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White House Commitment: Smart Cities Council Challenge Grants

Submitted by scc staff on September 26, 2016

American Cities: Apply now for a 2017 grant!

Update: Winners announced!

Congratulations to Austin, Indianapolis, Miami, Orlando and Philadelphia, our first Smart Cities Council Readiness Challenge Grant winning cities.

How to apply

The application process for the grants concluded on December 31, 2016. If you have any questions, please email Chief Scientist Dr. Stuart Cowan,

About the grant

As part of the White House smart cities initiative, the Smart Cities Council commits to award five (5) Smart Cities Council Challenge Grants to help five American cities apply smart technologies to improve urban livability, workability and sustainability. For each of the five winning cities, the Council will deliver a tailored one-day Readiness Program during the 2017 calendar year. And members of the Council will deliver additional benefits to each of the five cities, as described below.

The Readiness Program menu

For each winning city, the Council will deliver a one-day smart cities workshop. Participants from the city will include approximately 100 government leaders, private sector and academic experts, and other key local stakeholders. The Council will custom design each workshop to the special needs of that city.

The Readiness Program provides a significant in-kind contribution of professional services; access to best practices from some of the world’s top smart city practitioners; access to the expertise of leading smart cities technology providers in a vendor-neutral setting; the opportunity to learn from peer cities; and international visibility on the Council’s website and newsletter.

Additional grants and benefits

In addition to the Readiness Program winning cities will also receive these additional benefits from Council Partners and Advisors:

  • Ameresco will consult with each of the five cities on optimizing smart street lighting as part of an overall smart city strategy. 
  • AT&T will provide a donation of up to 25 AT&T IoT Starter Kits at no cost to each of the selected cities.
  • CH2M and Qualcomm will partner to host a one-day follow-on workshop for each city to develop a work plan for development and deployment of a Smart Cities Council ecosystem.
  • Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) will provide each winning city with a one-year Premier membership and online access to all of its research and materials.
  • Dow Building & Construction will provide consultation on optimizing building design as a part of a smart city ecosystem.
  • IDC’s Government Insights Smart Cities Strategies research advisory service will provide each city a Smart City maturity benchmark.
  • Sensus will provide each winning city a hosted smart city communication network free of charge for one year.
  • Telit will provide each city free access to the Telit IoT platform, which provides comprehensive functions for connecting devices, managing devices and integrating the data.
  • TM Forum will provide its expertise and its Smart City Maturity and Benchmark model free of charge to help the cities quickly assess their strengths and weaknesses and to set clear goals for transformation.
  • Transdev will provide each selected city with up to three days of free consultation and technical assistance to look at ways of providing new and more efficient mobility options.

Criteria for selection

Cities will fill out a grant application to be considered. Winners will be selected according to the following criteria.

  • Population greater than 100,000 (may combine with neighboring cities to reach population threshold)
  • Demonstrate commitment by including a cover letter from the mayor or city manager affirming the city’s official entry
  • Demonstrate capacity by briefly listing existing smart city practices, policies, programs, and planning efforts and by providing a liaison to assist with the event
  • Demonstrate a commitment to widespread stakeholder engagement by sharing a list of the leadership and organizations they propose to invite
  • Agree to the Smart City Principles espoused by the Smart Cities Council, which call for an inclusive, equitable, “people-first” approach
  • Propose at least three theme areas that represent city priorities
  • Propose at least one theme area for discussion that applies smart technologies to help vulnerable or marginalized people or neighborhoods
  • Agree to allow the Council to publish high-level summaries of their event on the Council’s website
  • Supply a venue suitable for plenary sessions of at least 100 attendees plus at least four break-out spaces
  • Located in the United States

Register your interest

For more information, email Chief Scientist Dr. Stuart Cowan,