Projects Funded in 2020

The 2020 call for projects under the Public Service Innovation Fund closed on the 26th February 2020. 364 applications were received requesting over €15.4 million. This is an increase of 168% in applications over last year’s pilot fund. Read about the successful 34 projects below, or in our Innovation Newsletter (pdf).

Sectors

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Bed Management System for International Protection Accommodation Services (IPAS)

Department of Justice and Equality
Funding: €45,000

Reception and integration agency banner

 

International Protection Accommodation Services (IPAS) provides accommodation to international protection applicants, where the applicant does not have the means, while their applications for international protection are being processed. Currently there are circa 7,700 residents accommodated across 76 locations: 6,100 in 40 IPAS accommodation centres and approximately 1,600 currently in 36 emergency accommodation locations waiting for accommodation in a long-term centre. The numbers accommodated by IPAS increased by over 25% during 2019.

The objective of this project is to develop a centralised ‘Accommodation/Bed Management System’ that will be accessible by accommodation centres to update required information for use by IPAS Operations to:

  1. Enable IPAS to identify and manage accommodation availability in real-time;
  2. Provide current and accurate information to produce management reports and statistics.

A centralised system with real-time information will enable accommodation capacity to be used in the most efficient, transparent and cost effective manner.


Public Jobs Discovery Kit for Schools

Public Appointments Service | Department of the Taoiseach | CareersPortal.ie
Funding: €25,000

Ciaran Hogg, Fiona Farrell and Niall Leavy, Public Appointments Service
Ciaran Hogg, Fiona Farrell and Niall Leavy from the Public Appointments Service

 

This Public Service Career Exploration Resource Pack is designed to raise awareness and inspire young people in secondary schools across the country to find out more about the Civil and Public service, and highlight the variety of interesting career options in the sector.

It is primarily a digital career resource pack that will support:

  • Career Guidance Professionals in second level schools
  • Teachers
  • Organisations working with young people e.g. ETBs, community based youth projects
  • Students
  • Civil and Public Servants visiting local schools around the country

It will be available through a dedicated microsite on publicjobs.ie and will be supported by dynamic content, downloadable tools to support interactive, fun and game based learning sessions, and links to other key second level career related resources.

With over 720 secondary schools across Ireland the challenge is to create an engagement model that is efficient but is also interesting, memorable and inclusive of young people from the full spectrum of backgrounds, types of schools, location, socio-economic status etc.

The funding will be used primarily to create, market test and develop a resource pack with easy to use facilitator guidance and a mix of activity based and multi-media content.


Development of an Online Climate Action Hub for Business

Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) | Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment (DCCAE)
Funding: €50,000

Climate Change Image

Ireland has a highly diverse range of approximately 250,000 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), keen to play their part in decarbonising Ireland’s economy. However, climate action is a multifaceted problem with a variety of state agencies seeking to address different aspects of the challenge for businesses. It has proved difficult to provide SMEs with the tools they need in a single, easily accessible resource.

It is proposed to build a Climate Action ‘hub’ for the enterprise sector to guide them on their decarbonisation journey. This project will be delivered collaboratively by DBEI and DCCAE, supported by Enterprise Ireland (EI), IDA Ireland, Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Irish Water and the Department of the Taoiseach.

The Climate Action hub will contain tools such as a climate action plan template and a simple carbon calculator tool. The tools will be simple to use and will give a first introduction to climate impact mitigation for these businesses. The hub will direct users to the supports available to implement their personalised action plans from the SEAI, EPA, EI, Irish Water and Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs), depending on the key resource needs identified.


EOLAS – The Civil Service Directory

Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation
Funding: €10,000

 

Image of a work phone on a desk

The proposal is to establish EOLAS, a civil service directory – accessible by all civil servants – listing the phone number, email address and unit details for officers across every Government Department. This will increase the efficiency of our communications and improve inter-departmental collaboration.

As it stands, it can be difficult to contact an officer in another Department if one does not already have the relevant contact details of that person. Colleagues often have no option but to contact the external Department via its main switchboard.

This longstanding problem, which is a source of daily frustration for civil servants, can be remedied by a new central civil service directory. This will replicate the staff directories that Government Departments already use, but on a civil service-wide basis. Once in place, officers will be able to contact one another more easily, reducing call volumes and increasing efficiency. The funding will be used to develop the proposal, including user requirements analysis in collaboration with the OCGIO (Office of the Government Chief Information Officer) and representatives from Government Departments.


OPW Revit Template to Assist Delivery of BIM Projects

Office of Public Works (OPW)
Funding: €10,970

BIM 3D Model Image
3D image from a Revit model of a building, used by the OPW

 

In 2017, the Office of Government Procurement launched a ‘strategy for the increased use of digital technology in the delivery of key public works projects’; this includes a desire to adopt Building Information Modelling (BIM) on projects. Working using BIM, teams can virtually construct a building before it is built on site, embedding data into the models to allow for asset management of the buildings over their design life.

