Pittsburgh is bursting with technology and innovation startups; it’s only natural that the City of Pittsburgh is motivated to innovate too. Last week, the City announced its Roadmap for Inclusive Innovation.

This week, it announced a national partnership with the White House to use technology to tackle issues facing cities today.

On Monday, September 14th, Carnegie Mellon University and the City of Pittsburgh announced their founding membership in the MetroLab Network at a press conference in Washington, D.C. The program involves 20 cities and over 25 universities working together to solve challenges facing cities today.

CMU and the City of Pittsburgh have already been working together to create a smarter city.

Since July 2014, the City and CMU have worked together through Metro21. Metro21 is a research and educational initiative that uses resources across the university to improve the quality of life and economy of the city through research, development and deployment. The partnership between CMU and the City has created optimized snowplow operations, rentable air quality monitors and a Yelp-inspired rental home search engine.

With more projects and research starting in the next year, the initiative is changing the way the city operates.

The national MetroLab Network initiative wants to build on these innovations across the country.

“The Network will provide a platform upon which established and emerging city-university relationships can share successful projects, coordinate multi-city, multi-university research efforts and compete for research and project funding,” explained a statement from the White House.

The city-university partnerships provide benefits for each side. Universities get to use their research and technology in a real-world setting, and city governments have the information and experience to implement the initiatives effectively.

The founding members of the Network have collectively committed to taking on over 60 projects in the next year with the goal to improve city infrastructure and “increase the productivity and competitiveness of our regional economies.”

CMU Provost Farnam Jahanian and Mayor Bill Peduto attended the event at the White House.

“Since solidifying our partnership with Carnegie Mellon University through the Metro21 initiative, the City has become an urban lab where investigators have found practical applications for their research, allowing our city to do more with less,” said Peduto in a statement. “We look forward to the ways this partnership will expand and strengthen through our participation in the MetroLab Network.”

CMU has received a $1 million grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to cover administrative costs of the Network, and hire an executive director.

The Network includes cities and universities across the country. In Pennsylvania, the initiative has two cities, Pittsburgh with CMU, and Philadelphia partnering with Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania.

Read more about the MetroLab Network on the White House’s website.

Emma Diehl

Emma Diehl is a writer, blogger, and social media marketer working in tech and startups in Pittsburgh. She loves local craft beer and a well-crafted pun.