Funding

2019 Public Service Innovation Fund

 

The Public Service Innovation Fund is a competitive fund that aims to support innovative ideas from across Public Service organisations and turn them into a reality. If you work in the public service and you have a great idea that can add value to your organisation or improve services for the public, we want to support you in turning your idea into a reality.

Innovative projects were sought that could be realised in 2019, projects that are scalable and ideas that are transferable within the public service. For full details of the 2019 scheme please click here.

Applications were evaluated by a two-step process, resulting in a short-list of projects for a final evaluation by Public Service experts across all sectors. This resulted in 18 projects chosen for funding. Details of all 18 projects below.

The 2020 call for projects will be published in December.

Projects funded under Public Service Innovation Fund in 2019

LIFT (Leading Ireland’s Future Together) Youth Personal Development Project

Confey College, Leixlip

Funding: €10,000

LIFT (Leading Ireland’s Future Together) Ireland is a not-for-profit initiative aimed at increasing the level of positive leadership in Ireland. The LIFT Youth programme was implemented on a pilot basis in 2018-19 in Confey College, a secondary school in Leixlip, and the response from teachers and students was overwhelmingly positive. LIFT encourages young people to focus on their core values and is usually done on a peer-to-peer basis. It differs from other programmes in that the focus is on self-reflection and the need for adult leadership is minimised.

The funding granted will be used to deliver facilitation training for young people directly within the school and therefore reach far greater numbers of young people in a shorter period of time.

 


Online Profile Tool for SMEs – Competitive Intelligence for Business

Centrals Statistics Office and Enterprise Ireland

Funding: €50,000

In order to plan and finance innovation, start-up companies and SMEs require competitive analysis to develop targeted growth strategies, generate business plans, draft funding applications and apply for bank loans.

The funding will support the development of an online profile tool with visualisation and relevant outputs for businesses. This will help them to profile their current state against similar enterprises in their sector or to project future positions. It will also accelerate impact from Government supports provided by Department of Business Enterprise and Innovation, Enterprise Ireland and other bodies.

 


Screenshot of Monaghan Community Alerts App

Monaghan Community Alerts Platform

Monaghan County Council

Funding:€35,000

The Community Safety Network, coordinated by Monaghan County Council, supports 29 local community alert groups in the County. In 2018 many issues with the existing alert systems were highlighted. Council staff felt that community groups were finding it more difficult to be heard, and to make it known what they have to offer and why people should get involved. This led to the proposal of a new tool to facilitate a more meaningful connection with communities.

A county-wide platform, Monaghan Community Alerts, was created and allows Garda alerts to be sent to all subscribers and allows local groups to keep control of their local notices and subscribers. Alerts can be sent either by app or by text. The funding will allow Monaghan County Council to develop the service further to include GIS intelligent alerts. This will enable Gardaí to issue alerts to addresses within a specific distance of a crime. It will also help Gardaí to track the movement of criminals, missing persons etc. by geolocating the data received from the ‘yes/no’ responses to their calls for assistance. The project is scalable and has the potential to become a service which can be accessed by multiple agencies when they wish to engage with communities.

 


Garda writing on a flipchart at a Garda Hackathon event Garda presenting at a Garda Hackathon event

Your Ideas – Innovation in An Garda Síochána (Hackathons)

An Garda Síochána

Funding: €40,000

The ‘Your Ideas – Innovation in An Garda Síochána’ initiative was a response to both the findings of the first ever Cultural Audit of the organisation in 2018 and the Report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland published the same year, which led to the A Policing Service for the Future implementation plan. The report found that “innovation, initiative and new approaches should be encouraged, and evidence-based success applauded and disseminated. Excellence on the frontline should be valued and recognised.”

The funding has been used for two hackathons, on Organisational Challenges and Technology for Policing. The Organisational Challenges hackathon brought together 100 Garda personnel from all levels for a professionally facilitated 1-day event to develop creative solutions for five key challenges facing AGS. The Technology for Policing hackathon brought together Garda ICT specialists with their counterparts from Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden for a 2-day event in Limerick.

