Sofia Joins the “Regional and Local Data Driven Innovation Through Collective Intelligence and Sandboxing” Project of the European Commission

24 March, 2021


The City of Sofia has been included and begins its participation in the European Commission’s international project “Regional and Local Data Driven Innovation Through Collective Intelligence and Sandboxing”.

The project is run by the Joint Research Center (JRC), the EC’s science and knowledge service, which conducts independent research to provide scientific data, advice, and support for EU policies. It is also part of a broader activity – ELISE (European Location Interoperability Solutions for e-Government), which aims to develop digital governance through geospatial data and develop and provide a package of legal, policy, organizational, semantic, and technical interoperability solutions to facilitate more efficient and effective digital cross-border or cross-sectoral interaction and data reuse.

Within the project, the potential consequences of different management approaches, business models, and technical solutions for innovation in the public sector will be explored through activities in sandboxes for innovation. Shared data from local and regional ecosystems will be used during the process. At the end of the programme, Sofia and other participating cities are expected to have well-developed individual policies for working with sandboxes for innovative solutions and knowledge on how to cultivate and maintain a good environment for the participation of local companies and other local ecosystem players in creating and implementing urban environment solutions.

The project is performed in a consortium between Technopolis Group, PwC, Open Evidence and Open & Agile Smart Cities and the 12 European cities accepted for participation, including Sofia. The other network cities are Ages (Denmark), Amsterdam (Netherlands), Barcelona (Spain), Bordeaux (France), Ghent (Belgium), Helsinki (Finland), Poznan (Poland), Rome (Italy), Santander (Spain) and Tempera (Finland).

The  team of Innovative Sofia, on behalf of the Sofia Municipality, will lead and coordinate the city’s participation in the project over the next 18 months.


We are going to work in a network with the cities and companies in the consortium in the following areas:

–       Experimenting with new technical and organisational approaches to leverage on the potential of data for delivering more efficient and effective public services

–       Sharing knowledge and experiences with the other cities in the network

–       Increasing the city’s abilities to create and sustain local and regional data-generating systems for public value  

–       Giving a practical meaning to the concept of “data driven innovations” by running experiments and collaborative activities within the Consortium with other European cities


The project aims at:

  • Analysing existing data ecosystems at regional and/or local level
  • Experimenting with sandboxes for innovation – namely agile and inclusive testing in technical environments of data-driven innovations, including participation through a co-design approach with the city administrations
  • Collecting lessons learned, in order to assess the degree of sustainability of the governance approaches identified and the level of agility and innovation of sandboxing
  • Developing policy and research recommendations on the governance and business models explored for data-driven innovation at sub-national level


As far as the sandboxing is concerned, the project will address at least three of the following priority topics:

  • Improving the data flows between multiple players in the data economy (e.g. B2G, G2B, G2G, government to citizen, etc.)
  • Ensuring the interoperability of data between stakeholders, across sectors and between different levels of governance;
  • Developing inclusive governance approaches in cities and regions, including the role of data, the establishment of sustainable business models that benefit to the maximum extent different stakeholders, and the choice of enabling technologies, standards and architectures possibly based on the technical specifications, and others.

You can find more information about the “Regional and local data driven innovation through collective intelligence and sandboxing” project” on the programme’s website.

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