Learners to benefit from technology competitions
Learners who find digital information difficult to manage in today’s high tech world, perhaps because of a disability, could enjoy more independence thanks to two new developer competitions.
JISC Techdis is launching the competitions today after consulting the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Technology Strategy Board, joint sponsors of the initiative.
The first competition ‘Plain Sailing’ asks developers to create technology to help people produce and access their own personalised digital information anytime, anywhere.
The second ‘Making Waves’ competition challenges developers to come up with technologies to ensure that learners with communication difficulties can function effectively and independently.
JISC Techdis director Sal Cooke said: “Digitisation has opened up access to a mass of information for a vast number of people across the globe. Yet, in spite of legislation, accessibility standards and guidelines, equality of access is still denied to millions of people.”
The winning contract for each competition is worth £250,000, and will be chosen by a panel of independent experts.
John Hayes, minister for further education, skills and lifelong learning, said: "In today's world, those who find it difficult to engage with digital information also find it increasingly hard to access life, learning and employment opportunities. These competitions not only represent a fantastic opportunity for companies to help learners overcome these obstacles and make a real difference to their lives, but also for the companies taking part to improve their prospects."
Both competitions are part of the small business research initiative programme, which encourages innovative solutions to specific public sector needs by engaging a broad range of companies in competitions that result in technology development contracts.
The closing date is 15 March 2011.
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