Project budget3 165 503 €
ERDF amount1 899 302 €
The market for public sector open data in Europe is €22,1B (EC 2015). Regional Smart Specialisation Strategies (RIS3) encourage smart innovation. Eg the private sector has data-based technologies available that can reduce traffic by directing cars to available parking. 2Seas cities are looking for solutions like these for their congested centres. However, the 2Seas innovation sector faces shared public sector challenges in unlocking this value for businesses, triggering region-wide brain drain.
The market failure is mainly within 2Seas cities in opening up datasets and using innovative procurement. SCIFI partners (4 cities, 2 international open data experts, and 2 business networks) identify the need for transnational framework conditions that 1) create a cross-border market that gathers the fragmented resources of cities and smart innovation potential of businesses and 2) increase the capacity of cities to activate the dormant demand for smart public services.
To capture 2Seas open data potential and advance RIS3, SCIFI develops a transregional smart innovation framework:
- Activate demand: Mechelen, Delft, Bruges, Saint-Quentin and associated cities (eg Suffolk, Cambridge) increase their technical capacity in open data and innovative market engagement.
- Connect supply and expertise: Innovators are connected through business associations (Cambridge Cleantech, Agoria and transregional sister organisations). Faubourg Numérique (FN) and Southampton University (UoS) leverage their expert role in transnational open data initiatives (ODINE, OASC, ENoLL, FIWARE).
- Demonstrate value: SCIFI uses an accelerator programme to test the framework conditions for innovation in mobility, energy, and clean environment. FN (Living Lab expert) and UoS (accelerator expert) coach cities and businesses in challenge identification, procurement, solution co-creation & implementation. These will be success stories which demonstrate the value from open data.
SCIFI creates transnational outputs that launch the framework conditions for innovation in smart public services in the 2Seas:
- A 4-Helix network of 2000 members (eg Agoria alone has 1700 members). AG and CCT enable businesses to scale their services to multiple clients. FN represents local high-tech businesses; Delft connects to its innovation community (TNO). Partner cities involve regional peers.
- An Accelerator where experts (FN, UoS) provide coaching addressing technical and practical hurdles of public-private innovation in public services (mobility, energy, clean environment): IPR, new business models, value of data, etc. The 4 Cities will develop 8-12 cases, of which 4-6 solutions will be implemented and used as success stories.
- Guidance on existing open data tools and methods (ODI 5-Star model, European Open Data Portal, FIWARE, Smart Flanders) and innovative public procurement.
Cross border approach
- 2 Seas network: Partner cities (NL, BE, FR) and observer partner (UK) draw from regional support groups (eg Hauts-de-France Region, see LoS) and transnaional city clusters (see image 2) that collaborate on specific shared challenges. Business associations (AG, CCT) involve sister organisations from other countries. Renowned open data experts (FN, UoS) link to transnational smart city initiatives (OASC, ENoLL, ODINE).
- Cross-border procurement: Clusters of cities co-define shared public service needs and develop Terms of Reference for procurement. A harvesting platform for smart service calls in the public sector is created to broadcast opportunities to businesses across the region. Cities also cross-publish calls for tenders.
- Top-level harmonisation: SCIFI will facilitate members in the uptake of internationally developed open data standards driven by technology providers (Fiware, Smart-FI, Open Data Portal Europe, ODI). These will enable future cross-border compatibility.
The first cycle of the accelerator programme that started in 2018. Mechelen (BE), Bruges (BE), Delft (NL) and Saint-Quentin (FR) defined their urban challenges and in 2019 selected solution providers to drive the 8 pilots. Cities were supported by knowledge partners Agoria in one of the most difficult steps: signing a contract that fits the ambition for replicable, cross-border documents and tools and by the University of Southampton for open data innovation.
For 6 months, prototypes were developed and the solution providers were delivered training and modules, supervised by experienced partner Faubourg Numérique. In the meantime, additional urban challenges for the second accelerator programme were defined. In Summer 2019 most pilots were finalised and presented at local support groups and smart city events throughout Europe, coordinated by Cambridge CleanTech.
A similar process took place for the second accelerator programme, and in January 2020, 7 pilots were launched. Unfortunately, the pilots faced delays and difficulties with the COVID outbreak and the wave of lockdowns in Europe. Nonetheless, SCIFI partners managed to continue the project successfully by 1) extending the pilots, 2) increasing the visibility of the project by presenting and representing SCIFI at events and conferences and 3) documenting learnings (e.g. update of guidance documents).
More importantly, they have actively started transnational deployment and scale up activities with the writing of the project's legacy: the SCIFI cookbook. A short book giving the main success ingredients for making small and mid sized cities into smart cities. Eventually, the learnings will also be sustained through the involvement of SCIFI partners in European Digital Innovation Hubs.
Finally, the SCIFI cross border cooperation is showing its fruits with the procurement of 4 solutions from SCIFI pilots and implementation in SCIFI cities and beyond (e.g. watering solution in St-Quentin, FR; smart waste solution Delft, NL; smart cycling in Antwerp, BE and bike dashboard in Rotterdam-The Hague Metropolitan Area, NL).