Solving Urban Challenges with Data

Are you an innovator working with environmental, economic or social data? 

Are you interested in collaborating with others to address urban challenges and develop commercial solutions for future cities?

Innovate UK, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), in collaboration with the Knowledge Transfer Network are to invest up to £7.5m in collaborative R&D projects and feasibility studies to develop new solutions to urban challenges through their competition 'Solving Urban Challenges with Data’.

To support the competition launch, a series of briefing workshops are being hosted across the UK to discuss the forthcoming competition, explore the data sets available and build partnerships among interested applicants.


To be successful in the future, cities need to deliver a thriving economy, great quality of life and reduced environmental footprint, whilst managing growing economic, social and environmental stresses.  are using increasingly complex systems of instrumentation, sensors and computing resources to produce a broad and growing array of data sets about the environmental, social and economic performance of the urban environment. Use of such data can enable businesses, social enterprises and other organisations to better understand and respond to the interrelated challenges facing our cities. When combined with more traditional kinds of data, we become able to add significant value to our knowledge of everyday urban lives and to create new kinds of products and services, which meet the needs of urban citizens, governance and other businesses.

The Opportunity

Innovate UK, ESRC and NERC are to invest up to £7.5m in Collaborative R&D projects (with a proportion available for relevant feasibility studies) to develop new solutions to urban challenges through this exciting new competition. 

Projects should seek to create solutions and services that offer specific commercial benefits and/or limit risks and increase the resilience, quality of life or economic performance of urban areas by integrating environmental, social and/or economic data with data from other sources. The focus is on better defining and solving problems through finding innovative ways to combine data sources.

The Workshops

The briefing workshop will include;

An opportunity to hear about the scope of the competition in more detail

An overview of some of the datasets available

Inspiring case studies from previous data competitions

A chance to network and develop partnerships and consortia for the competition 

There will also be an opportunity, on a first come first served basis, to meet with Innovate UK and the Research Councils for 1 to 1 discussions about the competition. Why not come along and see if any of your business challenges can be solved with the use of data?

Who should attend?

This event will benefit businesses, community groups, academics, researchers and local authorities in the following sectors; Energy, Transport, Built Environment, Health, Water and Financial Services. 



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