While many larger capital works projects such as the new Children’s Hospital have adopted BIM, the total number of OPW-led building projects using BIM is small. This proposal aims to assist teams making the transition to delivering BIM projects using Revit modelling software.

The proposal is to develop a common ‘Revit template’ for the OPW; the template will provide a standard ‘set-up’ for models, reducing set-up time for each project, allowing the template to be maintained centrally and standardising the visual look of models and drawings created by the OPW. Working collaboratively on one ‘central’ Revit file, the template will be developed by a core team of OPW architects, engineers and technicians under the guidance of an external consultant.


Robotic Processing Automation (RPA) for Pensions

Department of Education and Skills
Funding: €40,000

RPA graphic

The Pension Unit administers pension schemes for over 55,000 teachers and non-teaching staff. Its principal function is the calculation and processing of retirements and related benefits. However, the work of the Unit is manual, labour intensive and time consuming. In dedicating the bulk of its resources to processing retirements, the Unit cannot meet the growing demand for pension statements, though all scheme members are entitled to receive an annual statement of benefits.

To address these issues, the Unit has just established a new Service History Hub (SHH) with the aim of creating an accurate electronic service record for each scheme member. This will be used initially to deliver a service history statement to all members, and the same service history will then be used in the calculation of future retirement benefits and statements.

This proposal is to introduce Robotic Processing Automation (RPA) to automate elements in the compilation of service histories. The use of RPA to populate even the most basic elements of the service history from the various data sources will save around 20 minutes per service history, which for 55,000 scheme members equates to over 1.1 million minutes, 3,000 working days or 12 working years. As RPA will also eliminate some of the manual inputting of data, it will increase the accuracy of the digital profiles created and significantly improve services for customers.


HeritageData.Gov.ie

National Monuments Service | National Parks and Wildlife Service
Funding: €15,000

DCHG Heritage Ireland 2030 report ©Government of Ireland

 

The proposal is to develop an online facility to share the rich and varied natural and archaeological information and imagery from National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and National Monuments Services (NMS). The new HeritageData.Gov.ie website will replace two currently outdated websites, which have limited functionality and content: archaeology.ie and npws.ie. As well as providing the official and authoritative publication channel from NPWS and NMS, content will contribute directly to data.gov.ie (Ireland’s open data portal) and will be accessible also through the gov.ie website.

The HeritageData.Gov.ie site will provide an open data platform that will facilitate public access and participation in heritage, promoting ‘citizen science’ and community involvement. It will provide a one stop digital showcase of Ireland’s archaeological heritage, and protected sites, habitats and species in new and interactive ways, including use of 3D visuals and video, providing virtual access to sites such as Sceilg Mhicil, our National Parks and Brú na Bóinne and wider heritage features, using a range of formats for all, especially those with disabilities, to enjoy. The funding will be used for user requirements analysis, concept and prototype development for the new website, which will also enable access to archive material.


Publishing Open Data Across the Public Service

Central Statistics Office | Department of Education and Skills
Funding: €15,000

Graphs and charts image

For Government Departments and Public Service Bodies it can be challenging to publish high value aggregate open data sets via Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and full file downloads. This is a requirement of the revised 2019 Open Data and Public Sector Information Directive, which will make public sector and publicly funded data re-usable.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has written PxStat: an open source tool to publish statistical tables as open data. It is accessible via APIs, enabling full file downloads. PxStat is in Beta at present and the CSO now proposes sharing the software and website platform to enable public service bodies to publish their statistical tables as open data, meeting the requirements of the PSI Open Data Directive.

CSO will collaborate with Department of Education & Skills (DES) to pilot publishing dataset tables on the beta version of PxStat in 2020. This proof of concept pilot project will enable PxStat, as well as insights from the project, to be shared across the public service. The funding will be used for the experimental phase of the project.

 

Virtual Reality (VR) System for Helicopter Winching

Irish Defence Forces
Funding: €50,000

Helicopter winching by Defence Forces at an island off the coast

3 Operations Wing is tasked with a wide variety of helicopter mission capability requirements in support of the Defence Forces, and the Irish public as whole.

Maintaining all of these contingent capabilities requires a large amount of training, necessitating the use of expensive aircraft hours. Some of this requirement could be reduced by the unit having a purpose built, safe and suitable training aid. In conjunction with the recently procured Helicopter Air Delivery Platform (HADP), a Virtual Reality (VR) training aid would add a high fidelity and scenario based training aid.

The procurement of such a VR system would also reduce the amount of aircraft hours flown during initial aircrew courses, and ongoing training in helicopter winching, medivac, fast rope and dispatch. In turn reducing the cost of recurrent training.

