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Smart Communities Initiative accepting proposals for second year

SCI Cleveland

The 2015-16 academic year will be the official roll-out of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Smart Communities Initiative.  SCI is  now accepting proposals from cities, counties, special districts, and regional partnerships to be the municipal partner host for 2015-16.  The deadline for proposals is January 23, 2015.

The successful municipal applicant will benefit from between 40,000 and 80,000 hours of research and study by students and faculty members across disciplines, working to advance partner goals tied to environmental sustainability, economic viability, and social integrity.  The municipal partner shall be actively engaged as well, providing collaborative support for the joint effort through contributed staff time and the payment of a fee that helps cover expenses.

This will be the second year of operation for the SCI program. The University is  currently in the process of a pilot year partnership with the City of Cleveland, Tenn.  Thirteen faculty and over 425 students across disciplines are now engaging with Cleveland city staff in a collection of projects tied to the City’s comprehensive planning efforts. Many of the projects are connected to their Central City Area Plan, focused on infill development and reuse within their urban core. Projects range from redevelopment planning to economic feasibility and cost/benefit projections and the development of a cohesive marketing and branding strategy for the city. For more about SCI’s work with Cleveland, please click here.SCI staff will match projects proposed by the selected partner with academic courses in alignment with faculty research interests and semester teaching assignments. Faculty teaching SCI courses and their students will work through a variety of inquiry-based approaches to examine problems, engage citizens and local stakeholders, pitch new ideas and possible approaches, and propose a comprehensive set of recommendations. Through the leveraging of interdisciplinary research and scholarship, community dialogue, human capacity, and innovation, municipal and university partners will collaborate toward the pursuit of smarter, more vibrant communities.

The 2015-16 Request for Proposals guideline can be found HERE and on the UTK Service-Learning website.

For more information about SCI, contact Kelly Ellenburg, program manager for SCI, at or Greg Thomas, planning director for the city of Cleveland, TN at

The deadline for proposals is January 23, 2015.