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Smart City projects strengthen connections among European initiatives

SCIS Editor
19 Mar 2020

Strong partnerships and effective collaboration are two key elements for the success of the European Smart City Lighthouse programme. With 17 European Lighthouse projects – many of which are multi-million euro projects – comprising more than a hundred cities, as well as a wide range of industrial and research institute partners, European Smart City expertise is growing by the day.

At the same time, numerous European initiatives, including the Marketplace of the European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities (EIP-SCC), work to ensure that this expertise is being put to good use, by securing paths either to investment or to knowledge-sharing.

To help connect Smart City Lighthouse Projects with various supporting initiatives, the group – chaired by the City of Rotterdam for the first six months of 2020 – has made “Getting better Connected” a central theme of 2020.

Albert Engels, Senior Process Manager in the City of Rotterdam and Coordinator for the RUGGEDISED Project, explains:

“The Lighthouse City projects have invaluable experience with implementing many sustainable solutions in cities with the ambition to scale-up smart solutions at home, while inspiring other cities to follow. One way to succeed in this is by working closely with initiatives such as the Marketplace to ensure knowledge and necessary investments are available,” he says.

Other initiatives taken on by the Lighthouse projects under the theme “Getting better Connected” mentioned by Albert Engels include:

  • Cooperating actively with existing network platforms, such as the Global Resilient Cities Network (previously known as 100 Resilience Cities) and OASC.
  • Advising the European Commission on the design of Horizon Europe based on the experience gained in Horizon 2020.

All benefit from enhanced cooperation

The “getting better connected” approach from the Lighthouse projects could benefit all cities looking to become smarter, and the investors helping them make it happen. Several Lighthouse Cities participated in the EIP-SCC Matchmaking on 20 February and projects will also be joining for the next EIP-SCC event.

On 3-4 June 2020, the Urbis Smart City Fair in Brno (Czechia) will be the scene not only of the EIP-SCC General Assembly, Action Cluster meetings and a Smart Cities Matchmaking event, but also of a joint meeting of all Lighthouse projects. In this way, all major players in the European Smart Cities and Communities field will be present to share their experiences.

Muriël Pels, Advisor from the City of Utrecht involved in the IRIS Project, and task group leader for the Lighthouse projects in their joint efforts to increase replication of smart solutions, sees many benefits in increasing cooperation:

“We welcome the EIP-SCC’s focus on shaping the right preconditions for replication by linking the Action Clusters addressing barriers with the Lighthouse projects’ work to replicate. A stronger link between the financial aspects of the Marketplace with the practical demonstrations done in the projects creates a powerful offer for any city looking to become smarter,” she says.

Recently, a new tender to support the Lighthouse group with secretarial support and coordination was also shared by the European Commission. The group of Lighthouse projects has been closely involved in this process.