Connected Places Catapult welcomes Prof Greg Clark CBE as new chair to help spearhead new chapter

Connected Places Catapult today, 8th June 2020, announces the appointment of a new chair, Prof Greg Clark CBE. Greg takes on his new role following Terry Hill CBE who is stepping down. A world-renowned 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.

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.”

Clark works with HSBC as a global executive leading their work on cities and mobility and with TFL as a non-exec board member. Both organisations welcomed the appointment.

Mark Tucker, Group Chairman, HSBC Holdings and ChairmanTheCityUK said “I am delighted to congratulate CPC on making the appointment of Prof Greg Clark as their Chair. Cities are the frontier in the drive for innovation and sustainability, and the UK can be the global leader by building dynamic partnerships between business, finance, science and government.”

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.

Sir Richard Leese, Leader, City of Manchester commented: “I am delighted to welcome this appointment. UK cities increasingly recognise the need to integrate transport and mobility with placemaking and city life. COVID-19 will require us to risk assure our cities and transport systems in new ways if we are win bac the confidence of the public. One way we can do that is to embrace new technologies to provide much better public information  about what is being done to keep people safe and to offer them clear choices about how to travel and to enjoy our cities.” 

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.”  

Dr Paul Orders, CEO, City & County of Cardiff remarked on how essential it is to resolve coordination problems in cities and how important transport is in making that possible: “Following numerous attempts at establishing a vehicle for the city-region, the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal established for the first time a formal governance structure for the ten local authorities. In partnership with the UK and Welsh Government, the City Deal kick-started investment in a new metro transport system and an integrated approach to innovation and economic development underpinned by a £1.2bn investment fund. Prof Greg Clark chaired the Growth and Competitiveness Commission that established the principles of the collaboration, bringing together a shared vision that required his unique skills to navigate and untangle the complex web of regional stakeholder interests. We are delighted to see him take on this new role for the UK.”

Suzanne Wylie, Chief Executive, Belfast City Council recognised the key role of technology in improving city finances:  “The City of Belfast worked with Connected Places Catapult to generate a new system that has dramatically improved our ability to track and collect business rates. For all UK cities moving towards greater financial self-reliance the ability to utilise new technology systems that capture the dynamics changes in business activities and the multiple functions of premises and other locations is key to fair taxation of activity. We ae delighted to see Greg Clark appointed to the role of chair of Connected Places Catapult. Greg led several OECD reviews of Belfast over the past 20 years that have guided our progress.”   

The new appointment has also been welcomed by key national and international stakeholders in the connected places market.

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.


For more information about Connected Places Catapult, please visit

1. Additional quotes from industry leaders

Amy Liu Vice President and Director of the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Programme.

“The Brookings Metro Program has been pioneering research and strategies for over 20 years that link metropolitan economic innovation, human capital, with integrated land use and transportation planning. The future of real estate and connected places will continue to evolve in the face of new technologies, changing demographics, and now a global pandemic. These will bring critical opportunities to ensure places we renew and connect enable new growth, economic opportunities, and the health and safety of people. We have a strong history of collaboration with organisations in the UK and we welcome the appointment of Brookings Global Fellow Greg Clark as chair of the Connected Places Catapult.”

Prof Sir Jim McDonald. Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Strathclyde University.

“The UK’s catapult system is critical to how the nation recovers from COVID19 and accelerates its transition to an innovation rich economy that can trade confidently with the world. The connected Places Catapult must play a key role in both driving the innovations in mobility systems and place making, and in implementing them across our countries to improve labour and land productivity in all regions. We are delighted to see Greg Clark – a Visiting Professor at Strathclyde – appointed to the role of CPC Chair and look forward to collaborating with CPC in the coming months and years.”

Mr Khoo Teng Chye, Executive Director, Centre for Liveable Cities, Singapore

“The Centre for Liveable Cities (CLC) has worked closely with Prof. Greg for our World Cities Summit (WCS) Mayors Forum, an annual by-invitation-only global gathering of mayors and city leaders, since 2012. By working with Prof. Greg, we have been able to further our commitment to provide urban leaders and practitioners with the knowledge and support needed to make our cities better, and better collaborate with our international network of partners to build knowledge, expand networks and create opportunities and platforms. We look forward to further collaboration with Connected Places Catapult under Prof. Greg’s leadership, for the upcoming World Cities Summit 2021 and joint research collaboration opportunities in the coming years.”

Tom Wright, President and CEO, Regional Plan Association of New York.

“For almost 100 years, the Regional Plan Association has prepared long-range plans for the New York metropolitan area. These plans have shaped the city and region’s transportation networks and guided its growth and prosperity. In 2017, we were honoured to have Professor Greg Clark co-chair the International Advisory Committee for RPA’s Fourth Regional Plan. Greg convened a global network of leading thinkers and practitioners to help New York re-conceive its transportation systems for the 21st century, pointing the way towards an integrated, modern and customer-oriented system. We congratulate Greg’s appointment as new Chair of CPC and look forward to continuing our collaboration.”

Dr Ellie Cosgrave, Director UCL Urban Innovation and Policy Lab

“The UCL Urban Innovation and Policy Lab brings together world-class academic scholarship, public authorities, global firms and local SMEs and artists to create a unique environment for urban experimentation, research, teaching and – most importantly – for action.

Greg Clark is Honorary Professor in our Lab and we are delighted to see his appointment as chair of the Connected Places Catapult.”

2. Connected Places Catapult

The Connected Places Catapult accelerates smarter living and travelling in and between the places of tomorrow. We focus on growing businesses with innovations in mobility services and the built environment that enable new levels of physical, digital and social connectedness. The Connected Places Catapult operates at the intersection between public and private sectors and between local government and transport authorities. We convene the disparate parts of the market to help innovators navigate the complexity of doing business, creating new commercial opportunities and improving productivity, socio-economic and environmental benefits for places.

3. Prof Greg Clark CBE FAcSS

N.B. Prof Greg Clark CBE is not Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, Chair of House of Commons Science and Technology Committee and former Sec of State for Business, Energy and Industry Strategy.  They have many common interests and alumnae groups but are different people.

Greg is Global Head of Future Cities & New Industries at HSBC Group where he leads the bank’s work on cities and mobility with its global client base in 63 countries and 300 cities. He is also a member of the board of Transport for London and chairman of TfL’s Investment and Programmes Committee. He was previously chair of four bodies: The OECD Forum of Cities & Regions, The London Stansted Cambridge Consortium, The JLL Cities Research Centre, and British BIDs.  He served on the Crossrail 2 Growth Commission, the West Anglia Task Force, the West End Commission, and the UK Cities Competitiveness Commission.

Greg chaired the Cardiff Productivity and Competitiveness Commission and has contributed to numerous strategic reviews for the cities of Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Belfast, and Liverpool.  He is also a Board member of the London LEP, where he leads on London’s Industrial Strategy. He is Hon Prof of Urban Innovation and Policy at UCL and Strathclyde University, and founder of The Business of Cities, a UK-based urban analytics start-up that works with clients in 20 countries. He is Global Fellow at the Brookings Institution, Senior Fellow at the Urban Land Institute, and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. Greg has worked with more than 200 cities on 5 continents. He is member of the World Economic Forum Future Council on Cities & Urbanisation. He is an urban expert on the BBC World Service Series, My Perfect City. He is author of ten books and 100 reports on cities, mobility, innovation, and leadership.