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Evaluation Process

What happens after I submit my city’s intent to apply?

If we receive your submission of intent to apply, the Nesta Flying High Challenge team may reach out to confirm details of who you are, what your interest is or to answer any questions that you may have shared.

What happens after I submit my city’s application?

Following the submission of your application, Nesta will review your application for eligibility and will contact you with any clarifying questions regarding your application. All Flying High Challenge applicant cities will then have their applications reviewed by an expert judging panel. Telephone consultations will be held with shortlisted cities on 24-26 January 2018. These will be conducted with the Lead Applicant and any key partners. Applicants will be notified with the results by 1 February 2018.

What are the criteria on which our application will be judged?

The judging panel will review Flying High Challenge applicant cities based on three broad criteria: vision, stakeholder engagement and capacity to commit. Each question in the application is assigned a points value, with a maximum potential of 125 points. Please review this weighting to understand how applications will be evaluated. As you will see from the points values assigned to each application question, nearly half of the total value of the application will focus on your vision: what the city hopes to achieve by participating in the Flying High Challenge, how drones may fit into the larger city goals and previous or current innovation initiatives, how your city anticipates success with the Flying High Challenge and how you will mitigate any potential challenges (Questions 1, 2, 3, 4, and 8), for a total of 60 points across these five questions. Another significant component of the Flying High Challenge is stakeholder engagement. Therefore, we are eager to learn how you envision assembling the local task force to guide the project, and how you intend to capture public engagement more broadly (Questions 5 and 6, for a total of 30 points). Finally, applicant cities’ capacity to undertake the Flying High Challenge and commit resources will be critical to ensuring that the Challenge is a success for you and your city. We would like to understand how you will leverage and sync with existing complementary initiatives in your city, and how you will secure matching resources to support the Flying High Challenge in your city (Questions 7 and 9, for a total of 35 points). There is no minimum points threshold for eligibility or consideration.

Will we receive feedback on our application?

Feedback will be available to cities on request.

Who will be reviewing the application?

Flying High Challenge applicant cities will have their applications reviewed by a panel of Nesta experts and external experts. These individuals will have expertise across city development, innovation, public policy, business and other domains to ensure we are able to effectively assess all aspects of your application

General Questions

What is the Flying High Challenge?

Run by Nesta’s Challenge Prize Centre, in partnership with Innovate UK, Flying High is the first programme of its kind to convene city leaders, regulators, public services, businesses and industry around the future of drones in cities. By collaborating with selected cities, the Flying High Challenge will support cities to create visions and strategies regarding if and how drones could operate in their communities, based on local needs and ambitions.

Why are you looking at drone technology in cities?

Drone technology is advancing rapidly, and the UK has the opportunity to lead the way in exploring the implications and potential benefits. Drones could have a range of socially beneficial uses in our cities, from transporting urgent medical supplies to inspecting and repairing infrastructure. Further, cities are complex operating environments with many diverse stakeholders interested in the impact of new technologies, and present a host of social, regulatory and technological challenges relating to how multiple types of drones may interact in the urban environment. We certainly see challenges in operating in other environments, but believe that the lessons learned on the Flying High Challenge within cities will be applicable to a wider range of locations.

Why is the Flying High Challenge needed?

We believe that cities and people must be at the center of shaping potential uses for drones and how they might integrate into our communities. Developing and deploying new technologies brings many complex challenges: the legislation needs to be right, the market has to be ready, the technology has to be mature enough. As industry has advanced, the use of drones in cities is becoming more of a reality. However, it is critical to ensure that cities and people, business and technology firms, regulators and other stakeholders collaborate to define how drones could be used and to understand how technology, infrastructure, regulatory, legal, safety, privacy and other challenges integrate sustainably.

Are there multiple phases to this Challenge? What phase is launching now?

Yes. This, the Delivery phase, is the first phase of the Flying High Challenge, which will last approximately four months (Feb-June 2018).

What is a task force? Who should be in this?

Flying High Cities will commit to assembling a task force to participate in monthly programme meetings. The task force should include representatives of key stakeholder groups in the city, and represent a mixture of public and private sector interests, who should be involved in creating the vision and strategy for drones in your city.

