New York State's Empire State Development (ESD), an umbrella organization for the state's two economic development public-benefit corporations, has announced a call for applications last week that would launch the Smart Cities Innovation Partnership program in collaboration with the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA).
The program was originally announced as part of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's solidarity and trade mission to Israel in July 2019, and will focus on designating up to five Smart Cities that will be used to connect with technology companies and academic experts in order to improve government services and the quality of life for residents.
A smart city refers to any municipality that utilizes technological solutions to promote the public good, including health, safety, welfare and heightened quality of life.
Set to launch at the end of March via educational outreach and solicitation of interest in different New York localities, companies interested in the program will be able to submit concept designs and innovative solutions to tackle pressing issues facing metropolitan areas in New York and Israel.
In response to the announcement, Deputy Secretary for Technology and Innovation Jeremy M. Goldberg lauded the importance of the program's goals, saying that “under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York has made tremendous investments to grow its technology industry and innovation economy. "The concept of a smarter city is about using technology to better deliver on government’s responsibility to residents: health, safety, and opportunity," he said. "We’re excited about the innovative ideas that will come to life through this partnership between cities, community members, and technologists.”
IIA CEO Aharon Aharon also stressed the program's value to both Israel and New York, noting that "the Israel Innovation Authority is honored to support the Israeli companies that will play an important role in improving government services and quality of life for New York residents. We appreciate the Governor’s commitment to Israel and look forward to strengthening our technological ties with New York.”
As part the program, the ESD will provide up to $1 million to the IIA and an additional $1 million for Israeli companies involved in projects related to New York. The municipalities chosen to participate in the program will be required to designate physical or virtual sites to be used in new pilot technologies aimed at solving locally recognized problems. At the end of 2020, projects will then be chosen to be funded and implemented in the municipalities by 2021.