This type of device is at the leading edge of training aid development and is still in its infancy with a lot of recent development by manufacturers. It saves overall costs on flight hours and maintenance, and provides a higher standard of training in a safe and controlled environment to students prior to going onto the live helicopter phase of training.

 

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Climate Action in Primary Schools (CAPS) : An Innovative STEAM Outreach Programme for Primary Schools

Clare Education Centre
Funding: €40,000

Child painting leaves for CAPS programme

Clare Education Centre is leading on the design, development and pilot of an innovative Outreach programme for primary schools based on climate change and action. The programme harnesses the arts as a foundation for a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) learning process on this complex and challenging area.

The overall goal of the CAPS programme will be to build climate action knowledge and capacity in primary teachers and pupils through creative, collaborative, critical, and innovative thinking about the causes and effects of climate change. Learning how to understand and deal with these issues, using the Arts as a launch pad to investigate, will promote attitudes of individual and collective responsibility towards planet Earth and develop environmental literacy in teachers and pupils alike. The programme will be piloted in a number of schools in County Clare in Autumn 2020.

Climate Action for Primary Schools (CAPS) Programme (pdf)


Cork County Council Housing and Building Energy Monitoring System

Cork Institute of Technology | Cork County Council
Funding: €30,000

Man checking building energy meter

Irish local authorities have to comply with the Public Sector Energy Efficiency Strategy (PSEES) and reduce energy consumption by 33% by 2020. This is a multifaceted problem, with technical and behavioural aspects, that stretches from energy data collection and monitoring to efficient actions leading to reduction in energy consumption. The Nimbus Research Centre, Cork IT and Cork County Council have been collaborating towards this goal and have produced a platform (e-Lighthouse) that alerts on higher than expected consumption for an energy meter and produces time-series reports.

The funding will be used to extend functionality to support real-time monitoring of building assets equipped with smart meter, and provide a means to issue an alert and get feedback on the reasons for the anomaly from end users through the system. The design of the system is done in such way that it is transferable to any local authority, to support actions taken in meeting PSEES goals.


Newtown Innovation Labs – STEAM Workshops for Primary and Secondary Students and Teachers

Newtown School Waterford | Waterford Institute of Technology
Funding: €16,000

 

image of small robots created during a STEAM workshop

Newtown Innovation Labs (iLabs) is a not-for-profit, community learning space located on campus in Newtown Secondary School in Waterford. Inspired by Microsoft Dreamspace, it is a creative place for students to learn through hands-on, practical workshops in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics).

Since opening in January 2020, a number of free STEAM workshops have been run for students and teachers in Waterford city. A prominent focus throughout these workshops has been the application of social innovation projects with the UN Sustainable Development Goals in mind. The design and development of technology enhanced solutions for the benefit of individuals, communities and society is an important aspect of this project.

The funding will be used to extend the reach to the South East region and run free STEAM workshops for student groups and teachers at both primary and secondary level. The overall aim of these workshops is to increase the teaching of computer science and thus computational thinking in classrooms. This is in response to a trend of research that shows there is a lack of knowledge within schools about computer science, despite some investment in the sector.

Note: Due to Covid-19, delivery of STEAM workshops for teachers and students has taken place online with posting of kit to participants.


Unlocking Potential: Developing a Fair Approach to Higher Education Applicants with Criminal Records

Maynooth University | Irish Prison Service | Irish Probation Service | City of Dublin Education and Training Board | Irish Penal Reform Trust
Funding: €25,000

Graduate throwing graduation hat in the air

The damaging effects of a criminal conviction are profound and well documented. The life-long stigmatisation experienced by people with convictions restricts access to education, employment, housing etc. and impedes reintegration in society. The Maynooth University (MU) and Mountjoy (MJ) Partnership, established in 2019, is working to address a root cause of reoffending by increasing access to higher education (HE) for prisoners and former prisoners.

The partnership has identified a number of issues concerning the operations of admissions policies by higher education institutions (HEIs) which are deterring applications from people with convictions. This proposal seeks funding to address this issue by developing a ‘Fair Admissions Toolkit for HEIs’. The toolkit will support HEIs to redevelop their admissions policies and practices for prisoners, former prisoners and people with convictions and aims to foster a common approach to this issue across higher education. It is intended that this work will contribute more broadly to recruitment practices, and the employment of people with convictions, across the public and civil service.

 

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Nutrition Calculator for Paediatrics – PNplus

UL Hospitals Group (HSE) | Children’s Health Ireland (CHI) at Crumlin
Funding: €50,000

Preterm Baby in Hospital

Preterm infants can weigh as little as 401g and come as early as 22 weeks. These babies need intensive support from a team of neonatal nutrition specialists to help them grow. Children presenting with critical illnesses treated in an intensive care setting also require strategic coordination of their nutritional care. International guidelines highlight specific nutrients that are required to optimise this growth.

