The Science Foundation Ireland research centre in smart manufacturing, which is hosted at UL’s Park Point complex in Castletroy, will be transformed into a showcase that, across Thursday and Friday, will give a flavour of the wave of innovation surging across Limerick as the European Commission’s ‘Smart City’ programme takes hold.
LIVE is part of Limerick City and County Council’s ‘Smart Limerick’ programme part-funded under the European Unions Urbact Find Your Greatness project – Europe’s first strategic brand building programme for its Smart Cities. Urbact’s focus is on fostering sustainable integrated urban development in cities across Europe.
The event will be a coming together of a representative mix of the cross sectoral and organisational champions of innovation and the Smart Cities programme. These will include local authority digital strategy leaders to universities and technology entrepreneurs to citizens’ networks – all combining to create the smart, sustainable city and region empowered by digital technologies.
The innovation showcase will be the first in a series of similar engagements that will celebrate Limerick’s thriving innovation ecosystem, which is shaping the future of a digitally connected sustainable city.
The event opens with an overview of Smart Limerick’s journey, then Innovate Limerick presenting the success story that ‘Film in Limerick’ has become, with another key session of the morning involving a panel discussion on how the digital transformation is going to play a key role in the revitalisation of Limerick’s city centre as a key contributor to Limerick’s evolution as a modern, sustainable ’15 minute city’.
The lunchbreak will itself includes a celebration of innovation through the city’s first ever drone lunch-drop. The afternoon session kicks off with a focus on ‘Digital Transformation & Education’ and the need to develop a future-proofed talent supply-chain that ensures the smart sustainable city and innovation momentum is maintained. The afternoon will also see updates from both UL and TUS on their innovation enterprises, while the Limerick Makers Club will also outline their activities and issue an open invitation to other ‘makers’ to join the growing innovation movement.
Friday’s virtual session includes the launch of the All-Ireland Smart Cities strategy as well as research on Digital Inclusion in Limerick gathered over the past 20 months. It will also hear about innovation happening at Limerick based multi-nationals Dell and Analog Devices.
Speaking ahead of the event, Cllr Daniel Butler, Mayor of Limerick City and County, “innovation in Limerick is centred around its people. Often it’s thought that a Smart City is some sort of creation of science fiction, with screens and sensors on every corner, but what we have learned on our journey as a Council, is that often the most successful aspects of a Smart City are as simple as making our services easily accessible, and embedding a culture of technical ability in our organisation.” He added “As technology constantly changes, Limerick City and County Council is agile enough to be able to lead by example to change easily with it, making sure that innovation is used to enhance the lives of our citizens.”
UL President Kerstin Mey, “the launch of the smart city project showcasing outcomes highlights the value of true collaboration. At UL we value very much our multi-dimensional partnership with Limerick City and County Council and the communities we serve to connect its citizens and harness the power of our collective creativity in order to contribute to a more just and prosperous society in Limerick and to the transformation of the region.”
Pat Daly, Chief Executive of Limerick City and County Council said, “the Limerick Innovation Virtual Event is, as such, a timely reflection point on our innovation journey. We set out a roadmap a number of years ago under the Smart Cities programme that had the aspiration of making Limerick one of Europe’s most digitally connected cities and we are making continuing progress on this. Another great thing about Limerick in terms of innovation today is the purpose behind it; it’s not just for the sake of it but innovation that’s going to bring about positive societal benefit for all. Limerick has such a rich history of innovation and entrepreneurship going back centuries and what’s happening here over recent years is not surprising”.
Alan Dooley, Head of Digital Strategy at Limerick City and County Council, “Limerick’s Smart Cities programme is right up there with the best. A perfect example is our European Lighthouse City designation that has seen Limerick become one of just two EU pilot ‘lighthouse’ cities chosen to run a programme focussed on dramatically reducing the carbon footprint of urban areas through innovation. Right now, there are not many better areas to be giving European leadership in than tackling climate change, so innovation is very much alive and well here. With LIVE next week, we will get a moment to take stock of where we are on our journey and what we need to do to keep the momentum up.”
Corina Hanrahan, Project Manager at Smart Limerick and URBACT expert on the project ‘Smart Cities and Communities’, “LIVE is an opportunity for us to have a conversation about how the Smart City programme can evolve to meet every person’s needs. Smart Cities are first and foremost about people. They are about how people’s lives can benefit from digital solutions so we will launch our research done on digital inclusion, and how Ireland’s Smart Cities are working together to create a cohesive strategy based around contemporary needs. Next week is about bridging a gap in understanding smart cities, this is ‘innovation for good’ at work.”
Source: Limerick County Council