18 sci-tech projects bag funding to tackle Irish public service problems

15 Mar 2023

Image: © tstockphoto/Stock.adobe.com

The recipients of the Irish Government’s Public Service Innovation Fund include local authorities and hospitals who will use tech to boost services.

A series of 18 projects is set to share in funding worth €750,000 from the Irish Government’s Public Service Innovation Fund 2023.

The funding will be distributed among scientists and researchers all over the country who will work on ways to improve Ireland’s public health services.

Projects allocated funding under today’s (15 March) announcement are looking into solutions for issues in areas such as health, climate and accessibility to public services.

Some of the ways this year’s projects plan on using tech to tackle social issues include drones to support healthcare delivery in rural Ireland; AI and 3D technology for advanced healthcare treatment; and exploring the energy potential of public land.

Each project will receive funding of between €25,000 and €60,000 from the total pot. The researchers will also be able to avail of support and mentoring from the Public Sector Transformation Delivery Unit at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

Minister Paschal Donohoe, TD, who leads that department, congratulated the successful recipients.

“These successful projects contain impressive and imaginative examples of new ways of thinking, embracing technology and engaging with the citizen in ways that support the creation of efficient and effective service delivery,” he said.

Digital Transformation

Under this category, there were six different projects awarded funding. The HSE received funding for three separate projects.

The first of these involves the design and development of an app that will provide a system for effective assessment and treatment of young people with ADHD.

The HSE will also work on a project that uses AI to make treating patients with kidney disease easier.

The third HSE project will be an app that will be gamified and can send push messages to remind patients to do the exercises required to prevent Lymphoedema.

Limerick City and County Council received funding for two separate projects also. One project will focus on streamlining the hospital bed management system using automated tech.

The other is also hospital-focused and involves the use of drones to help under-resourced staff with things like delivering medicine.

The final project to receive funding under the digital transformation category was Beaumont Hospital’s plan to design technology that can help detect breast cancer.

Citizen Support Innovation

Four projects received funding under this category. They were St James’s Hospital’s planned service for people with pleural effusions, as well as a new automated SPSV driver licensing system by the National Transport Authority; and a citizens’ information board to build on the rural library network.

And Longford County Council got funding to further its aim of making computer science a Leaving Cert subject. It will work with companies like Microsoft and Ericcson to upskill teachers in the area.

Innovative Design of Services

Under this category, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital will develop a teaching tool that addresses the current gap in teaching options for dermatology.

The Public Appointments Service will work on its ability to make its appointments and recruitment processes better and more inclusive for people with disabilities.

University Hospital Limerick will design and pilot a new service for patients that have undergone a complete mastectomy.

The Department of Justice will develop a business development simulation training package.

Green and Sustainability

Three local authorities received funding for their projects under this year’s awards.

Kildare County Council will investigate the potential for managed green spaces to contribute to climate action and climate mitigation opportunities.

Leitrim County Council will conduct research on identifying solutions for sustainable rural mobility. The project team intends to develop a model based on Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) that will activate a shift away from privately-owned modes of transportation towards shared mobility services.

And finally Dublin City Council will design and implement new Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) or Rain Box Planters which will help avoid flooding.

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Blathnaid O’Dea was a Careers reporter at Silicon Republic until 2024.