Future Cities Catapult launches urban data challenge

OrganiCity initiative makes €1 million available to develop digital solutions for three European cities including London

The Future Cities Catapult (FCC) has announced a €1 million open call for anyone to solve city challenges using urban data.

It is taking part in the OrganiCity initiative, funded by the European Commission and directed at finding digital solutions to make cities better, with an initial focus on London, Aarhus, Denmark and Santander, Spain.

The call is open to individuals, small businesses, universities and corporations, who can apply for up to €60,000 per project. It could involve capturing new data through sensors, using data visualisations, analysing through new algorithms or merging datasets to uncover new information.

FCC said entrants have 11 weeks to develop proposals, which must explore the use urban data, ranging from temperatures, pollution and traffic levels, to footfall, green space or even Twitter data.

Testbed ambition

The programme is aimed at encouraging city leaders and local authorities to create digital testbeds, enabling people to experiment in real life urban settings.

Nicola YatesNicola Yates (pictured), chief executive officer at FCC, said: “I’m very pleased to be launching this impressive funding opportunity that will unlock the enormous potential of urban data in our cities, and develop solutions to issues ranging from citizen engagement to air quality.

“Whether you’re a citizen, small business, university or a corporation, if you think you can use data to solve the challenges that cities face then I encourage you to take part in our Open Call.”

OrganiCity is now in its third year, has supported 26 experiments and distributed a total of €800,000 on projects ranging from air quality, urban mobility, connecting communities and improving green spaces.

The deadline for applications is 31 August and the winners will be announced during the autumn.