republic covering sci-tech news