CU Denver will launch a ‘smart cities incubator’ program

“Smart Cities” analyze constantly-collected data to help improve climate change, safety and quality of life.

The University of Colorado Denver on Speer Boulevard.

The University of Colorado Denver on Speer Boulevard.

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The University of Colorado Denver, along with Colorado Smart Cities Alliance and Innosphere Ventures, has received a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce to launch a “smart cities incubator and accelerator program.”

The money will be used to expand on its Smart Cities certificate program. The certification, which is already being offered in the university’s College of Engineering, is designed for those who want to work in “emerging urban technologies, data science, sustainable design, and public-private partnerships.”

CU Denver says “Smart Cities” are smart the same way smartphones are smart — there is connectivity everywhere and they constantly collect data from its users for analysis. If used correctly, that data should help address climate change, street safety and improve quality of life.

A “living lab” for developing and testing smart cities technologies will also be built using the grant money.

The grant is part of a larger statewide fund that gives $3.1 million to support workforce development in high-tech businesses and cybersecurity industries.

“The Economic Development Administration investment will catalyze CU Denver’s innovation infrastructure, increasing educational opportunities for all and fueling the diverse tech talent pipeline of the future,” CU Denver Chancellor Michelle Marks said in a statement.

Denver has been aiming to achieve smart city status for years now. In 2016, the city applied for a $50 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, saying it would use the money for data analysis, electric transportation and other missions. The city ultimately lost out to Columbus, Ohio, which pitched a vision of electric, self-driving shuttles citywide.

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