SOFIA DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION was founded as non-profit organization with the decision 348
of the Sofia Municipal Council to work for the sustainable development of the capital.


Hack & Design Challenge 01-04.03.2019 in SofiaLab

On 1st of March in SofiaLab (1 Serdika Str, 3rd fl) starts Hack & Design Challenge. The event is organized by Data Science Society in partnership with Sofia Development Association. From 1st to 4th of March the video game industry will cooperate with developers of artificial intelligence. The challenges will be to make games with elements of AI (to produce a certain number of AI games by category). They will enable the expansion of creativity, knowledge and aesthetics of all game designers, players, game developers, and AI researchers.

SDA is a project knowledge partner in the NGS project under the Danube Transnational programme, co-founded by the EU funds (ERDF and IPA),

Interregional Learning Workshop in Tampere

The last 10th Interregional Learning Workshop of InnoBridge project was held in Tampere, Finland, on February 20 and 21, 2019. After nearly three years of policy dialogues with stakeholders, sharing best practices and experiences with other European regions, promoting collaborations to address common challenges, project partners subjected to a final peer review their Action plans, aiming to improve city or regional level policy instruments that support research, development and innovation, particularly for SME. Sofia Development Association is focusing on the public-private Sofia Fund for Innovations, established in 2013. The Action plans setting the measures and targets for the second phase of the project - from April 2019 to March 2021, are now finalised, using the experience and expertise of the whole consortium. Project partners are now equipped with the road map and the toolbox to boost innovations locally.

InnoBridge is an INTERREG EUROPE project cofounded by EU’s ERDF.

International Conference “Towards Successful R&D Commercialization”

Many European regions set a goal to transform themselves into leaders in developing the 21st century technologies and increasing commercialization of new technologies. To this end different strategies, policy instruments and funding mechanisms have been launched, aiming to speed up the university R&D cycle, promote entrepreneurship and innovation culture, to provide access for SMEs to research infrastructure and R&D results. The InnoBridge project partners organized an international conference in Tampere, Finland on February 19, 2019 to hear from stakeholders and analyse what we have learned and achieved so far in this area.

Speakers from universities, regional operational programmes from eight European regions, regional and local authorities, representatives of the private sector and NGOs pointed out the importance of human capital, of EU level policies, partnerships and collaborations. Sevdalina Voynova participated in the panel discussion on the new role of the public sector in fostering innovation.

The InnoBridge project is funded through the INTERREG EUROPE programme, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund of the EU.


INTEGRA Partnership Looks Ahead

INTEGRA project partners had their third meeting in Sofia on February 13-15, 2019. The meeting was attended by all six project partners from five countries – Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Italy and Slovakia - and their stakeholders. The topic of the meeting was Advocacy and information campaign for better integration of third country nationals. Partners shared the results of their City Integration Audit and Agendas, the goals of their local efforts and their achievements so far. Interesting testimonies were shared:

A Ukrainian student expressed his astonishment that someone would ask him how to improve services for TCN and would take his opinion seriously – he had never experienced anything similar at home.”

We learned a lot from this project – we analyzed the situation, studied what the other partners and cities are doing, and decided that more could be done in our city, too.

“Lack of conflict does not necessarily mean integration, it may signal lack of communication.”

Stakeholders that participated in the meeting – from city officials to NGO experts, from representatives of international bodies to TCN organizations and state authorities - also shared their own experience, current activities and aspirations. As part of the partner meeting we visited the St. Ana Integration Center, run by Caritas-Sofia.

The Mayor of Rubano Mrs. Sabrina Doni met with the Deputy-Mayor of Sofia Mr. Todor Chobanov in the framework of the project meeting. Both leaders exchanged experiences and ideas for more effective integration of foreign-born citizens and reconfirmed the role of city-to-city cooperation to achieve that.

The most important thing is for migrants to understand they are community, said Mrs. Doni to the reporter of

Project partners planned their further activities and campaign.

INTEGRA project is funded by the European Union's Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.

More about the project is available at




Deputy Mayor of Sofia Municipality, Assoc. Prof. Todor Chobanov, met with the Mayor of Rubano, Italy, Mrs. Sabrina Doni, and Deputy Mayor of Rubano, Mrs. Stefania Donega. The heads of the two municipalities exchanged experience on how they work for the full integration of third-country nationals. Although different in size and geography, Sofia and Rubano face similar challenges in facilitating the access to the labour market, education and housing of legally residing non-EU citizens.

The meeting took place within the framework of the INTEGRA project, funded by the EU Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund, whose leading partner is Sofia Development Association. More information on the project can be found at

The Joint Research Centre of the European Commission officially launched the pilot project "Science Meets Regions / Parliaments" in which the city of Sofia participates

On 06th and 07th February 2019 in Brussels was held the conference "Science Meets Regions / Parliaments - The Role of Science in 21st Century Policy-Making". The event was organized in connection with the official launch of the Joint Research Centre’s pilot project in partnership with the Committee of the Regions to organize a number of events in European cities to improve communication between academics and policy-makers as well as the provision of validated research information on key themes for decision-makers.

During the event, there were also lectures on the impact of artificial intelligence and cyber security on society, as well as parallel workshops where participants actively shared their plans for meeting their responsibilities to organize events in their countries and cities.

A representative of the "Sofia Development Association” took part in the meetings and learnt about the methodology and specifics of the requirements for the organization of an innovation camp in Sofia within the framework of the "Science meets Regions" project, and also exchanged experience and ideas with the representatives of the cities Nijmegen (Netherlands) and Ghent (Belgium) and the districts of Catalonia (Spain) and Bavaria (Germany), which are also going to organize innovation camps within the pilot project. During the workshops our representative shared information with the other participants in the pilot project on the actions planned by the Sofia Development Association and the Sofia Municipality to organize the innovation camp planned for March 2019.

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