About 1 in 40 pupils in Northern Ireland has a diagnosis of autism - a lifelong condition that affects the way an individual relates to people, situations and their immediate environment. There is emerging evidence that immersive technology can have a positive impact on the education, emotional and social skills of young people with autism.
The Education Authority (EA) is keen to develop an educational tool(s) that can be used within a classroom setting targeting the needs of children with ASD from the ages of 3 – 19 years to improve their educational, social and behavioural outcomes.
The EA has secured £150,000 funding from the Government’s Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) Fund to commission this project. SBRI enables public sector bodies to connect with technology organisations to stimulate the development of innovative solutions to specific public sector challenges and needs.
SBRI can support projects through the stages of feasibility and prototyping that are often hard to fund commercially in the open market and offers an excellent opportunity for businesses, especially early stage companies, to develop and demonstrate technology, supported by an intelligent lead customer.
Phase I of the project is intended to show the technical feasibility and commercial viability of the proposed concept and will be undertaken by November 2018. If this is successful, up to two further phases may be commissioned. Phase II will develop and evaluate prototypes or demonstrators from the more promising technologies identified in Phase I and Phase III may potentially test at scale. It will be commissioned for completion by end of March 2019.
An information session about this project was held at the Education Authority’s Dundonald office on the 29th June 2018. See below presentation from the information session.
It is expected that tender documentation will be available from the 30th June on e-TendersNI, with submissions due the 27th July, and interviews for shortlisted organisations being held in Belfast on the 3rd August.