 


Citizens Information Logo

Enabling voice search across citizensinformation.ie

Citizens Information Board

Funding: €30,000

This project addresses the growing trend of voice-based search. Voice search is becoming increasingly popular and public bodies need to ensure that their information reaches their audiences by adapting to the changing ways they search for information. Unlike text-based search, voice search provides only one answer to a question. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the top result comes from a trusted and reliable source of public service information like citizensinformation.ie.

The funding will be used for expertise in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Voice Search Optimisation to examine what types of public service information are most likely to be asked for using voice and to optimise content for voice. The initial pilot project will focus on optimising selected information on the citizensinformation.ie website for voice. The knowledge gained can then be used to optimise other sections of the site and the findings can be shared with other public bodies. Users with disabilities and people with literacy difficulties will also benefit from being able to search for information via voice.

 


Military Operations Rapid Instructive Gaming Environment (MORIGEN) – Virtual Reality for Training

Irish Defence Forces

Funding: €50,000

The MORIGEN project proposes to introduce computer based military operations simulators at multiple Irish Defence Forces training locations to improve the cost effectiveness, training tempo and learning efficacy of the required live military operations training. The Irish Defence Forces have several examples of equipment simulators which perform their role very well. However, these are frequently focused on individual training and do not usually incorporate small or large team-based training.

MORIGEN seeks to provide general purpose, virtual tactical training and mission rehearsal in a networked, collective computer-based training environment. The simulators can also cater for scenarios involving coordination and interoperability of other government agencies where the DF could be employed including Gardaí, emergency medical or emergency fire services.

 


Houses of Oireachtas Logo and Public Appointments Service Logo

OWL Programme – A Resource for Public Service Employment of People with Disabilities

Houses of the Oireachtas and Public Appointments Service

Funding: €10,000

The Government’s Comprehensive Strategy for the Employment of People with Disabilities sets out a target of 6% public service employment of people with disabilities. The Public Appointments Service and Houses of the Oireachtas have identified an opportunity to support others in the public service to become inclusive employers of people with intellectual disabilities.

The funding will be used to develop a resource for civil and public service employers as a guide to employing people with intellectual disabilities, based on the experience of the Houses of the Oireachtas and the Public Appointments Service in employing up to 4 graduates of the Oireachtas Work Learning Programme (OWL). The OWL programme is an applied learning, development and socialisation programme for young adults with an intellectual disability. The Houses of the Oireachtas Service is also engaging with two organisations working with people with intellectual disabilities (KARE and Walk) for this programme.

 


A photo from the presentations which includes staff from Maynooth, Mountjoy and the Pathways Educational Centre for Prisoners and Former Prisoners in DublinMaynooth Vice President for Equality and Diversity, Dr. Gemma Irvine, Post-graduate student, Shean Delaney, Niall Walsh, Head Teacher, Pathways Centre, Chief Prison Officer Mark Byrne, and Maynooth University Access Programme Manager, Grace Edge.

Inside Out: Breaking Down Barriers between Custody and the Community

Maynooth University and Mountjoy Prison

Funding: €20,000

The central objective of Inside Out is to break down barriers between custody and the community and support better reintegration for former prisoners in society through education. The project seeks to address one of the central drivers of recidivism – low educational attainment and negative prior experience of education – and support the development of new skills and educational opportunities for prisoners and former prisoners. It is the first project of its kind in an Irish context.

The funding is for the first stage of Inside Out: The establishment of the ‘Mountjoy Prison Campus and Maynooth University Partnership’, and the development of strategy. The Inside Out partnership is a model that can be transferred to other public service organisations.

 


Drone Photogrammetry for Emergency Response Mapping

Dublin Fire Brigade

Funding: €10,500

Dublin Fire Brigade undertake a process known as Operational Intelligence whereby locations with special risks are identified, and a pre-incident plan is created. These sites have varying characteristics; they may be selected because they have a large number of non-ambulant people residing within (nursing homes), have complex layouts, are of high economic (data-centres), cultural (historic buildings) or social (hospital) significance, or they may present extra risk due to the business activity carried out within (fuel terminals).

This project aims to augment the data collected from the several more complex sites with photogrammetry and 3d models, collected via drone survey. Furthermore, the aircraft and software, as well as skills developed through this initiative could be used in the event of a major emergency to create rapid mapping and photo-imagery. The learnings from developing such a resource could be transferred to all first response agencies on a national scale to facilitate enhancement of organisational risk data.

