The University of Strathclyde is at the centre of a £24 million initiative which will help transform Glasgow and have a major impact on the future of cities across the UK.
Universities and Science Minister David Willetts today announced that the city will host the Technology Strategy Board’s ‘Future Cities Demonstrator’.
The funding for hosting the Future Cities Demonstrator was awarded to Glasgow after an open competition which attracted bids from 30 other UK cities.
The University of Strathclyde, currently holders of the Times Higher Education University of the year title, played an integral role in the bid process and the project will see a City Observatory being established in our Technology and Innovation Centre.
Welcoming the announcement, Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal of the University of Strathclyde, said: “We are delighted to welcome this major investment in Glasgow. The University of Strathclyde’s Technology and Innovation Centre will host the revolutionary City Observatory. This will allow academic and business and industry researchers to analyse more than 200 information feeds about Glasgow – its health, economy, transport and energy use – to map the relationships between them and to understand how a 21st century city operates.
“Evaluating these relationships is a fast-growing research area and one in which Strathclyde is playing a pivotal role. The understanding that the City Observatory gives us will form the basis of the development of new ways of developing our cities to tackle the grand challenges of the 21st century. Through our world-class research and innovation base, coupled with the great ambitions the city is showing, we can make a disproportionately positive impact on citizens’ lives and opportunities, our economic growth and our international reputation.”
The results from the large-scale, city-wide demonstrator will be made available to businesses, cities and academics, providing valuable learning for innovative UK businesses to develop integrated urban solutions that can be exported to cities across the world.
Examples of the demonstrator’s applications include:
- potential to give real-time information on waiting lists in hospitals
- real-time view of traffic levels on roads, as well as the running times of buses and trains
- monitoring of energy levels, including the new Combined Heat and Power systems, which will allow energy to be stored when demand is low and used during times when it is higher. This has the potential to cut fuel bills and help deal with fuel poverty
- faster identification of traffic incidents by better integration of CCTV and traffic management
- improved crime prevention and detection of crime, as well as helping to reduce anti-social behaviour incidents through the improved use of camera technology and the integration of data.
Announcing the investment during a visit to Glasgow, Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said: “With more people than ever before living in our cities, they need to be able to provide people with a better quality of life and a thriving economy. This £24 million investment will make Glasgow a city of tomorrow, demonstrating how cities can work more efficiently with a reduced environmental impact.
“We are in a global race and Glasgow can keep the UK at the forefront of innovative technology ideas. From transport systems to energy use and health, this demonstrator will play a key part in the Government’s industrial strategy and give real insight into how our cities can be shaped in the future.”
The Demonstrator will show how innovative use of technology can improve service provision, while additional potential benefits include improved crime prevention, a reduction in anti-social behaviour and improvements in travel infrastructure.
Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “This is a huge boost to Glasgow’s ambitions to build a better future for our city and its people. This investment and the work we will be doing will put us at the forefront of innovative and smart cities not just in the UK but in Europe and beyond.
“Glasgow is a city which is constantly evolving and regenerating and we are always looking to the future. Winning this money will put us years ahead of other UK cities in terms of integrating our technological systems to make them work for and talk to each other.
“This will help us to create a more efficient and a more sustainable city which can adapt and move ahead of the technology of the day and make it work for everyone who lives or works in Glasgow.”
Iain Gray, Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board, said: “The global market for innovative approaches to delivering efficient, attractive and resilient cities is growing, and UK companies – supported by our world-class academic and research base – are well-positioned to exploit it.
“This large-scale demonstrator will show just what can be achieved by innovative use of today’s technology, and will help UK companies develop solutions and technologies for the future, for the benefit of the UK economy.”
25 January 2013