Tech boost as Scottish Government pledges £450,000 funding for Tayside 5G projects

Government grant funding of £450,000 has been pledged to support organisations trialling products and services using 5G mobile networks in the Tay cities region.

Tay5G is a programme established by the Tay Cities Deal to help businesses, individuals, the public sector and the third sector to engage with high-speed 5G networks. While applicants can be from anywhere in the UK, projects must impact or take place in the Tay cities area.

The goal is to create opportunities to trial 5G mobile communications across a range of sectors such as entertainment, manufacturing, healthcare, construction, fashion and transport. 5G networks are seen as especially useful in enabling advanced communications such as virtual reality, automation and the “internet of things”.

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The Tay5G Challenge Fund is backed by the Scottish Government through the Tay Cities Deal. Partners of the Tay5G initiative include the Scottish Futures Trust, the Scotland 5G Centre, Dundee City Council, Angus Council, Fife Council, Perth & Kinross Council, Abertay University and other stakeholders in the Tay cities region. The £450,000 is being made available to support up to six applicants who can demonstrate “impactful projects for products, services or solutions which use 5G networks”. Applicants from across the UK are eligible to apply but must have a Scottish organisation within their consortium.

Dundee City Council city development convener Mark Flynn said: “The Tay5G Challenge Fund has been designed to help the Tay city region growth sectors embrace 5G networks and enhance their business by optimising processes, increasing capability through to enabling new products and services.”

The fund is being managed by Urban Foresight, a consultancy located in Dundee and Newcastle. Urban Foresight principal consultant Dan Langford said: “At Urban Foresight we’re no stranger to managing innovation challenges and helping potential applicants increase their chance of success and ultimately impact. We are pleased to be managing the Tay5G Challenge Fund on behalf of Dundee City Council and the Tay5G board.”

The programme officially opened last month at an event in Dundee held by funding partner, the Scotland 5G Centre. Three online drop-in sessions are being held throughout January to give potential applicants an opportunity to learn more about the fund and discuss their application with experts. Funding applications close on January 31.

Scottish business minister Ivan McKee added: “The Tay5G Challenge Fund can help transform the regional economy of Tayside and demonstrate the opportunities available through adopting new technologies. The Scottish Government’s £450,000 funding through the Tay Cities Deal is helping build sustainable and productive communities and I look forward to seeing the projects which emerge from this important investment in the development of technologies of the future.”

5G networks are seen as especially useful in enabling advanced communications such as virtual reality, automation and the 'internet of things'. Picture: Gorm Branderup

The Tay cities region deal is a partnership between local, Scottish and UK governments and the private, academic and voluntary sectors. In total, the 26 projects submitted require investment of £700 million of which £300m over ten years is being put in by the UK government and Scottish Government, subject to final approval of “robust” business cases. If every project and programme set out in the submission is funded and delivered, up to 6,000 job opportunities could be created.

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