 


How-to Videos for Knowledge Management

Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation

Funding: €10,000

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation is facing a knowledge management challenge as they face large-scale mobility and retirements over the coming years. With the levels of staff churn there is a huge demand for learning and training opportunities for new entrants and from existing staff who are due to move on. This proposal intends to complement existing knowledge management tools such as procedures manuals by aiming to capture the knowledge in an interesting way that is engaging and encourages learning.

The funding will be used to create ‘How-to’ videos to complement the Learning and Development function. A repository of ‘How-to’ videos will available on a web platform enabling statistical data to be collected to monitor use and effectiveness. The use of ‘How-to’ videos for knowledge transfer is readily transferable across the civil and public sector.

 


A focus group for service users to discuss what they would like from the new rehabilitation facilities

Innovative Redesign of Occupational Therapy Rehabilitation Facility

Occupational Therapy Department, St. Columcille’s Hospital (SCH)

Funding: €50,000

The aim of this project is to innovatively redesign the rehabilitation unit in order to maximize therapy time for the service user and enable more efficient use of highly skilled therapists. The Occupational Therapy Service does not have modern, fit-for-purpose rehabilitation facilities, but what they have is a space that can be transformed into a modern facility to add value to the experience of all service users, improve therapy outcomes, reduce time spent in hospital and improve the rehabilitation service provided in SCH.

The funding will be used to invest in a kitchen, that allows for group and individual therapy in domestic activities of daily living; a Bioness Integrated Therapy System, to allow for state of the art visuo-motor rehabilitation; and a Boditrak Seat Pressure Mapping System. Investment in these three areas will transform the range, diversity and standard of rehabilitation provided.

 


CARO logo

GIS App for Data Collection and Reporting on Extreme Events Related to Climate Change

CARO (Climate Action Regional Office), Atlantic Seaboard North With Climate Ireland and Mayo County Council

Funding: €25,000

This project proposes the development of a GIS (Geographical Information System) App to simplify capturing the impacts of climate events and trends and to develop reporting mechanisms that if rolled out nationally, could ensure a consistent approach across the Local Authority sector. There is potential for the system to be made available to the public to assist in capturing data on a broader scale.

The experience of local authorities carrying out baseline assessments has highlighted the lack of historic data available on the impacts of climate events and trends. The Local Authority sector needs to start collating the actual impacts and associated costs of climate change in their areas in order to identify the spatial distribution and areas of vulnerability, to inform climate adaptation planning and to target meaningful and cost-effective solutions. The funding will be used to develop a GIS App to capture the impacts of climate change events on the ground and in real-time.

 


BEACONS prototype event in Ennistymon

Bringing Education Alive for our Communities on a National Scale (BEACONS)

The Teaching Council

Funding: €25,000

BEACONS seeks to develop and grow a model, that is scalable to a national level, of more and better conversations between teachers, parents and students about things that matter to them, and to implement the actions to which they agree. This model would facilitate local engagement on issues of importance to the school community and would also enhance links to national policy development and implementation.

The funding will be used for a ‘prototype burst’ phase of development – holding a small number of impactful events; gathering quality data; sharing evidence; and planning for the next phase.

 


Image of Electric Car being charged

Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) – Reshaping How People Move Around Dublin

Smart Dublin

Funding: €50,000

Mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) describes a shift away from privately owned modes of transportation towards shared mobility solutions (from public and private operators) which are consumed as a service. As Dublin struggles with the challenges of congestion and air quality, MaaS presents opportunities to better integrate existing transport services with new services such as car-sharing, demand response shuttle buses, car-pooling, shared e-bike schemes, shared e-scooters schemes, etc.

Smart Dublin, on behalf of the four Dublin Local Authorities, wishes to create an inter-agency MaaS programme with key local transport stakeholders. The immediate deliverable is an internal ‘Point of View’ (PoV) paper on MaaS for Dublin to then kick-off the inter-agency programme proper. Once initiated, programme activities include an evaluation of the most appropriate Target Operating Model for Dublin, an assessment of stakeholder readiness to implement a MaaS service, customer engagement, and execution of a pilot project. The PSIF funding will go towards all of these activities. Learnings will be shared with other Irish and international cities.

