Nesta enterprise Challenge Works announces new partnership with Social Tech Trust, to provide technical and data support to innovators.
The Longitude Prize on Dementia has announced a partnership with social innovation charity Social Tech Trust; the new partnership will support the 24 international discovery award teams to develop working prototypes of new assistive technologies to help people living with dementia remain independent for longer.
Longevity.Technology: The £4.34m Longitude Prize on Dementia, funded by Alzheimer’s Society and Innovate UK, is incentivising the development of breakthrough assistive technologies for people living with dementia. 24 semi-finalists were announced in June 2023, all of whom will be submitting a working prototype ahead of five finalists being selected in summer 2024. Challenge Works, a global leader in the design and delivery of challenge prizes mobilising innovation for social good, is delivering the initiative.
Social Tech Trust, a charity that challenges organisations to think differently about technology’s role in society, will be helping each innovator to assess where their product might benefit from support and provide appropriate technology and data advice. The charity will also leverage its network of experts to introduce innovators to big tech companies, including Microsoft, AWS and NVIDIA.
The Longitude Prize on Dementia semi-finalists include a range of innovations, from AI gamified software that promotes positive social experiences to help delay decline in brain function (from Memory Lane Games) to biodynamic lighting and sensor systems that can ease symptoms of sundowning – irritability and confusion that can worsen as daylight fades (from Chroma Lighting).
Chris Blues, Director, Social Tech Trust said: “Around 50 million people worldwide are living with dementia, including 900,000 in the UK. Tech has enormous power to help with many social challenges – including dementia, which can devastate lives, causing people to lose their memory, identity and, sadly, relationships. Supporting innovators with technical and data support to help refine their prototypes is the first step in using technology to ease the lives of those living with dementia.”
Ruth Neale, Programme Manager for the Longitude Prize on Dementia at Challenge Works said: “We’re excited to join forces with Social Tech Trust to provide semi-finalists in the Longitude Prize on Dementia with tailored technical and data support to develop their ideas into prototypes. The team at Social Tech Trust will provide a bespoke technology support package for our international cohort to drive high-quality tech products for the next stage of the competition. This is one element in the programme of capacity-building support that is being provided to teams in the next 12 months.”
The partnership will form just one element of the non-financial support offered to teams participating in the Longitude Prize on Dementia. Alongside the technical support, wider support is being provided through opportunities to ensure all technologies are co-created with people living with dementia or caring for people with dementia.
The innovators are invited to three more co-creation workshops before the end of the year, one focusing on social connectedness and technology features from the Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation (a Canadian partner of the prize), one on innovating with data responsibly hosted by Amazon Web Services (AWS) and another on user-centred AI design and personalisation hosted by Innovate UK and National Innovation Centre for Ageing (NICA). Co-creation is essential to ensure that new technologies developed through the prize are designed to meet the needs of their intended beneficiaries and their lifestyles.
Alzheimer’s Society has also established 38 local focus groups involving people living with dementia and their carers. These groups will assist innovators in ensuring their product is co-designed and has considered some of the most important elements of living with dementia. International co-creation and access to user opportunities have also been set up with international partners. This will help to ensure that every innovation learns from people living with dementia and can adapt and support changing needs over time.
Challenge work is also offering advice and guidance from 15 dementia experts, ranging from frontline dementia healthcare professionals to, leading dementia academics, as well as design and customer experience experts. The innovators will be able to book one-on-one sessions with each expert.