UK government launches new ‘self-isolation’ tech challenge


The government has announced that funding is being made available for tech companies involved in developing innovative ways to help those who can't leave the house during the COVID-19 crisis.

According to a statement, the ‘Techforce19’ challenge aims to support those who need to stay at home for several weeks. The scope of the project includes mental health, social care needs, 'optimising' volunteers and so on.

Funding of up to £25,000 per company is available, with the government hoping to deploy the solutions “in the next few weeks.” The programme is being launched by NHSX and managed by GovTech venture firm PUBLIC.

Speaking of the initiative, health and social care secretary Matt Hancock said: “If people cannot leave the house, we need to quickly find ways to bring support to them. I am calling on the strength of our innovative technology sector to take on this challenge.”

Matthew Gould, chief executive of NHSX, said: “Tech can play an important role in helping the country deal with the challenges created by coronavirus. This competition is focused on the problems created by isolation, which lend themselves to digital solutions.

“It will allow NHSX to accelerate the development of those solutions, so within weeks they can help those in isolation suffering from loneliness, mental health issues and other problems.”
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