Innovate UK begins £140k smart cities contest

The best innovations improving urban spaces will win £35,000 and the chance to work with TFL, Centro, Clear Channel Outdoor and Atkins

Innovate UK begins £140k smart cities contest

There’s a lot to love about city living, whether it’s the 24/7 culture or sense of endless possibility. But nothing is so great that it can’t be improved. That’s why it’s so exciting to hear about the latest competition from Innovate UK’s IC tomorrow, which is looking to help startups reinvent how people move through, engage with and connect to urban spaces.

The Innovation in Urban Spaces contest will celebrate startups exploring the themes of engaging space, active citizenship and urban travel. The winners of each category will net £35,000 in funding, receive the opportunity to collaborate with one of the competition’s commercial partners to help bring their innovation to market and gain additional support from supporting partners the Future Cities Catapult and Peterborough City Council.

Innovation in Urban Spaces will comprise four core categories. Enhanced travel data will look at using London’s public transport data to improve services for the network. Effective journey management will aim to maximise parking capacity, manage traffic flow, reduce congestion and emissions and speed up journey times. City-scale communication is intended to explore how out-of-home advertising can open the channels of communication between residents Finally, citizen input to city design will encourage citizens to share their data to better inform the planning, design and management of urban spaces. These categories are partnered with Transport for London, Centro, Clear Channel Outdoor and Atkins respectively.

Matt Sansam, lead technologist, digital economy and programme manager for IC tomorrow, said: “As the number of people choosing to live in cities around the world continues to rise, it is vital that we think about the future to make sure these urban spaces work to their full potential. Innovative digital technology has the power to provide solutions to ensure that our cities are effective and efficient for the users. This contest seeks out entrepreneurs and small businesses that can address some of the most pressing challenges our urban areas face.”

The deadline for applications is 12pm on November 24. Those shortlisted will be invited to a live pitch and Q+A with a panel of judges ahead of the winners being announced in January. If you’re interested in improving the workings of our cities, we suggest you head on over and take a look. 

Jess Mackinnon
Jess Mackinnon

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