CORDIS - EU research results


Periodic Reporting for period 1 - FINEST TWINS (FINEST TWINS)

Reporting period: 2015-06-01 to 2016-05-31

The core aim of the FINEST Twins first stage project is to prepare a business plan for the second stage. The detailed and competitive business plan was submitted 31.05.2016 and is briefly summarised below.

The FINEST Twins will build a Smart City Center of Excellence (CoE) based in Estonia capable of mobilising all leading actors and stakeholders in Estonia and establish a solid long term partnership with their Helsinki region counterparts,
capitalising on the macro region’s scientific knowledge, innovativeness and entrepreneurship. The Helsinki region and Estonia are top-performers in the fields of smart city and e-government, the CoE will build on this strong leadership.
The FINEST Twins will match regional smart specialisation strategies and key global challenges in the times of fast urbanisation. Therefore, the smart-city CoE will focus on mobility, energy and built environment glued together by
governance and urban analytics. The aim of the CoE is to match leading smart-city research centers globally by 2024 (e.g. UCL’s CASA, MIT’s Senseable City Lab and others).

Innovation activities will be built on top of CoE's excellent research, which will ensure the applicability of the research outputs and directly impact the competitiveness of the local industry and the lives of millions of citizens and commuters between the two regions. The CoE develops the EU cross-border knowledge transfer infrastructure, the Urban OS, which will work as a magnet for attracting international expertise and investment as well as a springboard for the exportation of Finnish-Estonian knowledge and combined service solutions on a global scale.

The CoE combines a strong partnership between the academia (TUT, Aalto and UT), the public sector (Helsinki City and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications of Estonia) and companies as associated partners (F-Secure,
TeliaSonera, Tieto and Siemens). The knowledge transfer will be evaluated by the Fraunhofer Institute. The CoE is financially sustainable in the long run and increases Estonia’s Research and Innovation funding by 2% annually and will
have a strong spill-over to the economy as well.
During the one year period, the following activities were conducted:

June 15: The Project kick-off was in June 15 where all the roles were described in depth. The Project Manager participated the teaming Coordinators day in Brussels June 19 and this was an important input for the team. In addition, we started analysing the legal form of Center of Excellence, having first meetings with the law-firm Sorainen. Plus, two partners had to finalise the recruitment process.

July 16: There was a joint workshop with University Of Tartu (Human Geography Department). July 27 was the next team meeting in Helsinki that was focused on the vision of the future CoE. The Consortium Agreement deliverable was submitted.

August 15. Joint workshop on Internet of Things, an important concept for Smart Cities. The FINEST Twins team consulted the public authorities of Estonia and Finland to initiate the joint two port project, namely FINEST Ports. The teaming project was discussed and supported in the Estonian Research and Science Board, led by Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas – an important step to guarantee the government co-financing. The deliverable Project Handbook was submitted.

September 15. MKM and Forum Virium finalised the recruitments and starting from September, the team has been fully operational. Starting from Sept 7, there are weekly telco meetings every Monday from 10-11 (12) in order to discuss everyday work. The project website was opened ( jointly with identity and social media channels. Sept 11 was the first public kick-off seminar for the Estonian-Finnish Audience (see By the end of September, the Communications and Disseminations Plan deliverable was submitted.

October 15. We started interviewing relevant stakeholders in Estonia. Late October, there was a research seminar in Aalto, attended by 40-50 researchers interested in the field (see The gap analysis and Smart City Strategy deliverable was handed over. The law firm Sorainen handed over the Articles of Association in order to establish an independent legal form of CoE. This has to be processed through and agreed upon all four partners.

November 15. The team decided to have two telcos a week. On Monday, there is a administrative session (jointly organise new events) and on Wednesday, there is a deliverable-related session. The team participated Smart City Expo in Barcelona to promote the project. In addition, there was a Finest Twins presentation, organised by the World Bank (CITISENSE).

December 15. High-level smart city seminar opened by Prof Rudolf Giffinger (Vienna University of Technology). See here: Smart City Demo Lab PPP Strategy deliverable was submitted.

