Georgia Smart Communities Challenge

The Georgia Smart Communities Challenge is a competitive program that supports local governments of any size within the State of Georgia—cities, counties, and consolidated city-county governments—by providing funding, access to technical assistance, expert advice, and a network of peers. Georgia Smart communities receive access to a breadth of resources including a team of researchers, Georgia Smart program management, Smart Community Corps, and Georgia Smart partners. Alumni have successfully implemented their project and garnered additional funding and technical assistance to continue their project beyond the program period, continuing to service their residents and meet their community’s goals. They have also garnered national recognition for their projects and served as a model for other communities in addressing similar problems.

Georgia Smart Highlights

  • One research grant per community-researcher applicant team, up to $100,000 total
  • Supporting projects under the theme “Clean Tech” for 2023
  • Open for application from any community/higher education institution in Georgia

Why should local governments apply?

  • Help to envision, explore, and plan for your city’s “smart” future
  • Low-risk way to explore feasibility of a new idea or program in the area of civic innovation
  • Leverage generous grant funds with smaller or in-kind matches to multiply the investment
  • Relationships with universities for research assistance solving complex civic problems with data, technology, and innovation
  • Grant funding with wrap-around services for the community including proposal formation, project management, help from a cohort of established smart communities, and access to other unique partnerships to help execute the projects
  • Funds can be used for community engagement to ensure awareness and adoption of the strategy by your citizens
  • Access to additional funding and research after project completion with alumni programs
  • Assistance with marketing, applying for awards, and telling the story of your project

A Georgia Smart project brings new relationships that can pay dividends in the future, such as ongoing partnerships with research universities like Georgia Tech, and ongoing financial support to carry projects forward. For example, in 2019, the City of Woodstock, Georgia, was selected to be a Georgia Smart community. Their project, a citywide smart technology strategy and smart corridor study, while completed in 2020, continues to live on today with paid Smart Community Corps interns provided to the city in 2022 and 2023, piloting new technologies that are an extension of the original project.

Georgia Smart brings the resources that allow the city to make progress in areas they might not normally have the capacity to address, such as using data analysis and visualization to make decisions. Most cities in Georgia do not employ data scientists, but with the assistance of a research university, Georgia Smart cities can tap into these skills provided by the research partners and graduate students. Georgia Smart can close the knowledge gap in some of these more technical areas.

The Partnership for Inclusive Innovation believes in democratizing access to smart city technology, and Georgia Smart is a great entry point, especially for cities with limited resources. The Partnership provides program management for our programs, meaning it’s not just funding that is awarded, but also help in making sure that funding is applied in the most efficient way, help with reporting, help from other Georgia Smart communities in tackling common problems that arise, help with community engagement and adoption, and lasting relationships that will offer ongoing support. The Partnership will even help you apply for national awards for your project to tell your story to others who can benefit.

We will also help you formulate proposal ideas and find partners to create a proposal. Please schedule a meeting with the Community Research Manager, Katie O’Connor, to discuss your ideas here!

Key Dates

  • Applications open March 31st – May 15th, 2023
  • Informational Webinar #1 – April 11th, 2023, 2:00 pm (Register Here)
  • Informational Webinar #2 – May 3rd, 2023, 4:00 pm (Register Here)
  • Project timelines should span August 2023 – September 2024

What is a Community Research Team?

Georgia Smart activates collaborations between municipalities and higher education faculty to advance smart cities initiatives across Georgia.

A community-research team includes, at a minimum, one (1) Project Lead from a municipality and two (2) researchers from a higher education institution. Teams should be multi-disciplinary and multi-university.

What Does a Successful Georgia Smart Project Look Like?

Contact Us

E-mail with general questions. For in-depth program questions or if you would like to meet with the Community Research Manager, please use this link to schedule a meeting.

Apply Now
Join Us

Join Us to Advance Inclusive Innovation