 


HSE Building a better health service. Logo with the words care, compassion, trust, learning

Real-Time Expenditure Tracker (RTT)

HSE Strategic Transformation Office (STO)

Funding: €40,000

This project aims to address the absence of a real-time IT link between the Service Level Agreements (SLAs) of contractors, the services they provide, the associated data in account and finance systems, and also time management of these services, which are being completed by email or by paper, in the HSE.

The funding will be used to scale a prototype system, piloted in 2018. The proposal is to expand this solution in scope and functionality and make it available for other services across the HSE initially, with a view to further scaling.

 


 

Inland Fisheries Ireland Logo

Tracking Fish Species – Transforming the Process using Solar Panels and Remote Data Transfer

Inland Fisheries Ireland

Funding: €20,000

Wildlife radio telemetry is a technique that uses the transmission of radio signals to locate a transmitter attached to the animal of interest. It is often used to obtain location data on the animal’s preferred habitat, home range, and to understand population dynamics.

Inland Fisheries Ireland want to change the way radio telemetry for fish species is carried out currently, primarily to eliminate the need to use large 30kg batteries at receiver station points. These batteries, which are located in remote rural locations, need to be switched out and recharged by staff every two weeks. The current method takes up significant staff time, results in carbon emissions, incurs travel costs and poses a manual handling risk to staff. The proposal is to fit each station with a solar panel to charge the batteries using sunlight and to use SMS data transfer to enable staff to download data remotely.

 


A ring buoy at Dublin Docklands with Samuel Beckett bridge in the background.

Smart Tech, Saving Lives – LPWAN Sensors for Ring Buoys

Smart City, Dublin City Council

Funding: €15,000

Dublin City Council manages approximately 130 ring buoys in Dublin and unfortunately, 10 to 15 of these ring buoys go missing or are stolen every week. The current system for monitoring and maintaining ring buoys requires inspectors to drive and walk around the areas, check the integrity of every single life buoy and record results on a paper system. This is time-consuming and results in carbon emissions but water safety is the critical issue, since a missing ring buoy can mean a life lost.

The funding will be used to trial innovative low-cost sensors on ring buoys in Dublin for 6 months, to detect when they have been taken and feed into an app that the ring buoy inspectors have access to. The sensors proposed are low-cost Low-Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) – a new type of connectivity innovation. Should a successful solution be found, with the support of Water Safety Ireland, Dublin City Council would like to work with other local authorities and water safety officers across Ireland to facilitate a wider-scale deployment. The project will also trial a novel procurement framework for innovative solutions.

 


Courts service waiting area with a blank wall Courts service waiting area with child friendly distractions on the wall

Creating Child Distraction Spaces in the Courts Service

The Courts Service of Ireland

Funding: €10,000

The installation of child distraction spaces is a small but impactful step to reducing the stress of people who are attending court with children. This project involves taking a user-centred approach, collaborating directly with service users, or with advocacy groups who support them.

The funding will be used to purchase suitable decals and sensory boards to create approximately 40 child distraction spaces. If successful, this project can be applied to any office that has wall space in public waiting areas and has the potential to have meaningful impact on a larger scale.

 

About the Fund

The Public Service Innovation Fund is a competitive fund that aims to support innovative ideas from across Public Service organisations and turn them into a reality. If you work in the public service and you have a great idea that can add value to your organisation or improve services for the public, we want to support you in turning your idea into a reality.

Innovative projects were sought that could be realised in 2019, projects that are scalable and ideas that are transferable within the public service. For full details of the 2019 scheme please click here.

The first iteration of the Fund was launched in May 2019, closing in June and was 14 times oversubscribed. It was therefore impossible to fund all deserving projects for this round of funding. After a two-stage evaluation process, 18 interesting projects from across the public service have been funded and we are looking forward to following the progress of these projects.

The 2020 funding call will be launched early in the New Year so keep an eye on updates here and sign-up to our newsletter for the latest funding opportunities.If you have any queries regarding the Public Service Innovation Fund please contact us at innovation@per.gov.ie.