In neonatal and paediatric intensive care units in Ireland complex calculations are done every day, for the most part by hand, to determine these individual nutrient requirements. This can take up to 1.5hr per child, per day, in a scenario where timing and accuracy is critical.

Stemming from UL Hospitals Group hackathon, in association with Microsoft Ireland, this project hopes to develop a purpose-built web based application for nutrition calculation – an opportunity to drive speed, accuracy and confidence in these crucial calculations.

This project also hopes to develop educational markers to enhance the users knowledge of nutrition; the cornerstone of neonatal and paediatric growth. Collectively it aims to optimise patient quality, safety and care while adding value to the time spent with each infant and child to help them grow. The funding will be used to commission and deploy the pilot application at University Maternity Hospital Limerick and CHI at Crumlin.


Creating a Sensory Pathway for Service Users of an Acute Mental Health Inpatient Service

HSE Community Healthcare East, Mental Health Service | St Vincent’s University Hospital
Funding: €10,500

Image of plants, yoga and piano with 'sensory pathway' as caption

Admission to an inpatient mental health facility during crisis can be an overwhelming experience. Service users can be exposed to over stimulating, complex and often unfamiliar stimuli. Sensory dysregulation and over stimulation can lead to agitation/distress, and in some cases escalates to staff intervention with restrictive practices, of which there were 7,464 incidents reported nationally in 2018 (Mental Health Commission 2018). This can lead to damage of therapeutic relationships and further trauma for service users and staff.

The current environment does not provide dedicated quiet, private spaces, away from dysregulating stimuli associated with clinical spaces. Providing safe, therapeutic environments at ward-level and sensory-based opportunities for intervention we can facilitate prevention strategies to reduce restrictive interventions and promote recovery-focused care. Tailored client-centred strategies must be informed by holistic assessment of individual risk factors that may evoke intense fear responses which could lead to unsafe behaviours. Funding would support staff training in sensory approaches, provision of holistic, client-centred assessment, results of which will inform person-centred care and crisis intervention planning. A sensory space would facilitate de-escalation, support self-regulation in times of crisis, and reduce need for restrictive practices. This is an innovative, recovery-focused approach.


Evidence Based Upper Limb Rehabilitation using Virtual Technology and Patient-led Therapy Toolkit

St. Finbarr’s Hospital, Occupational Therapy Department
Funding: €15,000

Vera McGrath and Maureen Johnson, St Finbarr’s OT Department

 

According to the Stroke Association UK (2016), 85% of stroke survivors will have upper limb deficits. Occupational Therapists (OTs) in the Stroke Unit in Cork are aware of the gap in the upper limb service provided to patients. A review of programs and equipment to optimise the stroke survivor outcome led to the selection of new technology: Bimeo Pro Virtual Technology (VT system) and the evidence based: GRASP (Graded Repetitive Arm Supplementary Program) toolkit which met the criteria to implement in the Stroke Unit.

This funding application will provide a choice of activity to be prescribed by the OT and self-directed by the patients on the unit. These activities will be particularly useful outside of therapy time and will promote family involvement. This is a novel approach to the stroke unit as it develops a culture of upper limb activity through both conventional and high tech equipment. It also encourages the patient to take a lead in their recovery.


Increasing Patient Engagement and Reducing Outpatient ‘Do not attends’ with User Centred Design

Department of Health| National Treatment Purchase Fund | Health Service Executive
Funding: €36,900

Robert Murphy and Carol Taaffe from Department of Health holding an example of redesigned patient correspondence
Robert Murphy and Carol Taaffe, part of the Department of Health project team, holding an example of redesigned patient correspondence.

 

Each year nearly half a million outpatient hospital appointments are wasted in Ireland as patients neither arrive nor cancel – referred to as Do Not Attends (DNAs). In fact, the outcome of 150 out of every 1,000 outpatient appointments is a DNA. This means that some patients are not seen when they should be and that resources are not being used optimally.

Some of the most frequently provided reasons by patients for DNAs is that ‘they forgot’ or ‘felt the appointment offered no benefit’. This suggests that it may be possible to increase attendance with better communication (e.g. more effective appointment letters, and text reminders) and there is some international evidence of reducing DNAs through improved correspondence.

This is a collaborative project to redesign and test patient appointment offer letters and text reminders to increase patient engagement and reduce DNAs. Funding will be used to add functionality to the Outpatient Department (OPD) IT system in the participating hospitals. Additional functionality is required to test the redesign; to enable the option to select alternative correspondence templates; and allow the export of data for a time range on correspondence type, appointment outcomes and patient/hospital characteristics.


NAS Community Telemedicine

National Ambulance Service
Funding: €39,000

Ambulance

Population health evidence suggests that the majority of patients’ health and social care needs can and should be delivered in local settings, with hospital based care being reserved for patients who have highly acute complex care needs. It is widely acknowledged that ED attendance for a proportion of patients could be avoided through the provision of alternative pathways of care.

