Inclusive Technology Prize opens to designers, makers and entrepreneurs

Designers, makers and entrepreneurs are being challenged to apply for the chance to gain a contract worth £50,000 and to develop the next generation of products, services and technologies that will make a real difference to the 1 in 5 of us living with limiting long term illness or disability in the UK. The Inclusive Technology Prize, which is designed to be accessible to all, is open to individuals, groups or organisations.

The UK’s innovation foundation, Nesta, is working with the Office for Disability Issues, Innovate UK, The Department for Business Innovation and Skills and Irwin Mitchell to champion the issue of assistive technology through the Inclusive Technology Prize. The challenge will encourage innovation through co-creation with disabled people, meeting needs as defined by the users themselves and challenging people to use lived experiences of disability to develop life changing technology.

The competition will be judged by an expert panel, including leading comedians Jess Thom, who has Tourette’s syndrome, and Laurence Clark, who has cerebral palsy. The panel will be looking for ideas that enhance independence by building, inventing, developing and co-creating a more equal and accessible society. The full judging panel is available at www.inclusivetechprize.org.

Jess Thom, Inclusive Technology Prize judge, said: “The Inclusive Technology prize is looking for people to apply with products that are beautifully designed, systems that are turned on their heads, and technologies that harness the best of computing and mobile technology to kick start new ideas that will have a long lasting impact for the 12.2 million disabled people in the UK.”

The judges are looking for ideas that will fulfill their vision for a more equal society. Products could be functional objects like a watch that tells the time through touch, systems and technologies might include text to voice apps for computers and mobiles that make voting systems accessible by reading and recording the vote by voice.

Constance Agyeman, Programme Manager for the prize, said: “We are excited by the potential of the Inclusive Technology Prize to generate a whole new wave of product design and to encourage people to innovate for independence.

“Together with partners, Nesta is looking for entries that are co-produced with disabled people and will improve the lives of the everyday person experiencing day-to-day challenges.

“Assistive technology, aids products and technologies should be readily available for anyone looking for the solutions that will make their life easier and simpler.  The Inclusive Technology Prize is about making that vision a reality.”

Submissions must have the potential to make a difference in education, home, work, leisure, or transport, and can have cross over in any or all of these areas.

The Inclusive Technology Prize, which is designed to be accessible to all, is open to individuals, groups or organisations. The competition has several stages and entrants will be whittled down to 25 semi-finalists who will each receive mentoring and support, and then a final 10 who will develop prototypes ready for impact testing. The winner of the £50,000 contract will be announced in March 2016.

Deadline for applications is 16 January 2015. Find out more here: http://www.inclusivetechprize.org/

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