Catalyst news - RSA

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The latest ideas awarded support from Catalyst will help: social entrepreneurs access regular advice to help them grow; doctors bypass out-of-date technology to access patient data immediately and collaborate better; people see maths as a more accessible and creative subject; and teenagers with limited extracurricular activity gain skills and CV material.

Catalyst provides small grants and expertise to Fellows who have developed an innovative solution to a social problem. Strong ideas – not only those that receive grants – are helped by the expertise available through the panel, RSA staff and, above all, by our Fellowship at large, for example through the RSA SkillsBank. Catalyst awards grants of £1,000 to £2,000 in the first instance – with additional £5,000 awards available for ventures that successfully delivery their first outputs.

In late July, a panel with representation from Fellowship Council and senior RSA staff awarded grants to the following projects:

£2,000 to Medopad – to use mobile devices such as the iPad to provide hospital doctors with secure and real-time access to patient data, images and lab results as well as tools that empower collaboration between doctors

Real-time patient data availability is a global challenge. By making clinical data available when and where it is required, Medopad improves quality of care, increases productivity and efficiency and reduces costs. Founded by Dan Vahdat FRSA and Dr. Rashid Shahidi, both from Oxford University, Catalyst resources will help the team to set up a virtual hospital for testing the Medopad service and further developing its mHealth platform. Dan is looking to work with Fellows from healthcare and technology industries, in particular current or former hospital executives, healthcare professionals and senior consultants.

£1020 to The Social Virtual Board – giving social entrepreneurs will soon be able to access high-level advice working in long-term partnerships

Joyce Turton, who has worked with small to medium-sized enterprises for more than 25 years, noticed that social entrepreneurs tended to have a lot of passion and energy but sometimes lacked the business skills required to deal with the challenges of a growing enterprise. While many schemes provide social entrepreneurs with mentors, business advice and help finding investors, they rarely provide the joined-up, board-level expertise that the entrepreneurs need to scale up their businesses. With the help of a grant from RSA Catalyst, Joyce will run a year-long pilot involving three or four social enterprises, who have been established for at least two years, and will look for Fellows from the SkillsBank with relevant business experience to be part of the Board. 

£2000 to Maths on Toast – to create pop-up exhibitions and installations that help to change how people see mathematicsThere will be four pop-up exhibitions in London over the summer and autumn to involve and astonish people, start conversations, and raise confidence and enthusiasm amongst our visitors about maths. Alexandra Fitzsimmons, who leads the project, will look to collaborate with Fellows through the SkillsBank with expertise in evaluation, PR and branding as well as Fellows working with housing associations or shopping centres who might want to bring activities to their localities.

£2,000 to a legal and political development award – to enable 14-18 year-olds with limited contact with extracurricular activity gain the skills and CV material to compete for top universities and jobs

The intervention will pilot in Camden through a programme of civic education seminars, led by visiting lecturers David Lammy MP, Professor Conor Gearty, Cllr. Georgia Gould, the school's police officer and Save the Children. Participants will put this knowledge into practice by building a project to address the problem they see to be the biggest in their area. Tom is keen to collaborate with Fellows in the SkillsBank to increase the pool of visiting lecturers and consultants to the community engagement project.

If you would like to get involved (or know anyone who will want to), please register in the SkillsBank and you will be matched to the project if you quote the name of the projects in the ‘interests’ section when you register.

Register your expertise to help other projects 

If you want to help projects like those mentioned above, but none of them quite match your skills-set or location, we encourage you to register in the SkillsBank. After completing a short registration form we will endeavour to match you up with inspiring projects in need of your help.

Have you got an idea? If so, apply for a grant and help from Fellows for it

Visit the website at to find out more about what support is available, what the criteria are for its award and how we help you collaborate with Fellows who have relevant expertise. The next deadline for Catalyst applications is Sunday 16 September.

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