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Prof Greg Clark to Chair Connected Places Catapult

Clark joins the Connected Places Catapult at a time of demonstrable growth and progressive change accelerated by the global impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic

08 June 2020
Professor Greg Clark CBE
Professor Greg Clark CBE


The Connected Places Catapult has announced the appointment of a new chair, Professor Greg Clark CBE. Greg takes on his new role following Terry Hill CBE who is stepping down. An authority on urban innovation, future cities and mobility, Greg joins the Connected Places Catapult at a time of demonstrable growth and progressive change accelerated by the global impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic. He will serve on a renewable three-year mandate.

Clark works with HSBC as a global executive leading their work on cities and mobility, and with Transport for London as a non-exec board member. Both organisations welcomed the appointment. The new appointment has also been welcomed by key national and international stakeholders in the connected places market.

The City of Glasgow is working closely with Connected Places Catapult and Energy Systems Catapult to create a pioneering integrated plan for land, buildings, mobility, and services that will drive our path to net zero carbon by 2030. We will launch this plan at COP26 in 2021

Connected Places Catapult is the UK’s centre of excellence for innovation in mobility and the built environment. It was formed by the merger of the Future Cities Catapult and the Transport Systems Catapult in April 2019 to grow UK businesses and accelerate smarter living and travelling in and between the places of tomorrow. It operates at the intersection between public and private sectors and between local government and transport authorities to help shape infrastructure investments, driving innovation and generating new commercial opportunities for UK Plc at home and abroad.

CEO of Connected Places Catapult, Nicola Yates OBE said “On behalf the staff, the Senior Team, and myself, we wish to thank Terry Hill for his dedicated leadership and service to CPC. With our refreshed strategy and working agreement with Innovate UK in place, we are ready to start a new chapter in the life of our organisation. We want to welcome Greg and the other new Board Members who will join shortly as we redouble our efforts to support UK businesses and pioneering places address the opportunities for innovation the current moment brings.”

Prof Greg Clark CBE said “I am delighted to join Connected Places Catapult at this important time. COVID-19 has been a tragedy for our society and a major shock for our economy, but it can also propel us forwards by encouraging the adoption of new modes and patterns of travel, as well as more efficient ways to use buildings and deliver urban services and public spaces”.

Sir Mark Walport, Chairman and CEO of UK Research and Innovation added “I thank Terry Hill for his superb leadership of Connected Places Catapult, and welcome Greg Clark as the new chair. Connected Places Catapult provides the centre of excellence in technology innovation and systems decarbonisation that our mobility industries and cities need to raise the bar for the whole of the UK and increase our trade with the world.”

Terry Hill commented, “I leave Connected Places Catapult in good health and in good hands.” He continues “It has been a great honour to serve as chair of both the Transport Systems Catapult and the Connected Places Catapult. We have delivered an effective merger that is now ready to bear fruit. Our built environment and transport systems are critical to how we recover from COVID-19 and rebuild momentum. I wish the new chair every success.”

Heidi Alexander, Deputy Mayor of London and Deputy Chair of TfL added “The UK needs to be a leader in 21st Century Transport systems just as we were in the 19th Century. Using new technologies to increase passenger satisfaction, reduce carbon emissions, improve air quality, and make shared transport safe for the riding public, requires us to adopt new business models and embrace collaboration.”  

The appointment has been welcomed by cities from across the UK including Manchester, Glasgow, Cardiff and Belfast.

Cllr Susan Aitken, Leader, Glasgow City Council, who will host COP26 meeting next year stated: “The City of Glasgow is working closely with Connected Places Catapult and Energy Systems Catapult to create a pioneering integrated plan for land, buildings, mobility, and services that will drive our path to net zero carbon by 2030. We will launch this plan at COP26 in 2021. I am delighted to welcome Greg Clark to his new role as chair of Connected Places Catapult. Greg has been an active friend for Glasgow for several decades and will bring great commitment to this important venture.” 


A new chapter for Connected Places Catapult and the connected places market

The arrival of Professor Clark marks the start of a new chapter for the Connected Places Catapult.  Even before the advent of COVID-19, the Connected Places Catapult had identified two key priorities for their work: to ensure that wider use of new technologies accelerating the path to zero carbon buildings and transportation in the UK, and the drive to level up the economic performance across all parts of the country.

COVID-19 has accelerated both the opportunity and the imperative to deliver those strategic goals. For example, it has instigated an immediate shift towards remote working which could transform the geography of labour and housing markets, potentially reducing congestion in the big cities and creating new opportunities for different parts of the country to attract or retain workers. Technology will play key roles in supporting and incentivising these new behaviours. Coupled with wider decarbonisation in the production of energy, food, construction materials, and consumer products through circularisation processes, these have the potential to support a better distribution of prosperity at the same time as reducing carbon emissions.

As Professor Clark says: “If we get this right, we can fashion a better spread of economic activity around our country, and we can reduce our carbon emissions at the same time. This requires new enterprises, and reformed business models, and Connected Places Catapult is here to help spark and nurture those changes, to write a new chapter for better connected places. I wish to thank Terry Hill for his exceptional leadership and continued gracious advice”.

The experience of COVID-19 and social distancing has also stimulated changes in the way people and goods travel, with implications for the planning and management of transport networks, new mobility services, and supply chains. Enabling safe, socially distant mobility is an immediate need. Longer-term, the trend towards shorter supply chains and reshoring of vital manufacturing roles, will demand an expansion of the connections between cities and regions, allowing new patterns of trade and productivity. Delivering such changes while reducing our collective environmental impact will involve progressively greater use of next generation technologies such as satellites, robots and new aviation models, as well as widespread adoption of system improvements like integrated payments, smarter traveller data, mobility-as-a-service networks, and dynamic road user charging.

At a time of unprecedented change to our society and the way we live, Connected Places Catapult looks forward to the next chapter and will help to pave the way for a better tomorrow.

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