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AI to be used to tackle global issues in new digital initiative

AI to be used to tackle global issues in new digital initiative

Secretary Jeremy Wright has announced funding for an initiative testing how technologies including AI could help to tackle global challenges, including combating illegal wildlife trade and reducing food waste.

The ‘data trust’ programme is to be piloted in the UK, run by the Open Data Institute and the Government’s Office for , with more than £700,000 to be invested in the initiative to tackle global issues. The funding will help organisations such as WILDLABS Tech Hub and WRAP design the frameworks required to exchange data between organisations in a safe, fair and ethical way.

The aim of the scheme is to exploit the power of data exchange between organisations with the raw data and those with expertise to process it to tackle major global issues.

The Digital Secretary also announced a raft of measures to boost tech for social good as well as the organisations that will receive a share of the government’s £1 million Digital Leadership Fund, which aims to boost charity leaders’ digital knowhow and how they can use to benefit their causes. These include Age UK, Guide Dogs for the Blind Association and Cornwall Museums Partnership, while the new measures include:

  • Social Tech Venture Fund, administered by the Social Tech Trust, which will see government support the foundation of a fund of up to £30 million to support innovative solutions to encourage people to be healthier and help them to build connected communities
  • £1 million to incentivise organisations to develop solutions to tackle loneliness and bring communities together
  • Government backing for the Digital Agenda Impact Awards to showcase and celebrate tech for good innovations from across business, government and charity organisations
  • A collaboration with the Centre for Acceleration of Social Technology (CAST) and its network of social sector partners to explore how best to support charities to embed digital in their strategy, services and culture

Richard Swannell, Director, WRAP Global, said:

“WRAP’s work focuses on forging powerful partnerships and delivering initiatives to support more sustainable economies and society. Carefully building and understanding the evidence which galvanises action is at the heart of everything we do. These pilots will give us the opportunity to build on our experience and explore different ways to create an environment where organisations can confidently share their data.”

Also commenting on the news James Eiloart, SVP EMEA, Tableau said:

“The Digital Secretary’s appetite for using digital technologies to address global challenges is both refreshing and exciting. So much of the prevailing narrative around data has been negative in recent times that it’s easy to forget its power as a force for good.

“Technology is certainly part of the solution, but genuine change requires an equal investment in training so that charities and NGOs are sufficiently equipped to harness the full power of data at their disposal. Striking this balance can be challenging. As the government moves forward with its strategy, we would certainly welcome the opportunity to engage in a dialogue and share what we have learned from the many successful partnerships we are running across the world.”

Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via

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