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What we learned from our Artificial Intelligence-themed grant fund workshop

Last week the Government Office for Technology Transfer (GOTT) hosted a workshop for public sector organisations looking to unlock the potential of their Artificial Intelligence-driven Knowledge Assets (KAs) with funding from GOTT’s Knowledge Assets Grant Fund (KAGF). The day was focused on helping attendees write a strong application, with advice from expert panel members and GOTT staff.

At the workshop we heard from independent panel members who assess applications to the grant fund, as well as members of the GOTT team who talked through the application process, including one project’s journey; from approaching GOTT, receiving grant funding, to looking at the potential of spinning out a company.

It was a great opportunity for colleagues across the public sector to come together and discuss how grant funding could kickstart the development and exploitation of their KAs.

Here were the key takeaways from the day:

 Successful grant fund applications go beyond business as usual

Everyone we spoke to at the workshop had a range of valuable Knowledge Assets. But it's important to ensure that the funding you apply for is used to develop your organisation’s KA further, to create wider impact and take it beyond business as usual.

A good test to see if your application is eligible for funding is to ask yourself is ‘could this be a credible internal business case?’ if the answer is no because it goes beyond core departmental business, then the Knowledge Assets Grant Fund could be right for you.

Grant fund applications should be seeking to explore how KAs could be used in other areas of government or wider society, or how it could be repurposed to maximise its impact for social or economic benefit.

Keep it simple

Our grant fund panellists stressed the importance of setting out your message, simplifying it, and simplifying it again. One question that was asked repeatedly on the day was ‘how would you explain this to your nan’?
A great pitch is an exciting one, that tells the story of your project in a way that any audience can understand. Since grant-funded projects should create benefit for taxpayers, you should be able to explain your project in a way that makes sense to a non-expert.

If you can pitch to your nan, you can pitch to our grant fund!

Leo Imasuen, Network Rail and workshop attendee:
“The workshop had a great balance between talks and breakout sessions. My core takeaway is what now feels like detailed insider knowledge which is driving confidence in my future application.”

AI has the potential to transform the public sector

There were lively discussions around how AI could improve the public services.
The use of AI will be crucial to future-proofing public services; making better decisions and helping to deliver social and economic value to the UK taxpayer. GOTT can support you to do this, by providing funding and support.4. Talk about your Knowledge Assets

In breakout groups attendees were invited to share their Knowledge Asset ‘pitch’, explaining what they would use funding to achieve. It was great to see attendees support each other with constructive feedback, highlighting the opportunities they might have missed, and providing each other with a fresh perspective on their knowledge asset.

For me this highlighted the value of showcasing KAs outside of your usual networks. You might get a useful piece of feedback, or validation of how amazing the work you're doing is to an outsider. The only way you will know the true potential of your asset, is by sharing it with new people!

Get in touch

If you’ve got a question, or think you have a Knowledge Asset you want to take further get in touch with our team.

Applications for the current AI-themed round close on 14th of March. Find out more here.

Thank you to our panellists and attendees for giving up their time to join our workshop.