The National Ambulance Service (NAS) is currently implementing a number of projects to enhance the provision of a more accessible integrated healthcare to patients at the first point of contact within the community setting. One such form of community-based healthcare initiative is one in which Community Paramedics, work in partnership with General Practitioners (GP) and Primary Care Teams, in responding to and managing patients with low acuity conditions, delivering care in their homes and communities, where clinically appropriate.

Telemedicine is the use of telecommunications to facilitate medical care through real-time encrypted audio-visual video communications between the Community Paramedic and the GP. Benefits of the proposed solution include improved communications consultation between the Community Paramedic and GPs; GP access to real-time patient monitoring data; and real-time consultation between the patient and GP.


Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy

South Galway Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS)
Funding: €41,500

Teenager with VR headset. Caption: Conquering Fear with Virtual Reality

This project aims to assess the feasibility of virtual reality (VR) technology in the treatment of anxiety disorders in children and teenagers. The funding will be used to develop a pilot programme using VR to recreate real life scenarios and interventions for anxiety. Despite evidence for the efficacy of VR in the treatment of anxiety, it has yet to be utilised in CAMHS, even though this medium would have a particular appeal for children and teenagers.

19% of all referrals to CAMHS nationally in 2019 were for anxiety. Social anxiety manifests in avoidant behaviours which can prevent children/teens attending school and participating in normal everyday activities. Best practice for social anxiety includes Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and graded exposure to the situations that trigger anxiety. Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy (VRET) is a tool that can combine trigger scenarios with CBT skills enabling users to successfully manage their anxiety.

For the pilot programme South Galway CAMHS team will lead the project and collaborate with colleagues across Galway, Mayo and Roscommon CAMHS services. The team has an existing research partnership with NUIG Department of Psychology and hopes to partner with the Department of Education, Primary Care Psychology and TUSLA in the design and development of the videos and in evaluating the usability, feasibility and efficacy of VRET as an early treatment intervention. There is potential to scale this intervention nationally.

The above image was taken from a HSE Community Healthcare West video for the opening of the new Telehealth facility in Castlerea – see the full video here.


Vital Signs Automation (VSA) – Introduction of a Digital National Early Warning Score System (NEWS)

HSE Digital Transformation | Tallaght University Hospital
Funding: €50,000

Medics looking at a tablet in a hospital setting

Capturing physiological parameters in hospital such as blood pressure, pulse rate and temperature are some of the parameters used in calculating National Early Warning Score System (NEWS), a key indicator which determines the degree of illness of a patient and prompts critical care intervention. A sample study from the Galway Clinic has shown that there is a 50.44% error rate (ranging from incorrect totals, total scores, wrong field etc.) in calculating the NEWS manually on paper records, which is the practice with all public HSE hospitals throughout Ireland at present. This can contribute to a delay in clinical interventions and some patient developing sepsis, cardiac arrest and many other conditions.

The project will pilot a NEWS system on wards in Tallaght University Hospital with an evaluation in collaboration with University partners. A Digital NEWS can improve patient safety significantly while maximising utilisation of existing bed capacity. Having a robust NEWS supports the reduction of a patient developing Sepsis or being at risk of a cardiac arrest, fundamentally saving lives and increasing bed capacity through shorter length of stays. The project has the potential to be scaled using the HSE Digital Labs staging system.

 

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Forensic KOP (Knowledge of Protocols) Shop

Forensic Science Ireland
Funding: €33,200

Dr. John O’Shaughnessy, Chemistry Team Manager, Forensic Science Ireland
Dr. John O’Shaughnessy, Chemistry Team Manager, Forensic Science Ireland

 

Forensic KOP Shop (Knowledge of Protocols) aims to provide the customers of Forensic Science Ireland (FSI) with a simple, user-friendly digital platform to access knowledge and correct procedures for collecting and packaging items for testing in FSI. It is vital to increase awareness among members of An Garda Síochána of the impact of well sampled and packaged items that allow forensic analysis without compromise. FSI has limited resources and opportunities to provide scene of crime examiners or members of An Garda Síochána with this knowledge. With well over 10,000 existing Gardaí on the beat and 800 new recruits coming out of the Garda Training College each year, our ability to connect with our customer on this topic is limited.

In 2019 many members of An Garda Síochána were issued with an Android mobile phone for work purposes. The proposal for this innovation project is to build a mobile app, compatible with Android mobile phones, and populate it with short informative videos demonstrating correct sampling procedures for different evidence types. The content will also include helpful data sheets on evidence, the correct PPE to use, essential health and safety information, anti-contamination considerations, correct packaging for the evidence, sampling strategy, etc. The app will also have the contact details for the FSI helpline. The funding will be used to build the platform for the app and prepare quality content, including instructional videos.


