Future Tech Challenge 2021



The Future Tech Challenge is a pilot competition based on a collaboration between Ireland’s Public Service and private sector actors to drive innovation and technology adoption in order to solve pressing public service challenges. It is coordinated by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in partnership with IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland.

This first pilot challenge involved focusing engagements with the multinational sector by partnering with Amazon Web Services (AWS), Cisco, and IBM.

On 5th October 2021, the Our Public Service team invited nine public service bodies to the Radisson Hotel, Golden Lane, to pitch their ideas to a panel of industry experts across three categories: remote connectivity (Cisco), artificial intelligence (IBM), and cloud computing (AWS). The winning projects each secured services to the value of €100,000 and a partnership with an industry leader to develop their projects into fruition.

We’ll provide you with updates on the winning projects over the next year!



Remote Connectivity (Cisco)


Winner: HSE Digital Transformation/Mayo County Council/NUI Galway
Finalists: Workplace Relations Commission and St. James’s Hospital/Spark Innovation Programme


Winning Project: Clare Island Digital Health Living Lab

The ambition of this project is to provide an integrated digital health solution which helps proactively monitor and intervene for the health of Clare Islanders. The HSE has articulated an Innovation Strategy called ‘Stay Left, Shift Left’ which advocates for innovations which allow for citizens/patients health to be managed best of all from home.

The team proposed that an integrated communications system on the Island will underpin proactive remote monitoring of all islanders, facilitate live video consultations, support proactive chronic disease management, and potentially facilitate the drone delivery of medicine.

This project aims to address key challenges such as providing timely access to doctor consultations, hospital at home care and reducing care visits to the mainland. Patients will be proactively monitored and early interventions will help improve patient outcomes and reduce the cost of care. Using a digital closed loop system, islanders can have medical consultations, and GPs can electronically prescribe medications that can be delivered to the island via drone.

This Living Lab should be an exemplar to quantify the benefits and provide a blueprint for the roll out of the solution to other islands, remote places, and even urban areas. This project will be the first digital proactively monitored health system for a population subset in Ireland, possibly globally. An aim of the project is to prove the system success and then create a design pattern for replication to other islands and remote communities. As the proposed technologies and solutions are modular, they should be readily scalable.

Take a look back at their winning idea below:



Artificial Intelligence (IBM)


Winner: Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Finalists: Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment/Companies Registration Office and National Library and Information Service, HSE


Winning Project: Better Management of Bovine TB Using Data to Prevent Risk

Bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) is a serious disease of cattle, a public health concern, and a threat to Ireland’s ability to export meat and milk products. The national bTB eradication programme has direct annual costs of around 100m, whole over 4,000 farmers suffer an outbreak in their herds annually. The risk pathways for bTB are well characterised through years of epidemiological research. In addition, the Department maintains extensive records of all cattle movements, including records of all bTB testing, outbreaks, restricted herds and other related information.

The Department believe there is considerable scope to combine the significant datasets with their understanding of how bTB spreads, and use this to predict bTB risk and support better disease management, driving towards eradication. This potential is even clearer following following technological advancements brought about by COVID-19. The use of technology would enable real-time management of bTB risk, faster and more targeted response, and pro-active tackling of bTB spread. It could be used by veterinarians, and in time, farmers and would enable those most affected by bTB to take action to mitigate their risk, protect their cattle, and secure their livelihood. This will also reduce the cost to the taxpayer.

The project will use the extensive data available in the Department and use the latest data processing and modelling techniques to identify and rank locations, herds and animals at risk of contracting the disease. The system will be developed based on infrastructure for tracking bTB outbreaks but will be applicable to other bovine diseases in other species and other exotic diseases.

This will be the first such animal disease risk protection system in Ireland, and once established for bTB, the methodology can also be applied to other infectious diseases of livestock.

Take a look back at their winning idea below:



Cloud Computing (Amazon Web Services)


Winner: Monaghan County Council (incl. Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, Mayo, Louth, Laois, Cavan, Sligo, Longford, Leitrim, Clare)
Finalists: Mater Hospital and Department of Justice


Project: MyCoCo – all local authorities services in one portal

Local authorities offer more than 1000 diverse services to the public, many of which are provided using paper-based forms, with cheque payment, and low visibility to a customer re: the progress of their application. MyCoCo is a prototype solution which offers an online platform to provide diverse services that can be scaled up with an extension of services. In addition, the solution can be moved to a national platform to deliver services.

Using MyCoCo, citizens, businesses, and organisations can set up an account, browse the service catalogue to request a service, add it to their basket, make a payment and track its progress. In addition, MyCoCo will leverage other governmental initiatives, such as MyGovID and the digital postbox, which offer secure government-wide single log-in to services. MyCoCo gives local authorities full visibility of service offerings and provides baseline metrics that can be used for KPIs. It also supports the blended office based and remote working environment.

MyCoCo is a transformative solution that will provide better customer service and increase efficiencies. The introduction of MyCoCo also prioritises customer satisfaction and provides a modern interface for customers to interact with local authorities.

Take a look back at their winning idea below:



Keynote Speeches


Jamie Cudden presents ‘Smart Cities: Transforming Public Services and Enhancing Quality of Life’ at the Future Tech Challenge 2021


Jean Carberry presents ‘Here for Good: The National Artificial Intelligence Strategy for Ireland’ at the Future Tech Challenge 2021


Tom Kelly and Breda O’Toole present ‘Innovating Through Partnerships’ at the Future Tech Challenge 2021