The FinEst Twins Smart City Centre of Excellence has opened an international idea competition to find research-based solutions targeting actual urban challenges. The best ideas will receive a grant for development and piloting during; one project can be allocated with up to 1.5 million euros financing, the total budget of the challenge is 15 million euros over the next 7 years.

The goal of the competition is to make our cities more user-friendly and energy-efficient using technologies. We are mainly looking for research-based innovative solutions tackling the challenges of urban transport, energy and built environment, but also how to use the data smartly and make the governance of cities more effective. There has to be at least two cities or city-like municipalities involved in each pilot project and one of these has to be from Estonia. The Centre of Excellence together with Estonian municipalities has mapped 10 most relevant challenges of the cities. Each idea has to address at least one of the challenges via research and innovation activities and direct involvement of cities.

„We plan to bring research and development to the streets making participating cities testbeds of novel solutions with active involvement of citizens. To our knowledge, this is a globally unique approach as we match actual city challenges with research excellence in a participatory way. The outcome of our pilots will be research-based prototypes that have been tested at least in two cities (at least one from Estonia). Each solution has to show a potential for international growth,“ expressed Ralf-Martin Soe, the Founding Director of the FinEst Twins Smart City Centre of Excellence

According to Soe, this competition is open to everybody, although the main target groups are researchers, engineers, development managers, designers, entrepreneurs and other active people with some previous involvement with the research and development activities. The pilots will be implemented by the FinEst Twins Smart City Centre of Excellence with active involvement of researchers from TalTech and Aalto universities and cities.  

Jan Trei, Member of the Evaluation Committee and Deputy Director of the Association of Estonian Cities and Municipalities, is encouraging local authorities to be active in presenting their ideas for the challenge and to involve the researchers of TalTech and Aalto.  He explained that “The ideas will be proposed involving concrete cities and municipalities, so it will be for our own benefit”.

The ideas can be proposed until November 6 through the competition webpage taltech.ee/en/smartcity. The best ideas will be chosen at the beginning of December by the international evaluation committee and the first 1-4 large scale pilot projects will start from January 2021. All 10 pilot project will be carried out in 2021–2027.

The FinEst Twins Smart City Centre of Excellence will implement ten research based pilot solutions. Each idea has to address at least one of the challenges via research and innovation activities and direct involvement of cities. The pilots will be financed by the European Regional Fund and the Estonian Government (Ministry of Education and Research). 

The FinEst Twins Smart City Centre of Excellence aims to  improve city environments by piloting new technologies and developing into a world level research and innovation centre.

The FinEst Twins Centre of Excellence has been founded by Tallinn University of Technology, Aalto University, Forum Virium Helsinki and Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communication.

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