Booked Visits Online

Irish Prison Service
Funding: €17,500

Woman using the touch screen of a tablet

There are over 200,000 visitors to Irish Prisons every year. Visits must be booked in advance and visitors must be approved and have appropriate identification. This is a huge administrative burden on prison staff. The Inspector of Prisons has raised concerns regarding the difficulties in certain prisons for visitors trying to book visits, and the negative knock-on effect this has in the prison environment.

The Irish Prison Service (IPS) proposes the development of a pilot electronic booked visits system in Ireland’s largest prison – the Midlands Prison in Portlaoise. The aim is to provide a method for visitors to book visits online through the Irish Prison Service website at the end of their current visit, in order to reduce the administrative cost of managing visits, to improve the efficiency of the booked visits system, and to provide a better experience for visitors when booking visits.


Interactive ‘Prioritisation Deliberation’ to Engage with Citizens on Policing Priorities

Policing Authority
Funding: €12,000

Police car with flashing blue light

Part of the remit of the Policing Authority is to promote public awareness of matters relating to policing services. The Authority engages with stakeholders to gain insight into their expectations and experiences of policing, which then informs their work in several ways. This engagement includes holding public consultations.

In the past, the vast majority of responses to public consultations have come from civil society organisations. There has been reliance on methods such as promoting consultations via the website and communicating directly with stakeholder organisations by post, then gathering responses via paper or email. Although useful, this approach is lacking in interactivity; it does not necessarily reach or engage many individual citizens; and it can be difficult to collate measurable data from the responses.

This project proposes to use technology to reach beyond organisations to encourage wider and more meaningful engagement with individual citizens, using a consultation on policing priorities as a pilot. Software will be used to enable a novel form of engagement with the consultation process through a ‘prioritisation deliberation’ exercise. With this interactive exercise, the consultee has a certain finite number of ‘points’ to allocate to various areas which he or she considers a policing priority. This also offers an opportunity to educate the public and raise awareness about policing. The funding will be used for the software and for a supporting communications campaign.

 

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3D Virtual Reality Model to Enhance Citizen Engagement

Fingal County Council | Smart Dublin
Funding: €20,000

Aishling Hyland, Digital Strategy Manager, Cllr Eoghan O’Brien, Former Mayor of Fingal and AnnMarie Farrelly, Chief Executive, Fingal County Council
Aishling Hyland, Digital Strategy Manager, Cllr Eoghan O’Brien, Former Mayor of Fingal, AnnMarie Farrelly, CE, Fingal.

 

Balbriggan is now the youngest and one of the most ethnically diverse towns in Ireland. Its rapid growth has meant amenities have not kept pace with population growth; the local economy and main street have struggled; and perception of the place is poor. Engaging with the people of the town as part of its rejuvenation is a key element in the strategic plan. The proposal is to create a 3D Virtual Reality (VR) Model to be used in Our Balbriggan Hub, to connect with residents, public services and business in a meaningful way. The hub, situated in the centre of the town will be the engine room for the plan and is where the Our Balbriggan team will be based. Having VR technology will enable the team to engage further with the citizens and help them to visualize how their town will be developed.

Balbriggan is set for a major rejuvenation plan that will include new amenities such as free Wi-Fi in the town centre, a skate park and heritage trail, as well as a rejuvenated harbour and Greenway. The objective is to develop an immersive 3D Virtual Reality model of the public realm rejuvenation projects that are planned over the next five years. And in doing so keeping citizens of Balbriggan engaged in the development process.


Applying Robotics to Core Exception Reporting

Local Government Management Agency
Funding: €15,000

LGMA logo

At present in the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA), clocking and attendance details for all personnel within the organisation are recorded and managed on the ‘Core’ time and attendance system. The same system is used in all local authorities in the country. Currently, the reporting of all Core clocking exceptions is managed manually for the 100 staff within the LGMA. This process takes on average 15 hours per month of valuable administration resources to execute and manage.

By applying Robotic Process Automation (RPA) technology, it is proposed to develop a monitoring and execution process aligned with Core that will automatically identify and escalate exceptions to the appropriate management level within the organisation, thus allowing the administration resources to add value to the organisation elsewhere. Once developed and validated, this solution could be deployed across the entire Local Government sector of over 40,000 staff.


Becoming a Smart City: Waterford City Testbed for IoT Sensors

Waterford City and County Council | TSSG at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT)
Funding: €15,000

Data for a Smart Waterford City page

A member of the All Ireland Smart Cities Forum, the Waterford City and County Council (WCCC) team is finalising a ‘Smart Waterford’ strategy and one of the early objectives will be to define what Smart Waterford could be.
The key to being ‘smart’ is having ready access to information and using that information to improve citizen services and way of life; insights from data should also help make city operations as efficient and effective as possible. While there are a number of standalone projects underway (smart bins, city bike scheme) a consolidated approach to managing the urban data assets, including data from new IoT sensors, is needed.
The proposal to create Smart City testbed areas within Waterford City. This would enable the use of data analytics and business intelligence in support of high quality sustainable placemaking. The project involves collaboration between WCCC and partners at Waterford Institute of Technology: RIKON, TSSG and the Lean Enterprise Excellence Forum.


