Smart Cities and Communities
Research Theme Week

Around the week of 17-21 June, we hosted a series of events, conferences and discussions around the theme of Smart Cities and Communities in which we showcased our academics and shared their impactful research.

What is 'smart'?

A smart city is a place where traditional networks and services are made more efficient with the use of digital and telecommunication technologies for the benefit of its residents and businesses.

Features of a smart city go beyond the use of information and communication technologies (ICT). They make better use of resources and have lower emissions. A smart city means:

Sustainable development of urban areas is a challenge for our society. This challenge requires new, efficient and user-friendly technologies and services. Solutions need integrated approaches, in terms of both research and development of advanced technological solutions, and deployment. These approaches need to be rooted environmentally to ensure sustainability and also the wellbeing of communities.

The University of Derby is an effective contributor to the conversation around Smart Cities and Communities. We produce impactful research that incorporates many of the component subject areas.

Key themes

The events that took place during the Smart Cities and Communities Research Theme Week covered the following themes:

3d rendered world with city trees and river

How our future cities function will fundamentally influence our ability to achieve the UN Development Goals. The Smart Cities and Communities week explored how the University is informing and influencing the development of our cities.

Professor Paul T Lynch
Chair of our University Professorial Council

Research Centres

During the Smart Cities and Communities Research Theme Week, academics and researchers from many of our research centres will be coordinating activity around their key themes and objectives.

The team of computer and data science specialists in our Data Science Research Centre (DSRC) works with businesses, organisations and other researchers to help them gain insights from their data. DSRC recently published groundbreaking research into artificial neural networks (ANNs), which are used to calculate, interrogate and analyse vast amounts of data at high speed. Their discoveries could have implications for everything from medical technology to transport planning and even personalised streaming accounts or virtual assistants.

Our Environmental Sustainability Research Centre comprises a multi-disciplinary team which works closely with other leading institutions, charities, governments, international non-governmental organisations and industry leaders. We confront issues relating to sustainability and influence national and international debate on the subject. Our research on climate change, for example, is helping to develop strategies for the sustainable management of our environment.

We have pioneered research in the field of nature connectedness, working with a range of nature conservation organisations to explore the benefits of improving people’s connection with nature. The research of our Nature Connectedness Research Group is being used by the National Trust to inform their engagement activities. We have also developed a wellbeing app to promote awareness of urban nature.

The Centre for Supply Chain Improvement is a centre of excellence for operations and supply chain management in advanced research and industry partnerships. The work we produce is led by industry needs. We address some of the most critical challenges that organisations are currently facing in the design, management and improvement of their supply chains and internal operations. One example of our impact is our work on lean logistics and tackling the inefficiencies of road transportation, in which we investigated whether lean manufacturing principles, methods and tools could be applied to improve logistics and road transport operations.

The Centre for Business Improvement's focus on sustainable business and the green economy has led to a productive collaboration with the Carbon Trust and the Ellen Macarthur Foundation, in which we propose strategies to support business innovation focused on the green or low-carbon economy. We work with a variety of businesses to enable improved networking and collaboration, sharing our expertise and tapping into that of other businesses.