What are the anticipated outcomes for this phase of the Flying High Challenge?

The Nesta Flying High Challenge team expects the following outcomes to be achieved at the close of the first phase: Visions developed by cities addressing the future of drones in their local communities, incorporating the input of a range of stakeholders, to be presented in the form of a strategic document developed in collaboration with each city; A vibrant and engaged community of city, governmental, regulator, business and other stakeholders that are eager to continue shaping the future of drones within the UK; A set of defined technology challenges that need to be met in order to realise the city visions created during this phase; An understanding of the potential social and economic impact of drones within participant Flying High cities; and A springboard for two subsequent phases, focused on the development of technology challenges tied to city plans culminating in large-scale, real-world demonstrations of integrated drone systems.

What are the benefits to a city for being involved in this first phase of the Flying High Challenge?

  • Collaboration with Nesta to develop a strategic vision for local drone operations
  • Support from Nesta on local engagement and exploration of potential drone uses
  • Access to a dedicated full-time team at Nesta as well as technical experts, regulators and government officials
  • Accelerated learning on drone technology
  • Publicity at a local, national and global scale, including participation in two national events
  • Opportunity to shape the UK drone ecosystem and how cities can benefit from this industry
  • Knowledge sharing across peer Flying High Cities
  • Priority status for demonstration projects in subsequent Flying High phases and engagement with technology developers, infrastructure providers and other drone industry leaders

What is the engagement process once applicants have been selected to participate in the programme?

The Nesta Flying High Challenge team will work closely with your city to explore potential uses of drones, develop visions that shape the future of drones in your city and identify the necessary requirements to sustainably realise these visions. To achieve these outcomes, Nesta will work with you through a series of meetings, workshops and offline engagement opportunities from February to June 2018.

How is the Flying High Challenge being funded?

This phase of the Flying High Challenge is primarily being funded by a grant from Innovate UK, investment from Nesta and resources committed by participant cities.

Is Nesta awarding money?

Nesta is not awarding funding during this phase.

What type and amount of matching resources are cities expected to commit?

We are asking each Flying High City to commit resources to support their participation in the Flying High Challenge. Matching resources may include staff time, financial match, in-kind, or a combination thereof. We are seeking a value of approximately £50K in matching resources from each Flying High City to complement the more than £600K in resources that Innovate UK and Nesta have contributed to this project.

Where can the matching resources come from?

Matching resources can be sourced from the city or local authority and/or from project partners, such as research or academic institutions or the private sector.

Can the matching resources include the 4 hours/week of staff time expected from successful applicants?

Yes. In your description of matching resources, the staff time and the facilities required to host a local workshop may be included.

Can the matching resources include the 4 hours/week of staff time expected from successful applicants?

Yes. In your description of matching resources, the staff time and the facilities required to host a local workshop may be included.

How will resources committed by cities be used?

Resources committed by participating Flying High Cities will complement Innovate UK and Nesta funding to deliver the tailored programme of events for individual participant cities and for the broader programme. These resources will be put toward research and analysis, task force meetings and workshops in your city, vision and report development and other activities throughout the programme. Cities may also commit resources to cover expenses such as hosting the local workshop, personnel time and travel costs to meetings and events, including a kickoff meeting in London on 7th February 2018 and a national event in June 2018 (date and location TBD).

Which organisations are supporting this initiative?

The Flying High Challenge has support from a wide range of governmental, regulatory, business and other stakeholders. Innovate UK is a partner and the Nesta team is collaborating closely with institutions such as the Civil Aviation Authority, the Department for Transportation (DfT), the Department for Business, Energy and Industry Strategy (BEIS), the Transport Systems Catapult and other academic institutions and industry bodies.

Key Dates & Contacts

What are the key dates for the registration of interest, application and selection processes?

Key Dates and Contacts Cities launch event: 7 February 2018 Delivery phase: February - June 2018

Whom should I contact with any questions on Flying High?

If you would like to learn more about the Flying High Challenge, please contact the team on [email protected]