The Technology Strategy Board [TSB] has allocated £25m to invest in a Future Cities Demonstrator awarded to the UK location that submits the best proposal showing how the city’s multiple systems will be integrated and how challenges in the city will be addressed. The local authority has successfully submitted a bid for £50k of feasibility funding.
The competition is running in two stages.
Initially the programme invites local governments and local authorities to bid for one of thirty £50,000 grants to carry out a feasibility study and to develop their demonstrator project proposal. The cities that have completed the feasibility study will then be invited to submit a proposal for the large scale demonstrator – and one successful city will be awarded £24m funding to implement their proposal.
The succesful project will demonstrate, at scale and in use, the additional value that can be created by integrating a city’s systems. The project will enable businesses to test - in practice - new solutions for connecting and integrating individual city systems, and will allow cities to explore new approaches to delivering a good local economy and excellent quality of life, whilst reducing the environmental footprint and increasing resilience to environmental change.
Proposals will need to demonstrate:
- the integration of multiple systems in novel ways
- how specific challenges in the city will be tackled
- the potential for a large impact on the economy, quality of life and environment of the city
- how recent or current investment in city infrastructure will combine with the demonstrator funding to create a more effective test environment
- a platform that allows innovative companies, particularly SMEs, to test their ideas
- the potential for further development and use beyond the initial two years of funding.
As has become the norm with the coalition government the timescale for applying is very tight given the amount of work that will have to go into a successful bid:
- 14 September: deadline for proposals for feasability funding
- 21 September: decision of proposals to be funded
- 28 September: first outline draft of study and bid
- [17 October: report to City Council Env & Sustainability Committee]
- 19 October: draft proposals finalised
- 12 November: final draft of study and bid
- 14 November: submission to Technology Strategy Board
ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP COMMENT
With 30 locations applying for a single grant of £24m it is tempting to say that Brighton's chances are 30:1. However, some of the competitors are clearly bit players [Camden] and others are mega players [Newcastle, Manchester] so the odds are difficult to calculate.
A successful application will have to 'demonstrate' its tranferability to other places and consequently it would be unwise to concentrate on integrating systems that are unique to Brighton. The guidance also makes it clear that a significant reduction in carbon footprint is expected.
With an administration that is committed to One Planet Living principles and a burgeoning digital sector in the local economy and a commitment from many quarters to open data Brighton is in with a shout.
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