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Press release: Nearly one billion SEK for research on sustainable cities

The strategic innovation program Viable Cities is now starting - the largest investment to date in Sweden in research and innovation on smart and sustainable cities. SEK 960 million over twelve years will be invested in the program, which is led by KTH and brings together some 50 actors from several different research fields as well as business, government, municipalities and civil society.

In October, Viable Cities opens the first call "Energy transformation for viable cities". Swedish municipalities, companies, civil society and research actors will be able to apply for funding for pre-study, research, innovation, test bed and demonstration projects. By the summer of 2018, the first projects in the first call will be up and running.- What distinguishes Viable Cities from other programs is that we will use digitalization as a lever to build sustainable cities, and renew already built cities to make them attractive and viable, says Olga Kordas, researcher at KTH and program manager for Viable Cities.Viable Cities is funded jointly by the Swedish Energy Agency, Vinnova and Formas and is complemented by co-financing by participating actors.- Today, cities account for 70 percent of global emissions. Building climate-smart and sustainable neighborhoods and renewing existing cities is crucial if we are to meet the climate goals. In addition, Sweden can strengthen its position as a pioneering country when it comes to sustainable urban development," says Rémy Kolessar, head of the Department of Research and Innovation at the Swedish Energy Agency.Viable Cities will launch a number of research initiatives and innovation projects through calls for proposals that, unusually, are also open to individual citizens.This means that, in principle, anyone with a good idea about how the city can be improved can submit an application.Yes, non-legal persons are welcome on the same terms as companies, research institutes and so on. For example, residents of a city district can write an application, perhaps together with an association, research actor or a company. Examples include citizens' initiatives that in some way accelerate the transition to a zero-emission society through some kind of internet-based solution that creates opportunities for interactivity and efficiency improvements," says Olga Kordas.Swedish cities are already well on their way to replacing fossil fuels with renewable alternatives for heating, power and cooling. New digital solutions, load balancing and consumer feedback will contribute to the development of climate-neutral and flexible transport systems; sustainable lifestyles; increased resource efficiency in the energy system and the built environment; and will ensure the integration of energy, water and waste infrastructure in cities.About strategic innovation areasStrategicinnovation areas are part of the government's research and innovation policy. It is a collection of forces where business, academia and public organisations work together to strengthen Sweden's competitiveness and contribute to sustainable solutions for global societal challenges. The initiative is run in collaboration between the authorities Vinnova, the Swedish Energy Agency and Formas.Within the strategic innovation programs, initiatives for research and innovation are implemented, including through open calls where companies, higher education institutions and other actors can apply for funding for research and innovation in the area.For more information, contact Olga Kordas on 070 - 213 23 26 /, Mimmi Magnusson (administrator at the Swedish Energy Agency) on 016-542 06 27 /, Emina Pasic (administrator at the Swedish Energy Agency) on 016 - 544 21 89 /