‘LIVE’ virtual event to be a crossroad moment in Limerick’s ‘smart sustainable city’ journey

Pictured L-R Kerstin Mey, President University of Limerick, Cllr Daniel Butler, Mayor of Limerick and Pat Daly, CEO Limerick City and County Council. Pic Arthur Ellis.

THE progress of Limerick’s ‘Smart City’ programme and how it will positively impact the future of all its citizens will be explored next week at the inaugural two-day ‘Limerick Innovation Virtual Event’ (LIVE) at the CONFIRM centre in Castletroy.

The Science Foundation Ireland research centre in smart manufacturing, which is hosted at UL’s Park Point complex in Castletroy, will be transformed into a showcase that, across Thursday and Friday, will give a flavour of the wave of innovation surging across Limerick today as the European Commission’s ‘Smart Cities’ programme takes hold.

‘LIVE’ is part of Limerick City and County Council’s ‘Smart Limerick’ programme part-funded under the European Union’s Urbact ‘Find Your Greatness’ project – Europe’s first strategic brand building programme for its Smart Cities. Urbact’s focus is on fostering sustainable integrated urban development in cities across Europe.

Speaking ahead of the event, Cllr Daniel Butler, Mayor of the City and County of Limerick said, “Innovation in Limerick is centred around its people. Often it’s thought that a Smart City is some sort of creation of science fiction, with screens and sensors on every corner, but what we have learned on our journey as a Council, is that often the most successful aspects of a Smart City are as simple as making our services easily accessible, and embedding a culture of technical ability in our organisation.

He added “As technology constantly changes, Limerick City and County Council is agile enough to be able to lead by example to change easily with it, making sure that innovation is used to enhance the lives of our citizens.”

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The event will be a coming together of a representative mix of the cross sectoral and organisational champions of innovation and the Smart Cities programme. These will include local authority digital strategy leaders to universities and technology entrepreneurs and tech industry representatives to citizens’ networks – all combining to create the smart, sustainable city and region empowered by digital technologies.

All information, including registration, is available at https://www.limerick.ie/smartlimerick/LIVE

The innovation showcase will be the first in a series of similar engagements that will celebrate Limerick’s thriving innovation ecosystem, which is shaping the future of a digitally connected sustainable city.

UL President Kerstin Mey said, “The launch of the smart city project showcasing outcomes highlights the value of true collaboration. At UL we value very much our multi-dimensional partnership with Limerick City and County Council and the communities we serve to connect its citizens and harness the power of our collective creativity in order to contribute to a more just and prosperous society in Limerick and to the transformation of the region.”

The event opens with an overview of Smart Limerick’s journey, then Innovate Limerick presenting the success story that ‘Film in Limerick’ has become, with another key session of the morning involving a panel discussion on how the digital transformation is going to play a key role in the revitalisation of Limerick’s city centre as a key contributor to Limerick’s evolution as a modern, sustainable ’15 minute city’.

The lunchbreak will itself includes a celebration of innovation through the city’s first ever drone lunch-drop. The afternoon session kicks off with a focus on ‘Digital Transformation & Education’ and the need to develop a future-proofed talent supply-chain that ensures the smart sustainable city and innovation momentum is maintained. The afternoon will also see updates from both UL and TUS on their innovation enterprises, while the Limerick Makers Club will also outline their activities and issue an open invitation to other ‘makers’ to join the growing innovation movement.

Friday’s virtual session includes the launch of the All-Ireland Smart Cities strategy as well as research on Digital Inclusion in Limerick gathered over the past 20 months. It will also hear about innovation happening at Limerick based multi-nationals Dell and Analog Devices.

Pat Daly, Chief Executive of Limerick City and County Council said, “The Limerick Innovation Virtual Event is, as such, a timely reflection point on our innovation journey. We set out a roadmap a number of years ago under the Smart Cities programme that had the aspiration of making Limerick one of Europe’s most digitally connected cities and we are making continuing progress on this.

“Another great thing about Limerick in terms of innovation today is the purpose behind it; it’s not just for the sake of it but innovation that’s going to bring about positive societal benefit for all. This is ‘innovation for good’ at work. Limerick has such a rich history of innovation and entrepreneurship going back centuries and what’s happening here over recent years is not surprising.”