A bid for funding that could transform the way Newcastle’s economy works is through to the next round of a national competition.
The purpose of the Future Cities Demonstrator programme is to show how a city’s transport, communications and other infrastructure could be integrated to improve the local economy, increase quality of life and reduce impact on the environment, creating a super city of the future.
An investment programme will now be developed which could bid for national funding of £24 million from the Technology Strategy Board, the Government’s innovation agency, to turn their blueprint into reality and shape the future of cities for generations to come.
The programme is led by a coalition of business, academics and councils from across the region, led by Professor Nick Wright, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Research and Innovation at Newcastle University.
The programme brings together expertise from across the North East, covering areas such as IT infrastructure, transport management and smart networks.
The bid, put forward by Newcastle City Council on behalf of the partnership, has made it through to the next round of the competition and will now receive £50,000 to carry out a feasibility study.
Leader of Newcastle City Council, Coun Nick Forbes, said: “Connecting public transport, buildings, and lines of communication across Tyne and Wear would be a significant boost for the region’s economy.
“There is stiff competition for this initiative - but if Newcastle was successful it would bring massive economic benefits for the North East, speeding up journey times and attracting companies with much-needed jobs.
“We look forward to working with business, universities and other local authorities to produce a compelling study of what we can achieve together.”
Success in this project would provide a boost for the region’s economy for generations to come, and comes hard on the heels of the Newcastle City Deal which secured £92m for developing key regeneration sites and a range of other schemes creating up to 13,000 jobs over 25 years.
Newcastle University is already leading the way in research looking at the interdependence and vulnerabilities of our five key networks - energy, transport, telecommunications, water and waste.
The team - based in the University’s Newcastle Institute for Research on Sustainability (NIReS) - are part of a £6.1million programme funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council that addresses the fundamental issue of ensuring a sustainable infrastructure for the UK.
Newcastle and the Tyne and Wear city-region is one of 30 cities and urban areas around the country that will receive funding to carry out feasibility studies. The studies need to be submitted by the middle of November 2012 and the winning proposal will be announced in January 2013.
The Technology Strategy Board is the UK’s innovation agency. Its goal is to accelerate economic growth by stimulating and supporting business-led innovation.
Sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Technology Strategy Board brings together business, research and the public sector, supporting and accelerating the development of innovative products and services to meet market needs, tackle major societal challenges and help build the future economy.
For more information please visit www.innovateuk.org.
Through its Future Cities Demonstrator competition, the Technology Strategy Board will invest up to £25m in a large-scale demonstrator for future cities.
The project will demonstrate at scale, and in use, the additional value that can be created by integrating city systems. The project will enable businesses to test, in practice, new solutions for connecting and integrating city systems, and will allow UK 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.
In the first part of the competition, 30 grants of £50,000 have been awarded to cities and urban areas to carry out a feasibility study and develop their demonstrator project proposal.
In the second stage, cities will complete their feasibility study report and can also submit a proposal for the large-scale demonstrator. Up to £24m is available for the project and the successful applicant will be announced in January 2013.
Page last updated: 27 July, 2012