IBM opens Smarter Cities Challenge for entries
Competition is a 100-city, $50 million grant program designed to improve cities
IBM has opened the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant program to new applications for 2012.
The three-year, 100-city, $50 million grant Smart Cities Challenge program sees IBM's top technical experts and consultants provide actionable advice to urban centres.
"Last year, we were gratified to receive literally hundreds of Smarter Cities Challenge grant applications worldwide. In 2012, we expect the demand for Smarter Cities Challenge grants to significantly increase," said Stanley S Litow, IBM vice president of Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs, and President of IBM's International Foundation. "The success in year-one ought to increase demand this year and next. We look forward to reviewing the proposals of the many creative, forward thinking city leaders who are striving for excellence."
The program provides select applicant cities with access to teams of elite IBM employees with expertise on a variety of urban-related matters, such as finance, sustainability, public safety, and citizen services.
The experts then spend weeks analysing unique opportunities and challenges facing municipalities, particularly within the context of today's challenging economic climate. The IBM teams then discuss the issues with officials, citizens, businesses, academics and community leaders and recommend actions to make the delivery of services to citizens more efficient and innovative.
Issues addressed include jobs, health, public safety, transportation, social services, recreation, education, energy, and sustainability.
Selected applicants must demonstrate a commitment to using all publicly available urban data to help identify local problems and solutions and IBM will provide City Forward, a free online tool to all successful applicants.
The tool was developed with public policy experts and explores trends and statistics in a visual way, which can be adapted for the study of any number of issues across cities. Issues that IBM's consultants addressed this past year were diverse, ranging from transportation and public safety, to economic development and budgeting.
Grant applications must demonstrate strong city leadership, willingness to collaborate with many stakeholders, and the desire to make cities smarter and more efficient.
Cities will also need to champion actionable and measurable efforts that have the potential to make a real impact on the lives of its citizens.
The deadline for 2012 grant applications is December 16.