DIGITAL projects across Scotland’s seven cities will benefit from £24 million of investment to help turn them into “world-leading” innovation hubs, making them more internationally competitive and boosting economic growth.

The Smart Cities Scotland programme aims to make services including street lighting, health care and public safety more efficient and greener, while making the cities more attractive to potential investors.

It was allocated £10 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), which will be matched with £14m from each of the cities.

Perth, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling will see improved waste amenities with “smart bin” technology being introduced.

Sensors will alert services to empty bins only when they are full, while similar technology will be piloted in street lighting to make energy savings and cut emissions. The “smart” ambitions of Scotland’s cities are connected to projects they believe will help them become some of the most desirable places to live and work and put them among the most sustainable locations in the world.

Aberdeen, Perth, Stirling and Glasgow are piloting intelligent street lighting, which will deliver energy savings and enhanced public and road safety. It uses LED bulbs and sensors to control the lights, and reduces CO2 emissions.

Among other initiatives are an innovation hub in Perth, which will develop new digital and creative businesses, and data publication platforms introducing data analytics, which will allow cities to make more informed decisions and in turn improve efficiency. Economy Secretary Keith Brown, left, announced the European funding at the inaugural Smart Cities Scotland launch last year.

He said: “Through the Scottish Cities Alliance we are working to boost Scotland’s cities and make them smarter. This £24m investment will use smart city technology to transform our cities into world-leading digital hubs which will improve services and empower residents.”

Glasgow leads on the Smart Cities programme for the alliance and Scotland’s cities will build on the work of its award-winning Future City Glasgow programme, which created a world-leading operations centre catapulting the city to the forefront of smart cities technology.

Glasgow City Council leader Frank McAveety, who is also chairman of Future City Glasgow, said: “Glasgow, as lead city for this programme in Scotland, worked with our partners across the country both to submit this bid and show how the use of data can benefit us all socially and economically.

“Our success in pioneering smart city technologies is something we will continue to build on to deliver transformed services for residents, businesses and visitors.”Scottish Cities Alliance chairman Andrew Burns said: “By working together Scotland’s cities are utilising economies of scale to learn individually and share that knowledge collectively, to be at the cutting edge of Smart City technology and the benefits that brings.

“Our inter-city approach to developing Smart City solutions has been praised publicly by the European Commission and we have attracted the attention of other nations who are looking to emulate our collaborative model.”

Jenny Laing, leader of Aberdeen City Council, said it had embarked on its smart city journey in 2012, and was delivering a substantial transformation, with a £1 billion capital programme already in place. “With the Smart Cities Projects including smart infrastructure, open data, energy operation and smart services, we are striving to ensure that both the people of Aberdeen and the businesses in our city have a bright future,” she said.

Ken Guild leader of Dundee City Council said: “Dundee is already at the forefront of clean, efficient, integrated transport solutions and this grant will help us to demonstrate how some of the more theoretical projects could work in the real world.”

Other city leaders were equally enthusiastic about the funding - Margaret Davidson, from the Highland Council said: “Smart technologies offer a range of opportunities for the region and this investment will support innovative technology in several key projects including traffic management, public transport and other services.”

Perth and Kinross Council’s Ian Miller, said: “Pooling our efforts through the Scottish Cities Alliance allows us to learn from our partner cities, and achieve economies of scale when pursuing new technologies.”

Johanna Boyd, from Stirling Council, added: “The Open Data project in particular will fit well with our proposal to establish a Digital District in Stirling.”