Tim PearsonTim Pearson (left) in RM daysAnyone ready for another ICT initiative for education? We've had laptops for teachers, whiteboards, learning platforms and the current Home Access bid to 'bridge the digital divide' for some learners – what, if anything, should come next?

Tim Pearson will be asking this question of suppliers to the UK ICT market this week on behalf of The Technology Strategy Board ("Our approach is summed up in the words connect and catalyse"). The former chief executive of education supplier RM, who already has first-hand experience of a number of government initiatives, is speaking at a special BESA briefing on Thursday morning (March 18) on how The Technology Strategy Board can support business in educational technology, and to ask for advice on "potential large-scale future funding".

Tim Pearson is exploring the possibilities for one or more programmes but stresses: "There is no guarantee that education programmes will be funded – and indeed if there is not a good enough opportunity I will not be recommending any – but we are keen to explore whether there are strong opportunities for potential innovation programmes which meet our criteria.

"Note that at this stage I am deliberately not limiting the search for areas of investment to any specific opportunities – so education can mean both formal and informal education and at all ages and levels. The Technology Strategy Board’s collaborative funding is principally aimed at commercialisation of real technologies not at producing academic research. The organisation has a good understanding of the commercial environment and works hard to make applications as quick and simple as possible."

The Technology Strategy Board is a major investor in research and development and is sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). It was set up by the Government to stimulate innovation to help business, economic growth and quality of life. It has worked in other sectors but not yet in education (PDF of sample R&D funding competition for health sector here).

Tim Pearson will explain some of the current Technology Strategy Board schemes that could be useful for education and "the possible process, timescale and structure of any future education programme". A workshop will follow to discuss areas of interest.

More information

The seminar, organised jointly by BESA and The Technology Strategy Board, is open to all companies working in educational ICT, not just BESA members, and a number of places are left – contact Mark Rosser: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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