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UK Innovation Centre offers SMEs £100K to improve UK planning systems

Future Cities Catapult, the Government supported UK centre of excellence in urban innovation, has today (20 December) announced £100,000 of funding for UK SMEs to demonstrate how user focused design, data and digital innovation can improve the UK planning system.

The open call for funding follows a recent report published by Future Cities Catapult, which found that innovation in the planning system is sparse, with few local areas adopting digital and data-driven techniques across the planning process.

The winning SMEs will receive between £10-20K each to develop and demonstrate concepts and prototypes that address the challenges identified by the report:

  • Data informed planning: to bring together, open up, and visualise existing planning data in one place
  • Flexible planning: ensuring that planning is adaptable and holistic, taking into account economics, political and technological changes to better forecast impact and spot trends.
  • Improved user experience of planning applications: to increase transparency and understanding for applicants who are engaging with the system.
  • Increasing citizen influence: so that citizens are engaged from the start of the project, in setting the vision and objectives rather than at the ‘objections’ stage.

Launched in October, the Future of Planning project aims to build a picture of a faster, more transparent and equitable planning system that delivers the kinds of homes, communities and cities people want. As part of this programme, Future Cities Catapult have convened architects, planners, citizen engagement specialists, academics and developers to form a Sounding Board which is shaping their research, as well as delivering two Innovators Sessions with start ups, SMEs and planning researchers to generate ideas for change.

Future Cities Catapult Head of Projects, Stefan Webb, said:

“We’re very excited to be launching the Future of Planning Open Call to support UK SMEs  to build a planning system that works even harder for planners, communities and developers.

“Here at Future Cities Catapult we actively engage high-growth businesses to drive innovation for urban development. If you have ideas on planning systems, how to increase certainty for developers, and how to enable communities to understand and engage with planning, then I encourage you to take part in our Open Call”

The deadline for applications is midnight on 26 January 2017. To find out more visit https://futurecities.catapult.org.uk/opportunity/prototyping-future-planning/.


For further information contact Naomi Moore on nmoore@futurecities.catapult.org.uk / 07718 584331


About Future Cities Catapult                     

Future Cities Catapult exists to advance innovation, to grow UK companies, to make cities better. We bring together businesses, universities and city leaders so that they can work with each other to solve the problems that cities face, now and in the future. This means that we catalyse and apply innovations to grow UK business and promote UK exports.

From our Urban Innovation Centre in London, we provide world-class facilities and expertise to support the development of new products and services, as well as opportunities to collaborate with others, test ideas and develop business models.

We help innovators turn ingenious ideas into working prototypes that can be tested in real urban settings. Then, once they’re proven, we help spread them to cities across the world to improve quality of life, strengthen economies and protect the environment.

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About Catapult centres

The Catapult centres are a network of world-leading centres designed to transform the UK’s capability for innovation in specific areas and help drive future economic growth. The Catapults network has been established by Innovate UK. For more information visit catapult.org.uk

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