Note: for questions on the Future Cities Catapult, click here; for questions on the Future Cities Catapult survey, click here.



What is the Future Cities demonstrator programme actually seeking to demonstrate?
The objective of the demonstrator programme is to demonstrate at scale, and in use, the additional value that can be created by integrating city systems. The projects in Glasgow, Bristol, London and Peterborough will enable businesses to test, in practice, new solutions for connecting and integrating individual city systems, and will allow cities to explore new approaches to delivering a good local economy and excellent quality of life, whilst reducing the environmental footprint and increasing resilience to environmental change.

The Future Cities Demonstrator is about what can be done today by innovative use of what is available 'off the shelf'. At the same time the Technology Strategy Board is setting up a Future Cities Catapult Centre which will be a world leading research laboratory to develop new technologies and new solutions for the future that UK companies can sell to the world's cities.

How was the demonstrator competition run?
We held a two-stage competition process. In the first stage cities were invited to bid for funding to carry out a feasibility study and develop their demonstrator project proposal. Over 50 cities submitted proposals for feasibility studies, and whilst initially only 20 were expected to be funded, the quality of the submissions was so impressive that 30 cities were awarded grants of £50k.

In the second stage, cities completed their feasibility study report and also submitted a proposal for the large-scale demonstrator, for which up to £24m is available for the project. Out of the 30 cities that were awarded grants, 29 completed their feasibility study reports and 26 submitted proposals for the large-scale demonstrator.

The feasibility studies were publicly funded at 100% of eligible costs, and as a requirement a publicly available report was produced on the results of the study. The feasibility reports have been published on the Technology Strategy Board's _Connect website in the Future Cities Special Interest Group and widely disseminated amongst the local authority, business and academic communities;


What sort of demonstrator projects were you particularly interested in?

We invited proposals that:

  • showed the integration of multiple systems in novel ways
  • tackled specific challenges in the host city
  • had the potential for a large impact on the economy, quality of life and environmental impact of the city
  • combined recent or current investment in city infrastructure with the demonstrator funding to create a more effective test environment
  • provided a platform that allows innovative companies, particularly SMEs, to test their ideas
  • offered the potential for innovations in how services are delivered
  • had the potential for further development and use beyond the initial two years of funding.

 We specifically excluded proposals that:

  • focus on improving the performance of individual city systems rather than on the integration of multiple systems
  • use the funding to bridge resource gaps in existing projects
  • are not led by a city government or equivalent

What were the timescales for the competition?
The competition opened on the 11th June, 2012 with a deadline for the first stage submissions of 5th July. Applicants were informed of the outcome of their application on the 20th July. The deadline for the second stage full application was 14th November and the shortlisted applicants were invited for a final interview panel on the 5th December. The final winner, Glasgow was publicly announced on the 25th January 2013. The three short-listed applicants, Bristol, London and Peterborough were confirmed as smaller scale demonstrators on the 10th April, 2013.

What do you mean by a 'city'?
For the purposes of the Future Cities Demonstrator Programme, we defined a city as a contiguous urban area with a population of at least 125,000. The urban area proposed can be a part of a larger urban area, as long as it has a population of more than 125,000 and is one continuous area.

Who could apply for funding?
For both feasibility studies and full applications for the large scale demonstrator, applications were restricted to local authorities with responsibility for all or part of the urban area being proposed. They are able to sub-contract to other parties.

What could a city use the £50k grant funding for?
The funding was to provide a city with additional resource to look carefully at the potential benefits of integrating city systems. We expected that the funding would be used to release internal resource for this project, or to fund outside experts to help with the study.  Some of the funding could have been used for knowledge gathering activities such as attending conferences or meetings, or purchase of relevant reports.

