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Innovate UK and researchers offer councils £2m for urban living competition

Innovate UK and Research Councils UK have launched a £2m competition for local authorities aimed at tackling “a spectrum of challenges posed by city living”.

The competition is seeking applications from councils in consortia with businesses, researchers, community groups, service providers and charities to address the “complex and connected challenges” of city life.

This spans topics connected to community health, crime, social inclusion and employment.

Winners of the ‘Urban Living Partnership’ funding will then form part of up to five ‘future cities’ pilot projects tasked with devising local solutions for places to thrive in response to environmental, economic and social change.

Universities and science minister, Jo Johnson, said: “This unique partnership will harness the UK’s world-leading strength in research and I encourage all aspirational cities to make their case.

“To succeed in the future, cities will have to deliver economic activity, high quality infrastructure and quality of life with a lower environmental footprint, and also meet the increasingly diverse needs and aspirations of changing urban populations.”

The cash pot is worth up to £400,000 for every project – each led by a consortium – and has been financed by Innovate UK, formerly known as the Technology Strategy Board, the government’s executive technology agency sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills.

Part of the money is also being provided by Research Councils UK, a strategic partnership of the UK’s seven research councils that is teaming up with Innovate UK for the first time. They aim to extend the UK programme internationally, as applicants will be encouraged to link with wider research and expertise worldwide.

Project co-chair, Dr Mike Pitts, said: “This partnership will combine the strength with dynamic authorities, innovative businesses and major service providers to create the sustainable, successful and desirable city living that we all want for ourselves and future generations.”

The bodies will conduct a ‘diagnostic phase’ in April 2016, running up to 18 months.

The deadline for expressions of interest is 26 November, while the deadline for submitting an application is 21 January of next year.


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