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Establishment of Smart City Center of Excellence

Project description

From Estonia to Finland, new Smart City Centre boosts research

Estonia will become the home of a new multidisciplinary smart-city centre of excellence (CoE), which is part of a joint venture between the Estonian Tallinn University of Technology, and Finland’s Aalto University as well as Forum Virium Helsinki. The EU-funded FINEST TWINS project will help Estonia’s CoE form strategic partnerships between key stakeholders in both countries. The centre will pair with existing leading smart city centres around the world by focusing on research related to mobility, energy and the built environment combined with governance, urban analytics and data management. To translate research results into real-life innovations, the centre will develop user-driven smart city solutions via a cross-border platform for innovation collaborations with dozens of companies in both countries.


The FINEST Twins project will build a multidisciplinary smart-city Center of Excellence (CoE) that mobilises all leading smart city actors and stakeholders in Estonia and establishes solid long-term high-level research, knowledge-transfer and innovation partnerships with the counterparts from the Helsinki region to capitalise on the macro region’s scientific research, innovation and entrepreneurship potential. The CoE will match the leading smart city research centres globally and focus on all five key domains of clean and sustainable smart city development: mobility, energy and built environment glued together by governance and urban analytics & data management (research streams). The FINEST Twins will have a globally unique focus on developing user-driven clean and sustainable smart city solutions that are “cross-border-by-default” in the context of emerging twin city between Tallinn and Helsinki. For this purpose, the CoE will set up an Urban Open Platform Lab (UOP.Lab) that develops and implements Research and Innovation (R&I) pilots. The CoE will attract international expertise and investment, and act as a springboard for exporting Finnish-Estonian knowledge and high-tech solutions globally. In the long run, the CoE has full autonomy, financial sustainability and it will increase Estonian R&I funding by 2% annually with a strong spill-over to the real economy.

The CoE will have autonomous management, premises and 5 research streams producing the following KPIs by 2027:
·Estimated 100 research publications annually
·Estimated 150 Horizon 2020/FP9/ERC/Interreg/national submissions during the project period
·Estimated 25 local research and innovation partnerships
·Up to 15 Double degree PhD graduates annually

·The CoE will build knowledge transfer infrastructure, the UOP.Lab via:
· Estimated 100 unit innovation vouchers given out;
· Rent-a-PhD and Startup-in-Residence programmes applied to PhDs and companies
·Minimum of 10 cross-border R&I pilots

Call for proposal


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Net EU contribution
€ 8 234 882,50
Ehitajate tee 5
12616 Tallinn

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Eesti Eesti Põhja-Eesti
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00

Participants (3)