If you were only going to fund one demonstrator, why have 30 feasibility studies? Surely this is a waste of money?
We believed there were three reasons why there was a benefit to supporting a number of feasibility studies:

  • By providing additional resources to cities to explore what a demonstrator could deliver we would improve the quality of applications at the full stage
  • A feasibility study on the integration of city systems will be of direct value to a city, whether or not they went on to host the demonstrator. The feasibility study may have revealed ways in which they can improve their infrastructure, operations and services to their citizens
  • A series of feasibility studies carried out over a range of urban areas with different economies, infrastructures and challenges, will help the Technology Strategy Board develop its Future Cities programme, including the Future Cities Catapult

How were projects assessed?
Applications for the feasibility study were evaluated by up to five independent assessors employed by the Technology Strategy Board. They were looking at a number of features of the application, particularly:

  • the ambition, size and scope of the proposed demonstrator;
  • the potential value of tacking the various problems and opportunities;
  • the systems that will be integrated;
  • the innovation in the proposed approach;
  • the way the proposal leverages other investments in infrastructure.

Why did you choose to spend the £24m in just one city?
To be a successful demonstration of the potential of integrating different city systems, the project needed to cover a big enough range of city systems and a large enough population. We believed that fragmenting the available funds across several cities would result in projects that fail the primary goal of the programme; demonstrating the value of integration at scale and in practice.

Did the demonstrator have to consider city-wide solutions or could it be limited to a particular area within a city?
It could have been either city-wide or a particular area within a city or indeed address an urban area within a wider city region. We were trying to be as open as possible with the feasibility stage in particular to allow as many high quality entries as possible. However, we were looking for projects that cover a population of at least 125,000.

Is there a mechanism for industry and academia to engage with the selected cities?
The Future Cities SIG is an open and dynamic community and provides a platform for engagement. The Future Cities SIG team welcome other suggestions, either posted as comments or blogs on the _connect community space by emailing directly to futurecities@modernbuiltktn.co.uk.

 How will the demonstrator align with BSI's Smart City Standards development?
We are working with BSI through their Steering Group and will continue to keep an active engagement between both programmes.

Who will own the IP generated through the demonstrator project?
As the demonstrator will predominantly involve the deployment of current technology in new combinations, we do not expect the creation of significant IP. The demonstrator will be funded at 100% of eligible costs. It is a requirement of this level of funding that the results of both the feasibility studies and the large and small-scale demonstrators be widely disseminated. Applicants must be willing to share what was done, and the outcomes of the demonstrator project, as part of the agreement for receiving the funding.

 How much certainty does the Technology Strategy Board require that the city system investments will go ahead within the proposed timeframe?
It was a criteria of the funding that the investment takes place before the end of 2013/14 financial year. That is one of the reasons why we were looking for high-level leadership from within city councils on the proposals. A senior representative of the city was asked to explain the bids at the panel interview stage.


What are Future Cities?
A Future City is one that can provide a thriving economy and good quality of life with a reduced environmental footprint. A Future City is able to maximise the many economic benefits of a city, often related to density and proximity, whilst managing the downsides, such as congestion or waste.

What are Catapults?
The Future Cities Catapult forms part of the Technology Strategy Board's £200m-plus programme to establish and oversee a network of technology and innovation centres. These Catapults will be drivers of sustained economic growth, attracting substantial investment to establish world-leading capability and global impact in pre-commercial development.

What is the Future Cities Catapult, who is behind it and what will it focus on?
The Technology Strategy Board is establishing a Future Cities Catapult - which is a world-leading technology and innovation centre.

The Future Cities Catapult will help UK businesses to create products and services that meet the needs of the world's cities as they adapt to future demands. As cities compete to deliver a thriving economy and good quality of life with a smaller environmental footprint, there is a rapidly growing market for innovative solutions that integrate and optimise the major systems of a city. This includes a city's health, energy, water, waste, communications, buildings and transport. The Catapult centre will focus on integration across these systems.

