Peterborough DNA: Future cities programme

As one of the UK’s 4 future city demonstrators, Peterborough DNA was a programme created to deliver a step-change in how the city worked.

In 2012, the Government’s Technology Strategy Board (now Innovate UK), launched a UK-wide future cities competition to demonstrate how cities could take a new approach to how they run.

With a bid developed through collaboration between public, private and third sector organisations, Peterborough came second and was awarded £3million. As a result, the ‘Peterborough DNA’ programme was born to test an implement the ideas, innovations and new systems that were brought forward. It built on the excellent work already underway in the city and set out how Peterborough could be transformed through economic and environmental sustainability.

Peterborough DNA had 4 key strands:

  • Smart Business – Ensuring long-term benefit and impact by equipping businesses to collaborate and work smarter in order to become more sustainable
  • Innovation – Identifying and solving city challenges and encouraging innovation and entrepreneurial activity in the city, driven through the Brainwave Innovation Portal
  • Living Data – Making data more accessible for businesses, communities and public sector staff to better understand Peterborough
  • Skills For Our Future – Inspiring the city’s young people through real-life opportunities to drive the development of local skills to meet the city’s business needs and growth ambitions


  • Innovation Challenge Fund – helped local companies bring innovative products to market
  • Test Bed Fund – enabled companies to trial innovative solutions in real business environments to help improve prototypes and bring them into the market

Brainwave Innovations Portal

Brainwave InnovationsA key part of Peterborough DNA, Brainwave was a free to use online platform to share and discuss city challenges.

Whether the challenge was growing populations or managing big data, Brainwave was about collaboratively developing solutions and helping Peterborough to become a smarter city.

Peterborough DNA was the tester phase of Peterborough’s UK Future City Demonstrator work. Projects that created high impact are now being implemented under the Future Peterborough project. Please visit our Future Peterborough project page for more information.