About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

A new fund that will explore how digital technology can help innovate public services in Wales will be announced today (Nov 3) by the Welsh Government.

The £250,000 Digital Innovation Fund will be delivered by Nesta and Cardiff University’s ‘Y Lab’ - an initiative launched in July to devise and test new solutions to major public service challenges in Wales.

The fund, which will open to applicants later this month, will support public service organisations wishing to use digital technology to trial smarter and more efficient ways of working. The funded projects will inform future areas of focus for the Welsh Government and Y Lab.

Examples of projects that could be funded include those that use public data to better target services, or that streamline systems and processes to reduce costs and make services more accessible. 

Support provided through the fund will also include access to business advice, events, workshops and mentoring. The fund will also be used to support the establishment of a new Digital Innovators Network, run by Y Lab, which will bring together public and private sector digital leaders to share best practice.

More information about the fund and the Digital Innovators Network can be found here.

Speaking ahead of the launch of the fund, the Welsh Government's Minister for Public Services, Leighton Andrews AM said: “We recognise that digital has transformed the way people live their lives and we want public services to use digital approaches to transform the way they interact with citizens.  The Digital Innovation Fund will support the Welsh public service to build the capability to deliver digital services and find new solutions to the challenges faced by the public sector. I am delighted to be working in partnership with Nesta and Cardiff University’s Y Lab to enable much needed innovation in this area.”

Professor Rick Delbridge, Dean of Research, Innovation and Enterprise at Cardiff, said: "Cardiff University has a proud track record of working with and bringing together innovation practitioners in the public and private sectors to help improve public service delivery in Wales. Today's funding announcement will see the next phase in this work. The Digital Innovation Fund will be an important mechanism through which Welsh public services can boost their capacity to take advantage of technology, trial new approaches and tap into new opportunities and approaches. Through Y Lab, we'll be working to develop collaborative links across the public sector and to connect these with blue chip companies and third sector organisations to tackle the big issues that have an impact on the prosperity and wellbeing of the whole nation."

Simon Brindle, Y Lab Director, Nesta, said: "The Digital Innovation Fund creates an exciting opportunity for Welsh public services to learn from cutting edge digital developments in the public and private sectors.  The fund will support the acceleration of learning and development of digital public services in Wales, helping to identify ways to reduce costs and improve outcomes.”


For media enquiries please contact Anna Hartt, Senior Communications Officer, Cardiff University, 02920 876 723 / [email protected]

About Y Lab
 Y Lab is a partnership between Cardiff University and Nesta to form a public services innovation lab for Wales. It aims to promote experimentation and a trials based approach to the development of public services, drawing on the expertise and capacity across Nesta and Cardiff University.

About Cardiff University
Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain’s leading teaching and research universities and is a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s most research intensive universities. The 2014 Research Excellence Framework ranked the University 5th in the UK for research excellence. Among its academic staff are two Nobel Laureates, including the winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine, University Chancellor Professor Sir Martin Evans.  Founded by Royal Charter in 1883, today the University combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University’s breadth of expertise encompasses: the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; the College of Biomedical and Life Sciences; and the College of Physical Sciences and Engineering, along with a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning. Cardiff’s flagship Research Institutes are offering radical new approaches to pressing global problems. www.cardiff.ac.uk

About Nesta: (www.nesta.org.uk) is the UK's innovation foundation. We help people and organisations bring great ideas to life. We do this by providing investments and grants and mobilising research, networks and skills. We are an independent charity and our work is enabled by an endowment from the National Lottery.  Nesta is a registered charity in England and Wales 1144091 and Scotland SC042833.