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Open Innovation challenges launches in Manchester to help transform city with smart technologies

Open Innovation challenges launches in Manchester to help transform city with smart technologies
CityVerve Open Innovation challenges led by Cisco and Manchester Science Partnerships to work with SMEs to help combat issues in healthcare, transport and energy
Open Innovation challenges launches in Manchester to help transform city with smart technologies READ FULL ARTICLE
Open Innovation challenges launches in Manchester to help transform city with smart technologies

Open Innovation challenges launches in Manchester to help transform city with smart technologies

January 22, 2018
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  • Digital Business, Country Digital Acceleration, Internet of Things, Innovation, Smart and Connected Communities

CityVerve Open Innovation challenges led by Cisco and Manchester Science Partnerships to work with SMEs to help combat issues in healthcare, transport and energy

London, UK, 22nd January – True Innovation comes from collaboration. This belief sits at the core of the Open Innovation challenges launched today by Cisco and Manchester Science Partnerships (MSP), who are on the search to work with some of the UK’s best Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) with a vision to transform Manchester through smart technologies. Convened by CityVerve, the UK’s smart city demonstrator, the challenge will see eight SMEs selected to participate in an eight week initiative in Manchester to combine technology, data and creativity to tackle some of the city’s biggest problems in healthcare, transport and energy.

Commencing in March 2018, the initiative gives SMEs the opportunity to work with partners from public sector, corporate and academic worlds who are part of the CityVerve Internet of Things (IoT) test bed. The eight selected SMEs from across the UK will have the opportunity to put their innovative solutions to the test, in a real-life situation.

The Open Innovation challenges involve collaborating with organisations in Manchester to understand their needs and focus on issues such as sustainability, inclusiveness, traffic congestion and long-term health conditions. To address these issues, four challenge briefs have been created for SMEs to respond to before entries close on 14th February.


The four briefs are:

  • Health and Social Care - working with NHS Manchester - Create a solution using data being collected from home monitoring systems which enables triggered intervention and care for the elderly, to ease the reliance on healthcare providers.
  • Transport and Travel - working with Transport for Greater Manchester - Create an infrastructure or consumer solution that eases passenger experience or improves confidence and usage in public transport.
  • Energy and Environment - working with Manchester Science Partnerships - Create a non-intrusive and cost-effective solution that optimises energy consumption and reduces carbon emissions in commercial buildings, using existing building data and data from external sources.
  • Wildcard entry If interested SMEs do not believe their solutions fit any of the briefs above, they can apply as a wildcard. The Open Innovation initiative is interested in additional internet of things, data-driven or smart solutions to improve Manchester using the data sources available on the CityVerve platform.



CityVerve is collecting and sharing data from across the city to create a range of solutions to benefit Manchester, and the people living and working there. The Open Innovation challenges will build on this, creating IoT solutions that can be tried and tested in Manchester, but ultimately be applied in smart cities across the world.

Nick Chrissos, Director of Innovation at Cisco in Europe says: “Without collaboration, any effort to solve the challenges facing society today fails at the first hurdle. No one organisation can truly do it alone. The answer lies in co-innovation, and this approach is fundamental to the Open Innovation challenges. This is an exciting opportunity not only for our country’s best SMEs to test their technology, but for us to work with them. We are looking forward to seeing what solutions are created to help solve challenges facing Manchester not only today, but in the future.”

Selected SMEs will be given unparalleled access to industry leaders in the smart city and IoT sector. Additionally, Cisco will be offering the opportunity to scale solutions through its global sales channels, while MSP and Growth Studio will provide product development and business masterclasses as well as access to investors in the smart cities space. SMEs will receive a £5,000 grant and the opportunity to showcase their technology to industry leaders at the CityVerve demo day later in 2018.

Anne Dornan, Head of Innovation and Partnerships at MSP said: This is a hugely exciting part of the CityVerve demonstrator project where city partners have the opportunity to source and co-develop genuinely innovative solutions and trial them in a real-world environment. We hope to attract some of the most innovative technology SMEs in the UK to work with the support of committed civic partners and global industry players to deploy some market leading smart city solutions which not only improve key services in Manchester, but can be exported to cities globally.

Today’s launch follows Cisco and MSP opening the Mi-IDEA Innovation Centre at Manchester Science Park in September 2017, which runs a number of innovation and growth programmes  for start-ups. Mi-IDEA is based in the heart of Manchester’s innovation district and is designed to support the growth of digital tech start-ups in the North of England.

Today’s announcement is the latest example of Cisco’s commitment to support digitisation in the UK and an addition to its core innovation programme. Cisco’s Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) strategy is a long-term partnership with government, industry and academia to deliver real outcomes faster and more effectively for the country.

Applications for the four Open Innovation challenge briefs close on 14th February 2018, and fast-track selection days will be held on 15th and 16th February 2018. The final selection day will be held on 5th March 2018, and the challenge will commence on 19th March before ending in May. For more information and to apply please go to: cityverve.org.uk/open-innovation




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About MSP

Manchester Science Partnerships (MSP) is the UK's leading science and technology park operator. MSP owns and operates 2m sq ft of office and laboratory space on its three main campuses – Manchester Science Park, Citylabs, and Alderley Park.

MSP provides the right environments for innovation to flourish - supporting the growth of companies in the life sciences, digital technology and advanced engineering sectors, from start-ups to global corporates. Its network of innovators, scientists, investors and entrepreneurs enables businesses and people to transform ideas into commercial reality.

MSP's shareholders are Bruntwood Ltd, The University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) and Manchester, Cheshire East and Salford City Councils.

Opened in September 2017, MSP’s 70,000sq ft Bright Building is located in the heart of Manchester Science Park and is part of the Oxford Road Corridor Innovation District.

The Bright Building is home to digital incubation hub Mi-IDEA.  A collaboration between MSP and leading technology company Cisco, Mi-IDEA is a new post-accelerator centre to support start-ups to scale and to provide a space for co-innovation in the region.

The building is also the project HQ and main demonstrator site for CityVerve: Innovate UK’s Internet of Things city demonstrator, in which MSP is a lead partner.




About CityVerve

CityVerve brings together the brightest minds and pioneering uses of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to redefine ‘smart’ in the context of a living, working city. It aims to build and deliver a smarter, more connected Manchester, creating a city that uses technology to meet the complex needs of its people.

Imagine a Manchester of endless possibilities: from new business and jobs to better healthcare and transport, safer streets, and more engaged and empowered citizens. And this isn’t just for Manchester: CityVerve aims to create a blueprint for smart cities worldwide.

We believe true innovation comes from collaboration. That’s why CityVerve is being delivered by an exciting consortium of 20 organisations – including Manchester City Council, Manchester Science Partnerships, The University of Manchester, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, Cisco, BT and other tech players. The project is also backed by the Government and Innovate UK.


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