Sheffield Smart Lab selects nine innovative urban solutions


Sheffield Smart Lab finalistas innovación urbana

Amey and the Centre of Excellence for Cities are driving this initiative to support urban innovation and entrepreneurship.

The urban innovation programme Sheffield Smart Lab, run by Sheffield City Council, Amey and the Ferrovial Services Centre of Excellence for Cities, has selected 9 innovative solutions to address two major challenges that Sheffield faces: to energise the city centre, and to support people to live independently. This initiative, open to entrepreneurs and start-up businesses around the world, was launched in late June. There have been more than 50 entries from 10 different countries.

In a ceremony held at the Sheffield City Council, the 9 selected winning ideas were presented. The event was attended by the Chief Executive of Sheffield City Council, John Mothersole; the Deputy Leader & Cabinet Member for Business, Skills and Development, Cllr Leigh Bramall; the Head of Policy and Improvement at Sheffield City Council, Mark Tuckett; as well as Fernando Herrero, Deputy Director of Innovation & Smart Cities of Madrid City Council; Nick Gregg, Amey’s Local Government Managing Director; Iñigo Jodra; Ferrovial Services Centre of Excellence for Cities Director, and Mark Saunders, UK Projects Director, Centre of Excellence for Cities, among others.

End to end support to urban entrepreneurs

The 9 winning solutions will participate during the first quarter of 2016 in an incubation and acceleration programme, where they will be able to develop their idea, product or service in a ‘smart lab’ facility, supported by both the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University. After having the opportunity to develop their original solution, they will then be put to the test in a real life situation in the city from April 2016. All winning solutions will also be included in Ferrovial Services’ Innovative Solutions Catalogue.

Cllr Leigh Bramall, Deputy Leader & Cabinet Member for Business, Skills and Development, said: “As a council, it is important to us that we drive innovation to Sheffield. There’s an energy and appetite for it in the city and we recognise that in order to do this we need to partner with start-ups and innovators. That’s what Sheffield Smart Lab is all about and by attracting entrepreneurs we can support and help them to build on their ideas, making them a reality, benefitting both them and the city.”

Nick Gregg, Amey’s Local Government Managing Director, said: “Well done to the 9 teams that have been shortlisted. I’m confident that the solutions that have been selected could make a big difference to the city of Sheffield. By bringing the use of technology to the city in an innovative way, we can enhance the services that we already offer and improve the quality of life for both residents and visitors”.

Well-known TV scientist Professor Heinz Wolff and a group of Sheffield students are amongst the Sheffield Smart Lab winners.  Professor Heinz Wolff explained that: “We are not just pleased but thrilled and grateful for having our project Give & Take Care CIC included in the Smart Lab programme. It will encourage collaboration in a scheme for improving the quality of life for elderly people who want to be cared for in their own homes.”

Winning solutions:

Helping people to live independently:

  • Alcove: High-tech home sensors used to support independence.
  • Give & Take Care: Reciprocal volunteering scheme where volunteers earn credits which they can then use to pay for care when they or their loved ones need it.
  • GoodGym: helping people get fit by channeling their energy in ways that help the community.
  • MindMate: designed for older people to keep their minds and bodies active.
  • NANA: Novel Assessment of Nutrition and Ageing – Focus on supporting general wellbeing.

Energising the city centre:

  • Digital High Street Collaboration/Better Cities: enables independent businesses to collaborate.
  • A.P.S: tracks foot flow and collects other data.
  • OverHear: searches for events by location and time.
  • Situate: a self-guided tour app for mobile phones.

For more information, visit

Commitment to urban innovation

Sheffield Smart Lab is part of Ferrovial Services’ strategy to support cities in developing innovation focused on citizens, enhancing services using the most innovative solutions, and contributing to the development of society by supporting entrepreneurship. Other recent examples of collaborative innovation programmes with a similar profile are Madrid Smart Lab, Madrid Smart Parking and Cities Open Challenge.


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