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.

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City Residents Can Help Reduce the Spread of Covid-19 in Public Transport in Sofia


A new article about the project CO-APS emphasizes the role of digital technologies and the citizens’ active engagement in making more secure the public transport and shared urban places for the city residents. The project consortium will developed a mobile application for use by passengers for real-time data of the occupancy rate in public transport in the city. Sofia, along with Barcelona, Istanbul, and Karditsa will be the first to test it. CO-APS will deliver more options and choices for passengers – by choosing which service suits them best from the palm of their hand, the power lies with the passenger. For more information about the project and the launch of the mobile application, visit SDA’s website regularly. Read here more about the project ambition and activities.

Sofia Development Association invites you to take part in the final InnoBridge event: "Streamlining Public Support for SME Innovation"

Date: 30 September 2020
Venue: Online
Time: 09:30 - 12:30 CET
Language: English

Early evidence shows that the current COVID-19 pandemic has affected the SMEs and businesses around Europe. Now more than ever we need good policy responses to foster SME resilience, to help them grow stronger and more innovative after the crisis.

What are the measures implemented in different European countries and which have proven to be effective? Join the conference to discuss related issues and approaches with representatives of regions from Austria, Bulgaria, Finland, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal, and Spain. See the full program of the InnoBridge project event here.

Political figures, practitioners, researchers, policy makers, representatives of the business community and civil society will share experience and ideas on a wide range of topics: “Cities as innovation hubs,” “Connecting Danube Region SME challenges with local goals in place-based innovation policy,” “Making a difference through partnerships,” “How to foster innovation in SMEs.” We invite you to take this opportunity and to engage in a fruitful exchange with our panelists!

The working language of the event is English. It is free and open to the public, but you must register to gain access to the meeting. If you would like to participate, please register here.

InnoBridge is funded by the INTERREG EUROPE programme, cofunded by EU’s ERDF.

SDA Continues to Support the Integration of Third-country nationals in the Labor Market


The new publication of SDA focuses on the issue of integrating third-country nationals in the labor market in Bulgaria and is part of the project UMN - UnionMigrantNet and Cities Together for Integration. SDA is planning to organize seminars for local employers in order to assist them in hiring third-country nationals (TCNs). The events will ensure that all stakeholders are aware of the relevant regulations, and will stand against exploitation of and unfair competition between local and migrant workers, for full equal treatment in the labour market, in workplaces and in access to social protection and public services.

MOBILE TECHNOLOGY IN SUPPORT OF CITIZENS AND SAFE PUBLIC TRANSPORT


The partners of the CO-APS project, implemented with funding from the EIT Mobility COVID-19 response initiative, had their third online meeting on July 30, which focused on defining the functionalities of the mobile application and data analytics tools that will support city authorities and urban mobility centers in optimizing their public transport management. The mobile application built by CO-APS will rely on crowdsourcing and the active involvement of public transport users and volunteers. Using a combination of gamification elements and a system of rewards, the app will enable citizens to report of overcrowded buses, trams, metro stations, etc., so that the public transport officials can take appropriate measures to fix that.

The pilot testing of the app and the digital analytics tool in the partner cities of Istanbul, Karditsa, and Sofia will take place in October and November 2020. If you want to help us create a more secure public transport system in Sofia and to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, visit this website frequently for updates and information on how to get involved.

SDA shared its experience in the field of civic participation in a focus group of the project "Participatory Budgeting for Sofia"

On July 29, 2020, SDA took part in a sociological survey aimed at revealing citizens' attitudes towards public debate and civic activism, as well as ways of cooperation between the non-governmental sector and local government.

The long-term experience of the Association in working with both citizens and the Municipality of Sofia was the reason for the participation in the focus group with representatives of non-governmental organizations on a project of the Save Bulgaria Foundation. Examples of the successful cooperation of SDA with civil society organizations, the scientific community, business and local government are the activities for the implementation of the Strategy for Smart Specialization, the Strategy for Young People in Sofia and the Strategy for Development of Culture in Sofia. The activities include not only intensive work on projects, but also the organizing various events, including Sofia Innovation Camp, a number of hackathons on topics set by Sofia Municipality, and numerous trainings and meetings in the Sofia Innovation Laboratory - SofiaLab, which provides opportunities for young people to develop in the field of innovation, entrepreneurship and non-formal education.

Among the participants in the meeting were representatives of various non-governmental organizations. The project team presented examples of good practices in participatory budget management from other European cities, including Warsaw, Cluj and Antwerp. The upcoming activities of the project include holding an open one-month online consultation with the citizens of Sofia, through which to create the framework of the participatory budget, the creation of a report with summaries of focus groups and consultations and its submission to the Sofia Municipality Council with recommendations for future steps aiming at improvement of policies.

We will continue to cooperate and support the implementation of this project, which is directly related to one of the 4 areas of activity of SDA for 2020 - active citizenship.

LAUNCHING A NEW HORIZON2020 PROJECT ON TERRITORIAL DEVELOPMENT AND GOVERNANCE

SDA is a partner of the new Horizon2020 project RRI-LEADERS - Leveraging Leadership for Responsible Research and Innovation in Territories.

The project adopts a meso-level approach, and will explore the application and sustainability of the RRI (responsible research and innovation) paradigm within territorial innovation systems. In RRI-LEADERS a “territory” is understood as a confluence between three interconnected primary aspects: geographical location, socio-economic and cultural bonds, and administrative authority. The project will involve four distinct territories from different parts of Europe, representing different cultural and socio-economic backgrounds, different scope of territorial oversight, different institutional and decision-making infrastructures, different R&I landscapes, and different dynamics among territorial actors. As such, the four territories will represent a diverse range of opportunities and implications for RRI, which will enable the RRI-LEADERS consortium to carry out a thorough assessment of the RRI relevance to territorial governance and have the involved territories act as demonstrators for the potential of RRI on subnational level. The partners will engage in a multi-stage co-creation process that will mobilise territorial quadruple helix stakeholders towards the elaboration of future-oriented strategy and action plans - territorial outlooks for each of the participating territories. Territorial partners will have the leading role in this process, and will additionally work to ensure the broadest societal and governance-level endorsement. The Consortium will further use the accumulated knowledge to chart a detailed outlook for the future potential of RRI as a guiding framework in territorial governance of R&I, and will aim to provide an evolutionary perspective on RRI for the upcoming Horizon Europe programme.

RRI-LEADERS represents a partnership of 9 organisations, of which five are methodological partners and four are territorial partners, collectively coming from 5 countries – Bulgaria, Denmark, Greece, Spain (Catalonia) and Switzerland.

Project period: 3 years (2020-2023)

Consortium members:
Project coordinator: APPLIED RESEARCH AND COMMUNICATIONS FUND (ARC Fund) - Bulgaria
PANEPISTIMIO DYTIKIS MAKEDONIAS (UoWM) - Greece
FONDEN TEKNOLOGIRADET (DBT) - Denmark
FUNDACIO CATALANA PER A LA RECERCA I LA INNOVACIO (FCRi) - Spain
ZURCHER HOCHSCHULE FUR ANGEWANDTE WISSENSCHAFTEN (ZHAW) - Switzerland
REGIONAL ASSOCATION OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT OF WESTERN MACEDONIA (LGA-WM) - Greece
MUNICIPALITY OF THALWIL (THA) - Switzerland
PROMOCIO ECONOMICA DE SABADELL SL-PES (PES SL) - Spain

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