An initiative supported by the European Commission to help achieve sustainable economic growth in Derry through the integration of advanced technologies
This initiative fosters complementarities and synergies between existing policies involving digital priorities and the newly planned policy actions supporting digital transformation.

It follows a methodology designed and supported by the EU Commission which draws inspiration on the recommendations set out in the "Blueprint for cities as launch pads for digital transformation". In addition, it reinforces networking among model cities, facilitates their participation in on-going European initiatives in similar policy fields, strengthens stakeholder collaboration and cross-regional partnerships and stimulates investment.

In Derry, the strategy roadmap includes 26 concrete actions guided by 5 operational objectives:
• Skills: Produce, attract and retain sufficient numbers of employees with the digital skills needed by enterprises in the key sectors
• Research: Increase digital research capacity in which the city has a relative advantage, while focusing on the needs of the city’s key sectors
• Infrastructure: Focus digital infrastructure investment in the areas and technologies needed to support smart city, testbed and innovation hub actions.
• Innovation: Create a digital innovation ecosystem that can generate new jobs, enterprise and investment based on the latest innovation and entrepreneurial approaches
• Smart City: Adopt smart city approaches as the basis for innovation in key economic sectors and improved public service provision

Resources needed

• Staff: 0,5 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) from the promoter of the strategy (1 year period)
• Organisation of 4 capacity building workshops
• Consultancy services from experts was provided by the EU Commission
• Travel to 4 coordination/conference events in Brussels

Evidence of success

Digital Cities Challenge has served to create the ecosystem to foster the digital transformation of the city of Derry.
It has provided the city and its stakeholders with a format, process, timeline and method to identify, validate and prioritise the efforts needed to accelerate the city’s digital transformation focusing attention where it is most needed.
As a result, a concrete strategic roadmap has been established.
Follow up will be done through the EU Intelligent Cities Challenge.

Potential for learning or transfer

This is a good practice with a lot of potential for being transferred to other cities/regions seeking for their Digital Transformation. The methodology has been tested in 41 EU cities, so it is more than demonstrated its potential for application.

The ambition is that Derry will act as a model for other UK, Irish and European cities.

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Main institution
Derry and Strabane District Council
Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
Start Date
July 2018
End Date
July 2019


Jose Manuel San Emeterio Please login to contact the author.

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