Portugal might be a step away from having a cluster for the smart city sector. According to Catarina Selada, the head of the Cities Unit at INTELI (Intelligence in Innovation, Centre for Innovation), if given the go-ahead, this initiative will help projects and actions access financing.
During the Smart Travel ‘15 event, which took place in Bragança, Portugal, last Friday, Selada declared they are awaiting a favourable final decision in order to officially recognize the cluster, which applied to the Portugal 2020 programme last July. If they get this approval, the projects which are a part of the cluster will automatically improve their chances of being financed. “There’s a strategic action plan, which includes various projects, who will see their assessment improve when presenting specific projects to financing programmes. By being part of the cluster, the projects’ assessment will positively improve.” the Portuguese expert explained, on the sideline of her presentation.
The results from the applications should have been known by September, but Portugal’s recent political instability and change of government delayed the process. Nonetheless, Catarina Selada hopes the decision is announced soon, although she doesn’t rule out an eventual “re-assessment of the applications”.
The cluster will bring together around 50 entities, including companies - ranging from promising start-ups to large tech businesses -, technology centres, universities, incubators and local authorities. “Once there is a national cluster policy, we can go further than traditional clusters, which are very sector-specific, and tackle a field which is by definition multidisciplinary and which needs to be integrated: the smart cities market. Ultimately, it brings together different products and services from the energy, mobility, environmental, and governance sectors to the final client, who at the same time is a partner - the city.” she concluded.
The Smart Travel’15 event began last Friday, combining the discussion on smart tourism with a debate on the challenges faced by small and medium-sized cities. This is the second edition of the event, which brings renowned orators on the topic of smart cities to the Northeast of Portugal.