January 16. High-level seminar opened by Prof. Micheal Batty (UCL) and MP Anne Sulling. (former Minister for Entrepreurship). During the seminar, Project Officer also introduced Finest Twins Project to the wider audience. See here: Innovative Business Analysis deliverable was submitted. We initiated an agreement with Prof Michael Batty to consult us on the research part of the business plan (Tallinn meeting and London meetings). In addition, we stated to negotiate with Fraunhofer MOEZ and University of Tartu to add them as partners for the second round.

February 16. We hosted a seminar with MEP Kaja Kallas (voted as the most digital-minded MEP in the European Parliament). See here: only in Estonian. Preparation of memorandum for the Estonian Government meeting on Finest Twins. The Project Manager had a meeting with Project Officer in Brussels followed by teaming info day organised by REA. We started to work together with Carlo Ratti (MIT Professor) through his Italy based company Carlo Ratti Associati to co-develop the Living Lab strategy for the Finest Twins and also Smart City Campus Development Plan.

March 16. High-level seminar on technology-based changes in the public sector. One of the main speakers was Mr Marek Helm, the Director General of the Estonian Tax and Customs Board. See here: Very comprehensive, S&I Programme and Strategy deliverable was submitted. We insourced an independent Ethics advisor to help us with Ethics deliverables. We had a two days meeting in London with Prof Michael Batty and a representative from Carlo Ratti Associati. This included a visit to Future Cities Catapult – a similar initiative to Finest Twins.

April 16. Communication and Dissemination Plan deliverable was prepared as part of the business plan and submitted. In addition, we insourced teleoperators’ data based mobility flows analysis between Tallinn and Helsinki from Positium Ltd to illustate the decision makers the need for joint Research venture. We had a meeting with Ericsson in Stockholm Ericsson Innovation studio, Finest Twins also invited MP Anne Sulling for this Meeting.

May 16. We organised the last seminar jointly with Tartu Smart City Lab, one day before international Smart City conference. See here Three core deliverables were prepared and submitted: CoE Operational and Business Plan, Report on actual progress on the organisational set-up and report on the actual progress on choosing the location. In addition, we took the actual rental bid from Tehnopol Smart City Campus where we plan to locate our CoE.
The dissemination of the FINEST Twins results is crucial in achieving large-scale goals on the societal impact (in improving public services and consequently the lives of citizens). In the preparatory phase, we have started to organise seminars and events to bring research on smart cities closer to the stakeholders (cities, companies, NGOs and also citizens), see more on our website ( . A selection of seminars is also broadcast on the Youtube channel (

● During the first year, we organised 6+ high-level interactive international seminars (each over 50 participants); a few examples can be seen on our Youtube channel
● For the first stage, we have created a mailing list with over 250 subscribers for disseminating information to already engaged and interested stakeholders. Our Facebook page ( has over 200 followers. The newsletter is sent also to Twitter (
● In stage one, our initiative reached the news on the national broadcast (in Estonian) and on the biggest news daily, Postimees ( ; in Estonian), among other media coverage in Estonia (e.g. Sirp We were also invited to participate in the TedX Toompea, organised by the Government Office of Estonia which took place in the Parliament of Estonia (; in Estonian).
● On the international level, the FINEST Twins was covered on the Dutch HEYU! Urbans broadcasting channel ( on the Research in Estonia portal ( and on the German Topos magazine (no. 94, “City Visions”, article on “Parallel Cities” about Digital Urbanism in Tallinn and Helsinki;

The FINEST Twins collaboration also contributed to the kick off of next innovation projects. As an example of these, the following two projects were decided to be funded from the Central Baltic Interreg ERDF on 14.6.2016 starting 1.9.2016:

● FinEstSmartMobility (1,8M€, 2016-2019)), which will plan and procure 4 smart (ICT-based) solutions to improve the traffic flows that go through Helsinki and Tallinn via the ferry and airplane connection.
● FinEst Link (; 2016-2019, feasibility study € 1.3 mln), which will execute planning towards a fixed link (“the railway tunnel” or another connectivity link) between Helsinki and Tallinn. This project is expected to lead to a very large-scale transport investment project (e.g. CEF; the pre-feasibility study estimates an investment size of 14B€ between 2020 and 2030;