Innovative new technology sought to improve disaster managment and ease traffic congestion

05 February 2008

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Disaster mitigation and response, traffic management, road maintenance and pollution monitoring are some of the diverse areas set to benefit from £10 million investment in research and development by the Technology Strategy Board.  

The collection of data from a wide range of sources underpins many applications including traffic management, healthcare, pollution monitoring and building management.  Environments that are large-scale, high-density, harsh or unstable make data gathering particularly challenging.  Without up-to-date and reliable data, it is difficult to understand or predict the dynamics of the environment.  The government-funded Technology Strategy Board is to invest £10 million to encourage British companies to research and develop innovative data-gathering technologies that could be rapidly configured and deployed by users such as the police, fire and rescue services, local authorities, utility companies and many others.


Explaining why the Technology Strategy Board is investing in this area, Chief Executive Iain Gray said: "The ability to gather information in complex or difficult environments is vital for organisations such as the emergency services, transport authorities and power companies.  Many UK companies have particular strengths in sensing, instrumentation and imaging technologies, and in telecommunications and intelligent systems.  Bringing this expertise together would give the UK the capability to offer complete tracking and monitoring solutions, and to exploit the worldwide demand for such technology."


The Technology Strategy Board believes that innovative data-gathering technology would improve operating efficiency in many industry and service sectors, such as:

•-          Air, water and soil management;

•-          Control and security of utility supply;

•-          Traffic management;

•-          Road and rail infrastructure maintenance;

•-          Buildings maintenance and management;

•-          Health monitoring of patients in ambulances;

•-          Pollution monitoring;

•-          Monitoring and maintenance of civil engineering works;

•-          Instrumentation and control in vehicles and planes.

•-          Cultural Heritage: environmental management of historic buildings, collections, sites and landscapes.


The Gathering Data in Complex Environment funding competition - part of the Technology Strategy Board's autumn 2007 call for proposals in a number of innovation and technology areas - will stimulate UK companies to develop technologies that can be used successfully in challenging environments to gather data that currently cannot be gathered.  The investment will help to accelerate development, bringing the technologies quickly and cost effectively to market.

The Technology Strategy Board's investment will provide partial funding for winning projects that involve businesses working collaboratively with other businesses and/or with research organisations and academic institutions.

Applicants must register their intention to apply for funding, and submit an outline of their proposal, by 4 April 2008 and the final closing date for applications is 8 May 2008.

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