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UK Government Searches For The City Of Tomorrow

Max 'Beast from the East' Smolaks covers open source, public sector, startups and technology of the future at TechWeekEurope. If you find him looking lost on the streets of London, feed him coffee and sugar.

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The Technology Strategy Board has launched a £25 million infrastructure competition for smarter cities

The government has today invited cities across the UK to bid for the £24 million ‘Future Cities Demonstrator’ fund to spend on technology that will improve residents’ quality of life.

The Technology Strategy Board will award the money to an urban area that submits the proposal that best demonstrates the additional value that can be created by integrating a city’s systems.

Better living through technology

The first stage of the competition will see local authorities bidding for one of twenty £50,000 grants to carry out a feasibility study to develop their project proposal.

The cities that complete the feasibility study will then be invited to submit a proposal for the large scale demonstrator – and one successful city will be awarded £24 million funding to implement its proposal.

The project was designed to enable businesses to test new solutions for connecting and integrating individual city systems, and will allow cities to explore new approaches to delivering a good local economy and quality of life, whilst reducing the environmental footprint.

Every proposal should tackle specific challenges in the city, and provide a platform that allows innovative companies, particularly SMEs, to test their ideas.

“People and technology are developing and changing all the time, and we can’t expect our cities to stand still while that is happening. Cities face major challenges such as changes in population and demographics, congestion, waste and pressure on resources and services.  This underlines the need for our future cities to have high-quality, integrated infrastructure to meet these challenges,” commented Universities and Science Minister David Willetts.

“We have world-leading companies in areas such as project management, engineering, architecture, energy and transport systems, communications and the digital economy. The UK has a world-class science and research base that supports the development of innovative solutions and provides a talent pool for UK and global firms, so we are well-positioned to exploit the growing market,” added Iain Gray, chief executive of the Technology Strategy Board.

The competition is open for cities or equivalent local authorities responsible for an urban area with at least 125,000 residents.

To accompany the initiative, the Technology Strategy Board is also establishing the Future Cities Catapult. This innovation centre will help UK businesses to create products and services that meet the needs of the world’s cities as they adapt to future demands.

Companies and other organisations seeking information about Technology Strategy Board funding competitions can find more information here.

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