Future Cities Catpult finds home in London as it looks to promote smarter cities

London has been selected to host the Future Cities Catapult, an initiative aimed at making cities smarter and more forward thinking.

£150 million joint investment from the Technology Strategy Board and industry will go towards London hosting the Future Cities Catapult.

The Catapult will examine ways in which services across health, transport, energy and public safety can be integrated to boost the economy.

According to the government, the Catapult will play a ‘key part’ in its industrial strategy and provide detail on how UK cities can be ‘smarter’ in the future.

The Technology Strategy Board will be footing £50 million of the £150 million bill over the next five years, with private sector inputs picking up the balance.

Business secretary Vince Cable says that the Catapult initiative is one of the government decisions he is ‘most proud’ of.

He adds, ‘The Future Cities Catapult centre will be hosted in London, working in collaboration with the Future Cities demonstrator project in Glasgow.

‘This latest addition to the Catapults network will complement those established in the high value manufacturing, satellite applications, cell therapy, offshore renewable energy, transport systems and connected digital economy.’

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As part of the decision to locate the Future Cities Catapult in London, David King has been appointed as chair of the board.

King, who was knighted in 2003, was the government’s chief scientific adviser and head of the Government Office of Science from 2000 to 2007.

Cable adds, ‘In Sir David King we have also appointed an excellent chair, with real expertise in this area. His knowledge will drive forward the Catapult and ensure that the UK leads the way when it comes to making sure our cities are smarter and more forward thinking.’

The first Catapult, in high value manufacturing, opened for business in October 2011, a year after prime minister David Cameron announced the £200 million technology and innovation centre programme. All Catapults are expected to be fully operational in 2013 and it is hoped that the investments will further bridge the gap between universities and businesses, helping to commercialise the outputs of Britain’s research base.

Iain Gray, chief executive of the Technology Strategy Board, comments, ‘London is recognised as a truly international city. Its unique set-up including national and international transportation links, world-class universities, leading engineering, construction and digital businesses and highly-skilled staff makes it the perfect place for the Catapult.’

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter was the Editor for GrowthBusiness.co.uk from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.

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