Press release

£24 million investment will make Glasgow a city of the future

Glasgow chosen to receive £24 million of government investment to demonstrate how a city of the future will work.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Glasgow has been given a boost today after it was chosen to receive £24 million of government investment to demonstrate how a city of the future will work. Glasgow beat off competition from 30 other UK cities to host the Technology Strategy Board’s ‘Future Cities Demonstrator’.

The city will demonstrate how providing new integrated services across health, transport, energy and public safety can improve the local economy and increase the quality of life of Glasgow’s citizens, and will allow UK businesses to test new solutions that can be exported around the globe.

Announcing the investment during a visit to Glasgow, Minister for Universities and Science 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 Glasgow Future Cities Demonstrator aims to address some of the city’s most pressing energy and health needs. For example, developing systems to help tackle fuel poverty and to look at long-standing health issues such as low life expectancy.

The demonstrator will also show how innovative use of technology can improve the Council’s 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, commented:

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.

The large-scale demonstrator will be made up of a series of projects that will improve transport and mobility across the city. It will develop programmes to promote healthy living, deliver advanced street lighting to address community safety and perception of crime, and enhance building energy efficiency to provide affordable warmth. Value will be created by capturing and opening up data, improving the city’s real-time operations with a city dashboard and a management system that views the city as an integrated whole, and a ‘MyGlasgow’ public window on the city to deliver multiple benefits for the people of Glasgow.

During a visit to Glasgow, the Minister went on to the University of Strathclyde, which will play an important partnership role in the project. 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, energy use – to map the relationships between them and to understand how a 21st century city operates.

Glasgow won the funding through an open competition run by the Technology Strategy Board that saw 30 UK cities develop innovative schemes to dramatically improve their performance. From a shortlist that also included Bristol, London and Peterborough, Glasgow produced the most powerful proposal. The assessors felt that this was a strong, local authority led project proposal in partnership with their business and academic communities. Glasgow has a number of initiatives upon which they are building giving them strong momentum, in particular the Commonwealth games in 2014 being a key opportunity for them and the UK to demonstrate their skills to the world.

The results from this large-scale, city-wide demonstrator will be made available to interested businesses, cities and academics, providing valuable learning for innovative UK businesses to develop integrated urban solutions that can be sold to cities across the world.

Notes to editors

  1. 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
  2. For background information about the Future Cities Demonstrator competition for large-scale demonstrator project funding please visit: Future Cities Demonstrator comp.
  3. In the first stage of the competition, cities (and other urban areas, with a population in excess of 125,000) were invited to bid for funding to carry out a feasibility study and develop their demonstrator project proposal. Over 50 cities / urban areas submitted proposals for feasibility studies. Initially only 20 were expected to be funded, but the quality of the submissions was so impressive that 30 cities were awarded grants of £50,000.
  4. The 30 cities were: Belfast, Birmingham, Brighton & Hove, Bristol, Cambridge, Camden, Cardiff, Coventry, Derby, Dundee, Enfield, Glasgow, Ipswich, Leeds and Bradford (two cities as one submission), Leicester, London, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Nottingham, Peterborough, Plymouth, Salford, Sheffield, Southampton, Southend-On-Sea, Stoke-On-Trent, Sunderland, Swindon and Warrington.
  5. Out of the 30 cities that were awarded grants, 29 completed their feasibility study reports and 26 submitted proposals for the large-scale demonstrator. These 26 applications were independently assessed and a shortlist of four project proposals were invited to interview: Bristol, Glasgow, London and Peterborough. The interview assessment panel chose Glasgow as the winner.
  6. The Future Cities Demonstrator is about what we can do by innovative use of today’s technology. The Technology Strategy Board will be setting up a Future Cities Catapult centre to help accelerate the development of new technologies and new solutions for the future that UK companies can sell to the world’s cities. The Technology Strategy Board will arrange for ongoing monitoring and collection and analysis of data, after the initial two years of the Demonstrator project, through the Future Cities Catapult. The location for the Future Cities Catapult will be announced in February.
  7. Media enquiries about the Technology Strategy Board should be addressed to: Nick Sheppard, Media Relations, Technology Strategy Board, 07824 599644, or the media relations team, 07766 901150,
  8. Companies and other organisations seeking information about Technology Strategy Board funding competitions should visit the Competitions page of the Technology Strategy Board website – Competitions page, email or phone the Competitions Helpline at 0300 321 4357.
  9. To see all press releases from the Technology Strategy Board please visit: Press Releases.
  10. To subscribe to the Technology Strategy Board’s RSS newsfeed please visit: RSS newsfeed.
  11. The government’s economic policy objective is to achieve ‘strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries’. It set four ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’ (PDF 1.7MB), published at Budget 2011: * To create the most competitive tax system in the G20 * To make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business * To encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy * To create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe.
  12. Work is underway across government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the government wants the economy to travel.
Published 25 January 2013