EDUCATE project: Calling all edtech start-ups, teachers and researchers
There has long been a disconnect between the worlds of education and technology, with Nesta previously reporting on how 'edtech' companies too often fail to respond to the needs of educators, and how to make sure that their product is based on the rigorous evidence required to ensure it holds real educational value.
What is it?
The project, funded through European Regional Development Funding will aim to create a ‘golden triangle’ between teachers and learners, edtech companies and edtech researchers to ensure that the UK produces products and services that have a genuine impact on learning.
Who are they looking for?
EDUCATE is looking for both edtech companies and start-ups and entrepreneurial researchers or teachers who have a product idea they want to see realised and tested.
What will they get?
A cohort of 10 applicants will be offered a place at a co-working space located at the UCL Knowledge Lab in central London.
For edtech companies, the focus will be training on how to use research evidence to inform the design of the products and how to set up an effective pilot evaluation in order to demonstrate the value of their product.
For researchers and teachers at an earlier stage, the focus will be on helping them to develop the business skills and acumen necessary to commercialise their idea.
Both parties will be introduced and encouraged to work with parents and educators to ensure the products and services they create are built around customer needs from the start.
All successful applicants will also be assigned a research and business mentor and be offered a range of other services from accountancy and tax advice to help with grant writing and dissemination.
There will also be a virtual space available to individuals and organisations who are not yet ready to join the physical space and also for members during and after their participation.
Higher education institutions account for 24 per cent of UK research and development expenditure and yet there is currently no space where researchers can collaborate with edtech ventures to exploit research results, generate new or improved products or build SME capacity to innovate.
At the moment London is the number one tech start-up ecosystem in the UK, something UCL wants to capitalise on, combining its research expertise with this appetite for innovation.
There also remains the crucial fact that currently not enough edtech companies have the level of efficacy required to prove the value of their product.
Nesta is excited to be working with EDUCATE to bridge this gap to ensure that the UK becomes a world leader, and edtech products are more evidence-based and have the greatest impact on learning.
If you are an edtech start-up, teacher or research entrepreneur looking to get involved in this fantastic co-working opportunity you can find out more on the EDUCATE website or get in touch with [email protected] from UCL Knowledge Lab to find out more about when the opportunity formally opens.