Digital infrastructureSmart CitiesSmart Belfast launches parks and open spaces competition

Smart Belfast launches parks and open spaces competition

Council committed to working creatively with digital SMEs and universities to encourage innovation in areas such as big data that addresses real-world challenges

A new competition has been launched by Smart Belfast to find how innovative digital tech and data-driven solutions can help the city better manage its urban parks and open spaces.

The £120,000 competition will see contracts of up to £20,000 awarded for a period of four months to successful applicants.

Details of the ‘Amazing Spaces, Smart Places’ Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) challenge were unveiled at the ‘Big Data Belfast’ conference, which explored trends and opportunities emerging in Smart Cities, IoT, Fintech and business analytics among other areas. SBRIs provide digital and tech-based businesses with the chance to develop new business opportunities.

Belfast City Council and the Department of Justice have been granted £100,000 from the SBRI Challenge Fund for this competition. The Council is adding a further £10,000 and Dublin City Council is potentially contributing £10,000, bringing the total funding pot to £120,000 for this challenge. While the competition will focus mainly on Belfast, there may also be opportunities for businesses to develop proofs of concepts in the Dublin context. Successful companies can win contracts of up to £20,000 for a period of four months.

Councillor Kate Nicholl, Chair of the council’s People and Communities Committee, said: “We were delighted to be part of Big Data Belfast and launching our ‘Amazing Spaces, Smart Places’ competition.

“Under our Smart Belfast programme, we are committed to working creatively with digital SMEs and our universities to encourage innovation in areas such as big data that addresses real-world challenges in Belfast. We think such collaboration and co-investment is crucial to the future success of our city.

“The competition recognises the importance of our parks and open spaces and how new technologies and data science may well offer new approaches and thinking to open space management.”

Katie Taylor, Head of Community Safety Division, Department of Justice, said: “The ‘Amazing Spaces, Smart Places’ scheme will explore how data and technology can help councils keep parks and open spaces safe and accessible to all. The Department encourages all those with expertise in this area to make bids to improve our public open spaces environment as we work together to keep communities safe and reduce crime.”

The timetable for the competition is as follows:

  • Application deadline: 14 November 2018 (12 noon)
  • All selected projects must be completed by: 31 March 2019

Key details including application form and background information are available on the Smart Belfast website at https://smartbelfast.city or by emailing smartbelfast@belfastcity.gov.uk.

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