CivTech 8 challenge: How can technology help to create a nature network across Scotland?

How can technology help to create a nature network by 2030 across all of the different areas of Scotland? Challenge Sponsors: NatureScot and Scottish Wildlife Trust.

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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A Nature Network connects areas of land and freshwater that are important for nature, including protected areas and restoration projects, by enhancing and developing corridors and stepping-stones between them to allow habitats and species that rely on them to thrive. An effective Nature Network is an essential tool to reverse biodiversity declines. In Scotland Nature Networks will address local priorities for nature, ensure connectivity and restoration across landscapes, and support urban-rural connectivity. Local authorities local development plans will facilitate the creation of Nature Networks and continue to strengthen the connections between them.

So, how can technology help to create a nature network by 2030 across all of the different areas of Scotland?

This Challenge is one of the first being launched as part of the Innovate for Nature strategy, and falls under Mission 3 — Community.

A live Q&A session will be held with the Challenge Sponsor team on Monday 14th 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.

The need for the Challenge

Well planned and implemented Nature Networks will be essential to Scotland achieving its 30×30 goal; having at least 30% of terrestrial habitats in Scotland protected for nature by the year 2030, halting the decline in biodiversity and beginning to ‘bend the curve’. The 30×30 target includes acknowledgement that protected areas to be successful in their objectives must be ‘well-connected’ and ‘integrated into the wider landscape’.

The importance of Nature Networks is further recognised in the outcomes of the emerging Scottish Biodiversity Strategy, within which they sit, that states ‘by 2030 we need to have spatially identified Nature Networks which are widespread and embedded in land use planning and management’.

To date a number of Nature Networks have sprung up organically across Scotland (City of Edinburgh Council, Central Scotland Green Network to name a few) however to match the pace needed for local authorities, amongst other bodies, to scale these up and create a nationwide network requires an innovative solution that will bring together and visualise the various sources of data that will then allow for consistent, easily understood and defendable decision making.  The visualisation will allow for identification of potential networks and make it easier for relevant communities, land owners and managers to work collaboratively.

As well as the environmental need the societal benefit of increased connectivity with nature is recognised. As well as the multiple ecological aspects that will be required to be taken into consideration when building a Nature Network there is therefore also a strong human aspect to be taken into consideration, ensuring equity in access to nature rich green spaces, and providing added value (e.g. active transport links or natural health services).

Should this challenge not be solved the approach to nature networks across Scotland will continue to be fragmented. This could cause potential issues such as:

  • Difficulty in communicating clearly what a Nature Network is, its importance and why they have been identified in the way in which they have.
  • Multiple approaches being created to identify Nature Networks between local authority areas that will present a confusing landscape for individuals and organisations that work across Local Authority areas or nationally.
  • A lack of coherence in the network across local authority areas that may prevent logical and beneficial connections within a landscape or catchment
  • Will be an inefficient use of resources

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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