What challenge areas will the Catapult focus on?
As set out in the Future Cities Catapult vision and scope, published in June 2012, the Catapult will address the following challenges:

  • connecting city systems to enable integration and interoperability;
  • increasing city density and population without congestion;
  • transitioning to resource efficient, low carbon cities;
  • and resilient energy systems.

What is the vision for the Future Cities Catapult?
We want the UK to be the first place in the world where companies develop and deploy their next generation of integrated solutions for cities - as a strong base for UK firms to secure global market share over the long-term.

The Future Cities Catapult will create a technical capability to achieve new levels of systems integration. It will focus business, city governments and academia in a unique collaboration to enable businesses to develop products and services for this emerging market. It will act as an accelerator for UK firms as they innovate to meet the needs of the world's cities. It will provide both a neutral space, and the intensity of collaboration, that both cities and firms say is currently missing.

The Future Cities Catapult will help UK businesses to develop high-value, integrated urban solutions and then sell those solutions to the World.

What capabilities will the Future Cities Catapult have?
Supporting business to develop products and services to meet the challenges facing cities will require the Future Cities Catapult to develop a strong inter-disciplinary set of capabilities including:

  • Real-time analysis and control for city systems
  • A 'cities observatory' that monitors multiple field trials across different cities
  • Advanced modelling, data capture, data analysis and visualisation
  • Instrumentation and communications for smart city infrastructure
  • Designing, implementing and managing field trials and demonstration projects
  • Integrated urban design and planning for future cities
  • Understanding of consumer choice and behaviour within cities
  • Innovative finance and insurance strategies for cities

What are the critical steps between now and when the Catapult opens its doors?
We have approval to set up the Catapult from our Governing Board. We have funding of over £40m agreed over 5 years, with £8m to be invested in the first year to set up and begin to build capability.

We are currently recruiting the chair and CEO and we expect this announcement to take place by the end of February. We are looking to place 24 people into the Catapult in the first year, growing to 115 over five years.

Are you seeking consortia to establish or run the Future Cities Catapult?
No, this will be led by the Technology Strategy Board. We are encouraging input from individuals, businesses, cities, academics and consortia to help shape the focus for the Centre, but we are not seeking consortia to lead or to run the Catapult.

Where will the Future Cities Catapult be located?
The location for the Future Cities Catapult must support its high level objectives. Potential cities have been independently evaluated against a set of objective, and widely socialised, criteria. This analysis is currently being considered by the TSB Executive and Governing Board. We expect an announcement towards the end of February.

How does the Catapult fit with the Future Cities demonstrator?
The Future Cities Catapult and Demonstrator are separate but related activities.

The demonstrator project will focus on what can be delivered today using existing infrastructure, tools and techniques in novel ways. The Catapult will carry out research and development to create new products and services that will meet the needs of cities in the future.

The demonstrator and Catapult will not necessarily be in the same city.
The demonstrator funding runs until the end of financial year 2013-14. The demonstrator project could clearly generate data and insights far beyond the initial funding, so the Catapult will be involved in the ongoing monitoring of the demonstrator project and the analysis and interpretation of the results.

How can I get involved and find out more?
We have set up a Future Cities Special Interest Group. Please do sign up to contribute and stay abreast of developments.

We are inviting all interested individuals and groups to take part in a short online survey to gather your views on the published vision and scope for the Catapult. You can register to take part here [link]. These views will form an important part of the development of the Catapult plans, so we would encourage you to participate. The closing date for survey is the 9 July 2012.

What will the legal entity of the Catapult be?
The Future Cities Catapult will be established as a Company Limited by Guarantee. It will have its own executive management team and a non-executive board.

When will the Catapult be launched?
The current plan is for the Future Cities Catapult to be operational during the first half of  2013.

How many staff will the Catapult have?
The number of staff in each Catapult varies with the challenges it is addressing and the needs of the business community. We believe that the Future Cities Catapult will build up over time to a staff of over 100; including secondees.

