Initiative provided practical advice to dozens of cities worldwide in 2011
Submitted by IBM
/PRNewswire/ - IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it has opened the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant program to new applications for 2012. Smarter Cities Challenge is a three-year, 100-city, US$50 million grant program in which IBM's top technical experts and consultants provide actionable advice to urban centers.
This highly successful grant 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. They devote weeks of their time analyzing unique opportunities and challenges facing municipalities, particularly within the context of today's challenging economic climate. After conferring with officials, citizens, businesses, academics and community leaders, the IBM teams 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.
As in 2011, selected applicants must demonstrate a commitment to using all publicly available urban data to help identify local problems and solutions. To that end, IBM will provide special assistance to each winning city on the use of City Forward (http://www.cityforward.org), a free online tool it developed with public policy experts that explores trends and statistics in a visual way, and which can be adapted for the study of any number of issues across cities. Looking at these issues in a more scientific, systematic fashion provides insight that can help shape public policy solutions to pressing municipal problems.
Issues that IBM's consultants addressed this past year were diverse, ranging from transportation and public safety, to economic development and budgeting. Following are just a few examples of the impact that recommendations funded by IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grants have already made in the past year:
Key factors for a successful grant application include strong city leadership, willingness to collaborate with many stakeholders, and the desire to make their 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. In addition, winning applicants will identify areas that are closely connected with a city's top priorities, and involve a range of disciplines and departments.
"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 need to capitalize on the use of new technologies and approaches to address long-standing civic challenges has never been greater. In 2008, according to the United Nations, more than half the world's population began living in cities for the first time in the world's history. These population centers are more economically powerful, politically influential, and technologically advanced than at any time in human history. But while they represent so much promise for realizing the dreams and aspirations of so many, cities also struggle with significant budgetary and operational challenges.
To find out more, or to apply for a Smarter Cities Challenge grant, each of which has an equivalent value of approximately US $400,000 in talent and technology, please visit http://smartercitieschallenge.org/. This website also provides case studies that describe IBM's recommendations to 2011 grant recipients. Videos documenting some of the 2011 Smarter Cities Challenge engagements can also be found here: http://www.youtube.com/user/citizenIBM.
The deadline for 2012 grant applications is December 16.
Please join IBM today on Twitter at 3:30 pm (Eastern Standard Time) for a chat with IBM's Stanley S. Litow, who will discuss what it takes to become a smarter city. To participate in the chat, log on to Twitter, follow @CitizenIBM, and Tweet using the hashtag #CityChat. Be sure to use the same hashtag in your Tweets, too, so others can follow the conversation and participate.
The Smarter Cities Challenge is sponsored by IBM's Corporate Citizenship program and IBM's International Foundation. IBM has been a leader in corporate social responsibility and citizenship for 100 years. To learn more about IBM's corporate citizenship initiatives, please visit: www.ibm.com/blogs/citizen-ibm.
Innovation – joining invention and insight to produce important, new value – is at the heart of what we are as a company. And, today, IBM is leading an evolution in corporate citizenship by contributing innovative solutions and strategies that will help transform and empower our global communities.
Our diverse and sustained programs support education, workforce development, arts and culture, and communities in need through targeted grants of technology and project funds. To learn more about our work in the context of IBM's broader corporate responsibility efforts, please visit Innovations in Corporate Responsibility.
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