Sofia to Prototype Smart, Informed and Evidence-Based Policies as Part of the EC’s PolicyCLOUD Project (interview)

3 August, 2020

Sofia Municipality won a place in the European Commission’s PolicyCLOUD Project that aims at creating a cloud-based tool for effective policy modelling, testing and management through data analysis and visualization. A variety of pilot projects have been included in the programme activities, including for Sofia.

The team of the EU Horizon 2020 project started a podcast series known as ‘The PolicyCloud Podcast’ that focuses on the PolicyCloud pilot cases. Listen to the episode with Nadia Soultanova and Iskra Yovkova from Innovative Sofia to learn more about how Sofia will be using different categories of data to improve the urban environment and meet the challenges that the city is facing through evidence-based policy making.

As part of our participation in the PolicyCloud project, Sofia Municipality will be using different categories of data – from existing sources (the Call Sofia call centre for citizens’ signals) and from new open data sets of the EU, which will be accessible to Sofia and the other 15 European cities in PolicyCLOUD. 


Another important contribution of Sofia to the project will be the development of a thorough analytical report, that will provide:

  • a view of the current cloud infrastructures and big data technologies used from public administrations
  • the different mechanisms, methods and technologies used for policy lifecycle
  • a proposition of a set of adaptable techniques towards the utilization of cloud
  • environments for policy creation.

This task will provide the methodology for the creation of policies exploiting cloud infrastructures and big data technologies. To this end, the methodology will specify how to exploit the value of different mechanisms (e.g. data modelling, semantic representation and interoperability, metadata management, heterogeneous datasets linking and aggregation, analytics for knowledge extraction, and contextualization) during the policy lifecycle (modelling, creation, testing and simulation, monitoring and enforcement) in the scope of cloud environments (including for example resources reservation, data management, etc). The methodology will also include approaches for the examination of public authorities policy-making structures and their systems maturity to absorb and analyze data in common cloud infrastructures in order to propose a set of adaptable techniques towards the utilization of cloud environments for policies creation.

Evidence-based policy making is crucial for addressing urban challenges in a cost-efficient way, however, there is yet no established process to incorporate data into policy making. The PolicyCLOUD project will support Sofia Municipality to address this challenge by adapting the design of its policies, considering analytics’ results that combine information (big data) of sectors, related to a) transport, parking and road infrastructure; b) waste collection and waste disposal; c) cleanliness of public spaces; d) ecology, green systems; e) violation of public order; and others, of importance to citizens. The proposed technologies will offer the advantage to interpret, manage and analyse big amounts of data both from existing data sources (citizens’ Contact Centre) and from new data sources (open data sets that will become available). 

By using the powerful tools provided by the PolicyCloud project, Sofia Municipality will be able to adopt or modify adequate policy making decisions on budget planning and the effective use of budget and public resources. It will also help Sofia Municipality be focused on improving its policy making, related to better control and monitoring in these sectors, as well as preventing/ avoiding risky or conflicting situations from happening.

Sofia’s use case aims to support Sofia Municipality’s policy making in important areas of citizen’s areas of everyday life. By improving the policy making in these areas, the overall quality of citizen’s life will be improved, which is the overall goal of this project. In addition, by participating in the PolicyCLOUD project, we are happy to promote data-driven innovation, public administration and public sector innovation and contribute to the development of a tool that can be used by other policy makers as well.