Building a Smart City Control Room and IoT Sensor Testbed for Traffic Congestion

Fingal County Council | ESB Innovation
Funding: €15,000

Traffic congestion image

Traffic congestion is one of the biggest challenges for Fingal County Council. Many of Fingal’s citizens travel outside the area to work, leading to congestion and long commute times. This compounds congestion and commuter issues, seriously affecting citizen quality of life and damages Ireland’s attractiveness to foreign investment. The impact extends beyond the residences and businesses as Fingal provides a key transport corridor for Ireland by virtue of Dublin Airport, the M1 and M50.

The funding will go towards developing intelligent traffic solutions and trialing IoT sensors in the Dublin 15 pilot area, in partnership with ESB Innovation. This will enable Fingal County Council to use real-time data to improve traffic flows, reduce congestion and monitor traffic and environmental data.

By utilising IoT, machine learning and big data, the County Council can get a better overall picture of the urban landscape and use this data in planning and building strategic infrastructure for communities.


Creative Studio

South Dublin County Council
Funding: €21,000

Rosena Hand, Senior Executive Librarian Teenager playing guitar and singing in a studio

Pictured (left) is Rosena Hand, Senior Executive Librarian at South Dublin Libraries. 

The Creative Studio is a free to use digital maker space facilitating the creation of music recordings, podcasts, videos, digital stories and oral histories. At the centre of this space is a recording booth providing library patrons with access to a variety of audio and video recording equipment and software.

South Dublin Public Libraries will open a new library in Rowlagh, Clondalkin in 2020. Rowlagh is a deprived area, typified by a high level of unemployment and anti-social behaviour. The idea of introducing The Creative Studio is to engage with younger people in particular – energise them and provide upskilling in digital media, with a view to expanding their horizons on future career possibilities. It should also serve to increase library membership and ensure relevance of the library service to young people in the community. The Creative Studio will be fully open and accessible to all public bodies and departments. The project aims to be a learning platform to all and the studio will be a service of innovation that can be adopted elsewhere and serve a creative purpose to communities.


Enterprise Challenge

Dublin City Council / LEO Dublin City | TU Dublin | DCU
Funding: €12,500

Micro and Small/Medium Enterprises (MSMES) comprise the vast majority of enterprise activity in Ireland and approximately 65% of total employees. They operate in extremely competitive environments in which strategizing, researching and planning is difficult. Furthermore, commissioning these as consultancy activities can be too expensive for them. Local enterprise ecosystems can be strengthened through collaboration, networking and integrated activities.

Enterprise Challenge is a joint initiative which matches micro/small-medium commercial enterprises and social enterprises in Dublin with teams of final year or Masters level university students. Students from diverse backgrounds, nationalities and cultures work in teams of 4-5 with selected enterprises to help provide insights, propose solutions and ultimately present a bespoke and tangible plan that sets out how challenges and opportunities could be addressed. The types of enterprise challenges that students work on include: innovation, design thinking, new product/service development, business development, opportunity identification and evaluation, commercialisation, and new venture creation.

Public Service Innovation Funding will be used to scale the project in 2020. Prize funds for enterprises and student teams will be created to enhance the pitch competition and initiative. Funding will also be used to develop programme and marketing material in order to strengthen the initiative for further regional scaling.

Read about the Enterprise Challenge 2020 Pitch Competition here.


National Building Open Data Portal

National Building Control Office | Dublin Housing Observatory | AIRO
Funding: €40,000

Mairéad Phelan, Sabrina McDonnell (NBCO) and Colin Barden
Mairéad Phelan, Sabrina McDonnell (NBCO) and Colin Barden (Wexford County Council) at the LGMA.

 

The National Building Control Office (NBCO) provides a national shared service by managing the system for Building Control administration in the 31 Building Control Authorities (BCMS). This system is accessed and used in over 20 countries daily. In the current political climate and in the midst of a housing crisis, access to data around housing and more specifically house building activity and progress is in constant demand. The NBCO is uniquely placed to allow Data to be an Enabler in this highly complex area. Many stakeholders (public, CSO, housing agencies, DHPLG, DHO, CIC, RIAI, media, banks, real estate agencies, stockbrokers, investment agencies etc.) request access to the information contained in the BCMS daily, therefore allowing data sharing, optimisation and transparency is critical.

