Integrating city systems: apply for business funding

Innovate UK is seeking projects that explore how planned new or retrofit infrastructure projects could be integrated into other urban systems in a beneficial way.

Developers traditionally do not look beyond their own systems when developing an infrastructure project. Integration with other systems is, however, becoming increasingly important in meeting the needs of citizens and is a significant commercial opportunity.

More than £6.5 trillion will be invested globally in city infrastructure over the next 10 to 15 years, and the market for integrated city systems is estimated to be £200 billion a year by 2030.

This competition seeks to take advantage of existing infrastructure projects to test new ideas on integration across city systems.

Applications must be associated with a real project and could involve the owner of one piece of planned infrastructure, such as an energy network, transport system or building, working with the owner of another piece of an urban system that is going to be positively impacted by the new development.

Urban systems could include physical infrastructure such as a transport system or buildings; environmental systems; or social systems such as communications, health, education and recreation.

Examples of integration could include a transport cooling project that uses excess heat to reduce energy needs in nearby buildings or an inner city factory project that produces water clean enough to go directly into a city’s water systems.

A follow-on competition in 2017 is expected to support up to five projects that further develop the results of these studies.

Competition information

  • this competition opens on 12 October 2015, and the deadline for registration is noon on 25 November 2015
  • projects must be led by a business working with at least one partner
  • we expect projects to range in size from £50,000 to £75,000 and to last between 9 and 12 months
  • small businesses could receive up to 70% of their costs, medium-sized businesses 60%, large businesses 50%
  • a briefing day for potential applicants will be held in London on 13 October 2015
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