Scottish cities alliance announces second round of funding for smart cities programme

December 12, 2018


A further £15 million in European funding has today been announced for the Scottish Cities Alliance’s Smart Cities programme, bringing the total invested in this transformational project to almost £60million.

By working collaboratively, Scotland’s seven cities aim to become more attractive, livable and resilient through data and digital technology – improving the cities for their citizens and making them more attractive to potential investors who are increasingly looking at sustainability as a key draw.

In 2015, the Alliance launched its Smart Cities Scotland identity with the announcement that it had been allocated up to £10million in European Regional Development Funding (ERDF), which was matched with £14.1million from the cities. That has helped to transform everything from street lighting to public safety to controlling energy use to make life smarter using open data. This new wave of funding will help the cities build on that work.

The ERDF is supporting the ‘Scotland’s 8th City – the Smart City Strategic Intervention’ programme which aims to make a step change in the use of smart technology for integrated city management across the seven cities, not just individually but collectively, so creating the 8th city.

Phase 2 involves Scotland’s cities working collaboratively on a range of projects including:

  • Mobile Working, including the development and deployment of mobile applications enabling out-of-office access and updating of data from business systems, reducing operating costs and enhancing service quality.
  • Smart Infrastructure projects using an ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) approach, connecting devices to generate and improve data to aid councils and partners to reduce energy usage, improve reporting and service delivery, and inform data-driven decision making.

Ivan McKee MSP, Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation, said: “Our announcement today of £15million for the Smart Cities programme is brilliant news for our cities. The funding will enable the local authorities to strengthen their collaboration and bring even more cutting-edge technologies, like Open Data and Intelligent Street Lighting, to residents across Scotland.

“This £15million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) for Smart Cities supports the Scottish Government’s aim to remain open, connected and make a positive contribution internationally. Thanks to this funding, the people of Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Perth and Stirling will continue to see their public services become smarter, greener and more integrated.”

The funding will also enable the scaling up of Smart Cities activity in areas such as lighting, waste, smart mobility, mobile working and IoT networks from phase 1.

Phase 1 ERDF funding supported cities in the development of a wide range of Smart City projects, including:

  • Open Data platforms in Aberdeen, Dundee, Inverness, Perth and Stirling, complementing those already developed by Edinburgh and Glasgow – there is real value in all seven cities having platforms in place to make data available for use in developing new products and services.
  • Sensor-enabled Smart Waste bins to help cities become more resource-efficient, improve waste collection strategies and deliver cleaner streets.
  • Intelligent Street Lighting to reduce electricity consumption and wastage of energy, and create connected networks – providing consumption data and opportunities for linked assets to support an Internet of Things (IoT) system.
  • Smart Mobility projects via investment in urban transport monitoring networks and exploring new opportunities for increased use of shared vehicles and low carbon travel options.
  • Smart Infrastructure – Water Management, pioneering a new digital surface water drainage system to create Europe’s first Smart Canal.

The Scottish Cities Alliance, which is the collaboration of Scotland’s seven cities and the Scottish Government, aims to use Smart City technology to transform cities via their infrastructure and also boost economic growth as the sustainability factor becomes increasingly important to attract long-term investment.

Chair of the Alliance, and Leader of Dundee City Council, Councillor John Alexander said:

“Taking seemingly ordinary things such as street lights, bins and public transport and transforming their possibilities through Smart technology means cleaner, safer streets and this Smart technology also boosts the sustainability of our cities. Sustainability is increasingly an important factor for investors when they are looking at locations and we are one of the only countries in the world to take all of our cities on the Smart journey together, sharing learning and best practice, which has meant we as a collective have been cited as a model of best practice on numerous occasions. This is a huge boost and will improve the quality of life for the people who live in Scotland’s cities.

“We are delighted to receive this second round of funding which will build on the great work already taking place across the seven cities of Scotland.”

Glasgow leads on the Smart Cities programme for the Alliance and Scotland’s cities have built on the learning and experience of the work of Glasgow’s award-winning Future City Glasgow programme, which created a world-leading Operations Centre catapulting the city to the forefront of Smart Cities technology.

Councillor Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “As an engine room of Scotland’s economy, Glasgow cannot afford to be anywhere but at the vanguard of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The Smart Cities agenda is pivotal in keeping Glasgow and its partner cities at the forefront of the digital revolution, allowing us to embrace the opportunities and face the challenges, to connect, collaborate and compete. It facilitates the transformative leap we all need to make, for our economies, inclusion, social justice, skills, employment and delivering modern, high-quality public services. This latest round of funding is a very welcome contribution, assisting Scotland’s cities in placing themselves firmly within that first wave of global urban centres looking to the future and bringing the future to now.”