A joined-up and integrated approach is required for the solution and the NBCO recognise the need to provide the same information to people at the same time. The funding will go towards the development of an Open Data Portal to access building commencement and completion data. The potential for visualization of such a rich dataset has been demonstrated by collaborative work already carried out between NBCO, Dublin Housing Observatory (DCC) and AIRO (All Ireland Housing Observatory, Maynooth University).


Virtual Reality 360-Degree Tour and House Inspection App for Local Authority Houses

Monaghan County Council
Funding: €29,900

Carmel O’Hare, Nuala Woods and Sinéad McCann from Monaghan County Council
Carmel O’Hare, Nuala Woods and Sinéad McCann from Monaghan County Council

 

Monaghan County Council (MCC) proposes the development of a virtual reality 360-degree tour and house inspection app for housing stock. The solution will have two purposes:

  1. Allow housing applicants to experience an immersive tour of a house before making a decision to accept an offer of a tenancy;
  2. Provide an easy to use inspection tool for local authority staff to assist in housing inspections and maintenance.

The solution will allow the housing applicant to experience a virtual tour of the house either in the local authority offices or at their own convenience at a time and place that suits them. This frees up local authority staff for other work. Housing inspections are currently very time-consuming for local authority staff. MCC engineers take many 2D pictures of each room in the house. They also spend a lot of time manually recording issues in the house on paper-based forms. This information is then manually updated to the documentation management system. The proposed solution will use voice recording and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to log specific categories of damage for repair e.g. electrical, plumbing. Funding will be used to develop a Build to Share application and for project materials.

 

Digital Innovation Assessment Tool

Enterprise Ireland | IDA Ireland
Funding: €50,000

Enterprise Ireland Sign

Enterprise Ireland (EI) and IDA Ireland are committed to helping their respective client companies, and the entire public sector, grow their innovation agenda and manage transformation. The proposal is to develop a digital innovation tool that will help organisations assess where they currently are, identify gaps in their innovation approach, and be signposted to where they need to go to get support. This is essential for future organisational success. Building capability in innovation is currently is a key challenge for both EI and IDA clients and the public service in Ireland.

Funding will be used to develop a common digital tool, based on the ISO 56000 series (Innovation Management), that has the potential to be used by the entire public and private sector in Ireland. It will foster a shared understanding of our innovation positions and help identify opportunities for learning, collaboration and development. The tool also offers huge potential for significant insights through data analytics that will drive more effective development of innovation capabilities across the board.


ISL (Irish Sign Language) App

Citizens Information Board
Funding: €50,000

Citizens Information Logo

Currently, a member of the Deaf community wishing to remotely access certain public services or make a medical appointment needs to register with the Irish Remote Interpreting Service (IRIS) in advance. The service or hospital in question needs to have Skype for Business installed on their computer, as well as have a camera and speaker capabilities. Often Deaf clients cannot access information or services as the organisation is not able to facilitate Skype due to ICT restrictions.

The funding will be used to develop a VIP (Video Interpreting Platform) app that will connect the Deaf community with public services. This will enable public service bodies to provide direct access to ISL through an app that can be downloaded to a tablet or mobile phone. The camera and speakers are already provided and the app will link directly to a registered interpreter. This will allow more flexibility for deaf people wishing to access information and services. The app will be future-proofed to enable additional services later, such as voice to text and lip reading options. A ‘back office’ function will allow appropriate reporting on usage, in order to further develop services.


SmartD8

The Digital Hub Development Agency | Dublin City Council | National College of Art and Design | NDRC | HSE Digital Transformation | St James’s Hospital |St Patrick’s University Hospital | Health Innovation Hub Ireland | Trinity College Dublin – Transnational Medicine Institute
Funding: €10,000

New Row Street in Dublin 8

Smart D8 is a new two-year programme led by Dublin City Council, Smart Dublin and the Digital Hub Development Agency in collaboration with a range of other stakeholders in health, research and enterprise development, focused on developing a Smart City testbed district in The Liberties in Dublin 8. Falling under the ‘umbrella’ of Smart Dublin – the innovative city programme across the four Dublin local authorities – the Smart D8 testbed district aims to identify and trial a series of collaborative initiatives that use smart processes and digital innovation to improve the lives of people in Dublin 8, and which encourages ongoing collaboration between local partners in the fields of healthcare and community development.

Smart D8 will be a key element of the emerging ‘Health Innovation Corridor’ of leading health care institutions such as St James’s Hospital, National Children’s Hospital and St Patrick’s Mental Health Services, significant research bodies and Dublin 8-based enterprise hubs for technology companies collaborating to create a centre of excellence in digital healthcare and social care in Dublin.

With Smart D8’s focus on community wellbeing, DPER funding will support an initial phase of community and stakeholder engagement that establishes a strongly collaborative approach for the programme from the outset. The funding will be used for a series of workshops and to conduct surveys with project stakeholders.