CivTech 8 challenge: help NatureScot manage its understanding of the state of protected areas

How can technology help NatureScot flexibly manage its understanding of the state of protected areas by making best use of available evidence?

Opportunity Details


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If selected for Exploration stage: £5k per team. If selected for Accelerator stage: £30k per team. Maximum contract value £650,000.


Scottish Government

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If we are to support land and sea managers to make decisions that protect and restore Scotland’s Nature we need a better understanding of our natural environments which give us a holistic understanding of ecosystem health. This includes; ability to ingest various different types of data, in as close to real time as possible and the ability to present and analyse that data at different scales. We are looking for innovative proposals for technology solutions to support our national nature agency, NatureScot, to develop a world leading approach to monitoring the health of Protected Areas to support land and sea managers in decisions that help Scotland respond to the global biodiversity and climate emergencies.

This Challenge is one of the first being launched as part of the Innovate for Nature strategy, and falls under Mission 1 — What is Measured Matters.

A live Q&A session will be held with the Challenge Sponsor team on Tuesday 15th November 2022 at 11:00 am. Click here to register for the session.

CivTech will also be holding a virtual briefing session to talk to a Challenge Manager about the CivTech Process and how to apply to solve a CivTech Challenge, at 5.30-6.30pm on Thursday 17th November. Click here to register for a place.

Why does this Challenge need to be solved?

NatureScot needs to be able to plan, collate and review evidence, inform management, and communicate and report on the state of protected areas across Scotland. However, our approach to protected areas is undergoing transformation as, e.g., we seek to increase the proportion of Scotland’s land protected for nature by 66% (30×30), develop an ecosystem health based approach, and continue to develop our approach to monitoring marine protected areas.

The ecosystem health approach will likely move away from the highly structured feature and attribute-based monitoring to a more holistic approach that focusses on function, resilience and pressures at varying scales. Importantly, we need greater flexibility in the way we are able to present this information to end users in order to maximise its contribution to halting the loss of nature.

Since our current approach to protected area monitoring was established innovative technologies are opening up new evidence sources, e.g. those based on earth observation or eDNA. We need to make better use of these sources to inform urgent management of protected areas and beyond. In addition, we need to streamline the data pipeline, e.g. through better integration with field monitoring applications.

CivTech Eligibility

Anyone can apply, from anywhere. You could be an existing company with a team and a product that is ready to be repurposed to answer the challenge. Or a group of graduates with a great demo. Or a digital team that’s looking for a great idea to get involved with. Or even the reverse — an individual with no digital background but with real insight into the challenge and a cracking idea but can put together a great support team.

Rewards for CivTech challenges

Up to 3 teams are selected for the 2-3 week Exploration Stage of each challenge, and will receive £5000 per team (plus VAT if applicable). Winning teams will be invited onto the 12-15 week Accelerator Stage. Each team completing the Accelerator will receive £30,000 (exc. VAT), with no hidden charges, and no equity or IP stakes being taken.

If you are successful at the Demo Day following this stage, further contracts can be negotiated up to a total value of £210,000 or £610,000 (plus VAT if applicable) per team (depending on whether your Challenge was advertised on Public Contracts Scotland with a value of up to £250,000 or up to £650,000.) Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Scottish Enterprise, the Scottish Investment Bank and other support channels will also get involved to help drive the businesses forward. Click here for full details of the process.


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