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The 2021 finalists

At the 2021 Semi-Finals in October, the judges selected four of the eight ideas for further development by our project teams, ranging from data dashboards to new data links and AI applications. But the judges made clear that all the teams’ ideas merited further development, and volunteered to provide assistance – as explained in Global Government Forum’s coverage of the event.

Over the following two months, the remaining four teams continued to work up their ideas – and on 9 December they faced a Final Decision Panel comprising the judges plus sponsors Alex Chisholm and Tamara Finkelstein. There the AI peatlands team was declared the overall winner, securing £50,000-worth of development support from NTT DATA UK. See our report for more details.

Below you can read brief synopses of the four 2021 finalists’ ideas, and watch their pitches to the judges. You can also read brief synopses of all the ideas submitted on our All Ideas page, and watch all eight 2021 teams’ pitches at the Semi-Final on our Youtube channel. 

THE 2021 WINNER: Deploy AI to protect and enhance our peatlands

The UK’s peatlands are currently drying out, emitting around 20 million tonnes of CO2 annually. Blocking moorland drains can reverse this process – but locating them on the ground is a difficult and labour-intensive process. Deploying innovative ‘Generative Adversarial Networks’, we could rapidly identify drains using aerial photography, much reducing the cost of protecting these important environments.

Gather better statistics on the distribution of UK citizens abroad

Using data held across Government and open source to create a live data model showing the numbers of UK nationals living, working and holidaying around the world. The data will be used to support activity across Government and the model will be hosted on the ONS integrated data platform, accessible to all Government departments.

Construction Industry Benefit Fraud & Error

By linking together existing datasets, departments could reduce their losses to fraud and error – for example, identifying individuals who are under-reporting their income. Systems such as DWP’s Customer Information System and HMRC’s Construction Industry Scheme provide real opportunities to greatly enhance identification of potential fraud and error and reduce the financial impacts upon both government and the citizens.

Track prisoners’ social contacts to support rehabilitation

We know that prisoners who maintain close family ties during their sentences are less likely to reoffend, but data on their social contacts is currently dispersed and of variable quality. Bringing this data together and improving its collection would enable prisons to plan additional support for prisoners suffering from a lack of social contact, helping to reduce reoffending rates.

Watch the presentations from all of the teams on our YouTube channel