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Challenge / Goal

The Scotland’s 8th City – the Smart City operation, was identified by Scottish Government as an integral element of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) 2014-2020 programme. An initial £10M grant was available (subject to successful grant application) on the basis that all Scottish cities, as noted above, engaged in a collaborative programme of Smart City activity in support of the Policy Action to ensure our cities are healthy and sustainable. 

Programme activity was further linked to the Scottish Government's Sustainable Growth agenda and to ERDF Thematic Objective 01 of ‘Strengthening Research, Technological Development, and Innovation’. Within these parameters, Scottish cities were required to develop and deliver a Smart City programme with all seven cities engaged as co-partners and with equal opportunities to secure ERDF grant in support of each city’s strategic priorities. 

The requirement was to create a programme which enabled and supported project activity and which was open, transparent, and collaborative in nature; the ethos was of ‘any city is all the cities’. The ambition was to make a step change in the use of smart technology for integrated city management - not just individually but collectively - so creating ‘Scotland’s 8th City – the Smart City’. 


The Scottish Cities Alliance was established in 2011 as part of the ‘Agenda for Cities, Scotland’s Cities: delivering for Scotland’ and seeks to deliver the Agenda’s aims and vision of “a Scotland where our cities and their regions power Scotland’s economy for the benefit of all.”

The ‘Scotland’s 8th City – the Smart City’ ERDF application was submitted in March 2015. A number of developments had informed this, including: the Future City Glasgow programme (2013-15); the ‘Smart Cities Maturity Model and Self-Assessment Tool’; and the ‘Outline Investment Roadmap’ (the latter initiatives delivered via Scottish Government and the Scottish Cities Alliance).
Glasgow City Council (GCC) was elected as Lead Partner for the ERDF programme and, in 2015, a PMO was hosted by GCC to deliver a programme management and assurance function on behalf of all seven cities.

With the initial ERDF grant application being approved by Scottish Government (acting as Managing Authority for European Structural Funds) cities were able to submit funding requests for ERDF support. These proposals were initially reviewed on the basis of a peer-assessment process (with at least three cities reviewing the proposed projects of another city). Upon completion of this process, selected proposals were submitted to the Managing Authority for decision-making and subsequent grant approval.

This created an initial ‘Phase 1’ programme which ultimately resulted in 26 separate projects delivered across all seven cities and ranging across nine Smart City domains – including Smart Infrastructure (Intelligent Street Lighting, Water Management, and Innovation Lab), Smart Services (Energy, Mobile Working, Mobility, Public Safety, and Waste), and Open Data and Data Analytics. Most importantly, all cities committed to a collaborative process (with projects being open, scalable, replicable, and interoperable) and to sharing information, knowledge  and learning.

Cities further agreed to adopt additional output activity relating to stakeholder engagement (pre, during, and post-project delivery) and to an over-arching programme assurance framework which laid out processes and procedures for financial and performance monitoring and reporting. This was underpinned by a Terms of Reference and supporting governance structures for delivering the 8th City programme. 

In 2017 a mid-point review of Scotland’s delivery of European Structural Funds led to approval of further ERDF funding. This resulted in a further 15 projects being approved for delivery – and to an overall Smart Cities programme valued at £45M (of which £18M is ERDF grant and £27M is match funding by the cities and other sources – including £500K allocated via the Scottish Cities Alliance-administered Cities Investment Fund. 

Citizen participation

As noted above, early stage development work to create the 8th City programme included a commitment by all cities to adopt an additional ‘Non-Operational Programme’ output indicator to ensure that all projects undertook citizen and stakeholder engagement in delivering their projects. A Stakeholder Engagement Strategy and action plan (plus supporting Benefits Realisation Strategy and action plan) was developed and implemented in support of this. 


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Time period

Planning time: 6 months to 1 year

Implementation time: 1 to 2 years


Aberdeen; Dundee; Edinburgh; Glasgow; Inverness; Perth; Stirling

Service providers

Scottish Cities Alliance

End users

All Citizens

    Main benefits

  • Promoting sustainable behaviour

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