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Scotland calls on tech companies to help build a digital nation

Trade body launches challenge for tech firms to contribute ideas to create a “critical national digital infrastructure” for Scotland

Scotland’s trade body for the digital technologies industries, ScotlandIS, is calling for the country’s tech companies to help build a digital nation.

The organisation has launched a ScotlandIS challenge, asking companies to submit ideas on how to speed up the country’s digital process and help develop “critical national digital infrastructure”.

Companies are being asked to consider a series of questions, including what the key components of a new digital and data infrastructure would be, how Scotland’s national digital and data assets can be protected, and how Scottish government can work more closely with the private sector to ramp up delivery and innovation.

Jane Morrison-Ross, CEO of ScotlandIS, said Scotland has the opportunity to become “a digital nation, a true digital democracy”.

She added: “Digital underpins everything and is critical to our economy. The rapid digital transformation of business and society would not have been possible without the infrastructure, products and services created by our digital ecosystem.

“But we can do more – and we can do it better. We want to harness technology and innovation to evolve current business models, drive efficiencies and productivity gains across the economy. 

“We want to create a country known for innovation, for an ethical approach to data and an integrated approach to public services. By building the right transformational infrastructure and working collaboratively, we can create a Digital Scotland that is good for the people, the economy, the environment and the government.”

The Scottish government is looking for groundbreaking ideas, which will be evaluated by a multidisciplinary team from government and ScotlandIS, which will agree on how to take further action.

Successful submissions will then be taken forward as part of Scotland’s CivTech programme, which uses digital technology to simplify access to public services.

Ben Macpherson, Scotland’s minister for public finance and migration, said: “I am really keen to hear the views of Scotland’s tech businesses on how we can work together through and beyond the Covid-19 crisis to create a more productive economy, tackle climate change and build a healthy and more equal society.

“I hope that many of you [tech companies] take this opportunity to share your thoughts on how we can build an innovative and inclusive Digital Nation to be proud of.”

Read more about the Scottish government and technology

Earlier this month, the Scottish government launched a review into how the country’s tech sector can help with economic recovery following the coronavirus pandemic.

The short-life review, led by former Skyscanner chief operating officer Mark Logan, will make recommendations on how the tech industry can help to ensure the future of Scotland’s economy.

As previously reported by Computer Weekly, in April 2020, the Scottish Tech Army project was launched, asking IT workers who have been furloughed under the UK government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to support public sector Covid-19 IT projects.

Working with recruitment agencies, the initiative aims to identify IT volunteers in Scotland whose skills can be used to support public sector organisations that are developing digital projects to help tackle the outbreak of the virus and the management of the recovery process.

The government’s CivTech programme will help to find suitable projects that require IT experts.

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