Nesta embarks on first stage of £4.6m edtech investment scheme

The innovation foundation, in partnership with the DfE, is inviting industry to pitch innovative edtech solutions for funding

Nesta and the Department for Education (DfE) have announced a call-out for industry to come forward with edtech ideas to improve teaching and learning.

The £4.6m Edtech Innovation Fund project was announced in the DfE’s edtech strategy this April, and is part of a bid to stimulate industry innovation, support the development of edtech products, and build an evidence base to ensure that technology meets the needs of teachers and learners.


Related: DfE edtech strategy tackles teacher workload, cheating, and better tools for SEND students


The Edtech Innovation Fund will provide up to £100,000 in funding for 20 edtech organisations, in order to evaluate and grow the reach of digital tools across four challenge areas:

  • Formative assessment
  • Essay marking
  • Parental engagement
  • Timetabling

Applications are open to companies both in the UK and internationally, providing funding is used to deliver a product in England. Financial support will last for up to 18 months, and grantees will also have access to non-financial support relevant to their needs, from Nesta.

We aim to improve teaching and learning, bring more efficiencies to schools and colleges, save teacher time, and ultimately improve student outcomes.
– Joysy John, Nesta

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Joysy John, director of education at Nesta, said: “By working in partnership with the Department for Education we hope to have a greater impact on the education system and the edtech sector. We aim to improve teaching and learning, bring more efficiencies to schools and colleges, save teacher time, and ultimately improve student outcomes.”

Grants will support:

  • Improvement – improving and testing early-stage products that want to grow their reach and impact.
  • Implementation – supporting products to expand their reach to more schools, colleges and students.
  • Evidence – supporting organisations to build the evidence base for what works in the four challenge areas.

Learn more about the innovation fund here


The second stage of the programme, the Edtech Innovation Testbed, will invite participating schools and colleges to identify edtech products aligned to their needs. Each school or college will then have the chance to trial technology for free and be closely supported to evaluate it impact.

Applications are open until 9am 15 July 2019. More information is available at https://www.nesta.org.uk/project/edtech-innovation-fund/

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