The Techies in Residence (TiR) Programme is open for applications! The Programme brings together social challenges from charities and social enterprises with digital technology professionals to produce innovative digital products and services that have potential for deep social impact.
The Programme which was originally designed by Building Change Trust as part of the Social Innovation NI collaboration has supported 19 innovative projects across Northern Ireland since it was launched in 2015. It sees VCSE organisations matched with tech professionals to help them solve a social challenge using digital technology and will be delivered by Innovate NI in partnership with the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland.
With Building Change Trust completing its mission at the end of this year, the Techies in residence Programme is continuing to offer support after Comic Relief made funding of £150,000 available to the Community Foundation for another round of applications.
How the Programme works
By matching relevant VCSE organisations with tech talent, TiR is about using cross-sectoral collaboration and the latest technology to introduce and embed new ways of thinking and working to solve problems. The combined social know-how of the VCSE sector and the digital acumen of the tech sector hold huge potential to develop impactful and scalable digital responses to a variety of social problems in Northern Ireland and further afield. Check out the case studies section for examples of previous projects supported.
Who can apply
Any VCSE (voluntary, community or social enterprise) organisation registered or operating in Northern Ireland can apply through simply submitting a challenge they want to work on where they feel digital technology and innovation support could help enhance their social impact. The application deadline will be 5pm on Friday 7th December 2018.
A series of information workshops have been organised for those considering applying, see below for details and registration links:
- Causeway Coast & Glens (Garvagh) – Monday 12th November – click here for registration
- Derry City & Strabane – Tuesday 13th November – click here for registration
- Newry, Mourne & Down – Wednesday 14th November – click here for registration
- Belfast – Friday 16th November – click here for registration
The application process
Shortlisted groups will be notified within 2 weeks and invited to attend a workshop in the early New Year (date to be provided in advance) where they will receive mentoring and support to further refine their proposal.
The final stage of selection will be a pitch day in January 2019 which will see up to 6 groups awarded with a ‘Techie in Residence’ who will work intensively with them for a 10-12 week period, starting with a two-day launch residential where they will work with their techie to develop a detailed action plan.
As well as this, a dedicated mentor from Innovate NI works with the participant organisation to consider the wider opportunities and support available to the participant outside of the programme and to strategically plan further development of their new digital solution post-Techies intervention.
This can prove invaluable in identifying additional funding opportunities or helping to sustain and scale the innovation being worked on.
Please note the Techies in Residence programme adopts an ‘open innovation’ approach, which centres on the belief that any new solution could have multiple applications beyond the immediate problem for which it was developed.
This is particularly important in the resource constrained environment of the VCSE sector. There is little sense in investing multiple times in the development of broadly similar solutions. Consequently Social Innovation NI asks that all Techies in Residence participants adopt an open approach to Intellectual Property and are prepared to make their solution freely available to others working on social challenges where it could be useful.
The fourth cycle of Techies in Residence closed for applications on Friday 7th December 2018. Please check back here in autumn 2019 for news on the next cycle. Or check the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland website at www.communityfoundationni.org