How with the Catapult be funded?
All the Catapults will have a similar funding model. When fully developed they are expected to have an income one-third core funding from the Technology Strategy Board, one-third from competitively won publicly funded R&D grants and contracts, and one-third from direct business investment in privately funded projects.

The anticipated level of core funding from the Technology Strategy Board once the Catapult has developed is £10m per year.

How will Intellectual property be handled?
Each Catapult will agree an IP policy with the Technology Strategy Board as part of its grant funding arrangement.

The general principles will be:

  • Work done exclusively under core funding - the Catapult will own and manage the IP
  • Joint public-private sector funded projects - as current collaborative R&D arrangements. All partners will agree appropriate arrangements to share rights and to exploit
  • R&D contracted directly with business - determined by contract, but typically IP owned by business.

Will the Catapult have a membership structure?
The Future Cities Catapult will be a national centre with access open to all interested groups. We do not plan to have a membership structure with payment of membership fees and specific rights accruing to members.


On 12 July I received an email with subject line "Future Cities Catapult survey: registration successful", but haven't registered/do not recall registering. What does it mean?
Due to a technical error a confirmation email was sent out to some wrong email addresses. We are investigating what caused it and would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused.

How do I submit my ideas for the Catapult so that I am considered for involvement and participation at a later date?
Submit your email address here, and you will be sent the link to the online registration form which enable us to send you the questionnaire and to enable you to feed into the process.

When is the closing date?
Please complete the online questionnaire before midnight on 9th of July.  Please respond as early as you can to help inform our July board submission.  All responses received before 9th of July will inform our outline business plan.

Do we submit as individuals, individual organisations or can consortia also participate?
You can submit as you prefer. Note that the Technology Strategy Board is NOT not seeking consortia to lead or to run the Catapult.  

Are non-EU and international companies invited to participate?
If you have a substantial R&D commitment in the UK or can see the clear benefit to multi-modal R&D brought by a Future Cities Catapult, then your involvement now will increase the influence you have over its formation. 

What happens after I completed the survey?
All submissions will be reviewed and used with other information that we are gathering concurrently, to create an overall vision and scoping document which will go on to form the outline business case for the Catapult.  A timetable of future events and project milestones will also be posted on these pages, which will include webinars, workshops and other activities.

When will I find out if I am going to be invited to be part of the Catapult?
Your participation in the Catapult can begin right now with your input to the survey which signifies your registration of interest. If you have a specific project which can be carried out in or through the Catapult, please describe it and we can begin to consider it as a potential part of the wider Catapult programme. If you have specific resources you are considering offering to the Catapult, we can factor those into the outline business plan too. In each of these cases, we will want to discuss with you what needs to be done to turn your considerations into intentions and commitment.

How can I see the questions that are asked in the survey before I complete the online survey?
We have created a non-interactive PDF version of the survey which may help you to prepare your responses offline.  It alllows you to see the questions, and circulate them to your colleagues for feedback and contribution.  Note that the  offline pdf version has been created merely to help you.  Your response is only accepted through the online survey, by midniht on 9th July 2012. The PDF can be downloaded via this link.

How can I alert my contacts to the survey?
If you would like to alert anyone to the survey, we advise you to send them the link to the subscription page: http://bit.ly/FCReg.

Can a survey be saved halfway and finished later?
Yes, you can even begin the survey from one computer or device, leave the survey early, and then re-access the link to finish on a the same or a different computer or device.

Can the survey be answered on smartphones or tablets? 
The survey works with devices that have modern, standards-compliant browsers. It works on iPads, iPhones, and iPod touches.  Other media or hand-held devices such as Blackberry, Treo, Palm, etc. may work, but is not guaranteed.

I have submitted my email address, but I haven't received the link to the survey. When will I get it?
You will receive the survey via a link in an email within two working days of submitting your email address.  Please remember to check your spam folder, in case it has ended up there.  If you have not received the link within two working days from submitting your email address via the link above, please email us.

Can I please have a list of all the links that I need for this submission?