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Building a smart city of the future is the focus of an international ULSIT project

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The University of Library Science and Information Technology (USLIT) is the coordinator of the ExcellCity project: BG-RRP-2.005-0003 to create specialists to design, develop, and implement the processes for building a smart city. The project is financed by the European Union - NextGenerationEU, through the National Plan for Recovery and Sustainability of the Republic of Bulgaria, the team of the university announced. The essence of the project ExcellCity: Strengthening scientific achievements and capacity for innovation in the field of smart city through twinning (building connections) is to upgrade the academic and administrative capacity in collaboration with six partner institutions: University of Messina, Italy; University of Murcia, Spain; FIWARE Foundation, Germany; Sofia Development Association, Bulgaria, VirTech Ltd. Bulgaria, UBIWHERE: Research and Development Software Company, Portugal, associate project partners.

The project starts on December 15, 2023, and ends on May 31, 2026. Its budget is BGN 2,933,500.51. "In times when real and virtual communication is mixed and we are largely independent of time and place, the construction of an intelligent living environment requires innovative and scientific achievements. The concept of a smart city implies the integration of technologies and innovative solutions in various aspects of the management and functioning of cities, including universities, scientific organizations, and businesses. Specialists are needed to design, develop, and implement processes in the smart city," ULSIT says.

The aim is to increase research and innovation capacity based on the research infrastructure for the design and development of small research projects based on FIWARE and iSHARE open-source technology. Creating connections with leading specialists from other European universities, businesses, and the municipality. ExcelCity focuses its activity on providing opportunities for training and mobility (hybrid: physical and virtual). The emphasis is on improving the research management and administrative skills of university and business staff. The project is managed by a Management Board, a Coordinating Board for Operational Management works at the operational level, the quality of work is ensured by a Quality Assurance Team within the scope of the project, and separate teams led by members of the ULSIT academic staff work at the various stages.

Twinning enables the exchange of good practices and experience between the teams of different institutions in the field of scientific research and innovation. The goal is to achieve sustainability through follow-up research projects and innovative solutions to obtain high joint results. A platform for cooperation between universities, research institutions, and businesses will be created. ExcelCity is building a strategy at ULSIT to stimulate research and innovation.

The cooperation between ULSIT and its partners will accelerate the development and implementation of innovative solutions in the field of sustainable development of smart solutions, including thermal and light comfort, air quality, and energy efficiency. Stimulating the exchange of scientists and specialists will allow talented minds to work together on common projects and research, says ULSIT. This not only contributes to a diversity of ideas and perspectives but also to the development of international networks and collaborations, which are essential for innovation in the modern world. The project is emerging as a means of strengthening scientific achievements and capacity for innovation in the field of the smart city through higher education. Cooperation and exchange between institutions will create opportunities to share knowledge, stimulate innovation, and accelerate the development of smart and sustainable cities of the future.

The work on the ExcellCity project is divided into 5 work packages: WP 1 - Management of scientific research and innovation and building administrative capacity; WP 2 - Twinning activities for research and innovation; WP 3 - Small joint projects for scientific research and innovation; WP 4 - Dissemination, Communication and Utilization Activities; WP 5 - Project Management.

The ExcellCity project aims to strengthen ULSIT's scientific achievements and innovation capacity in the field of the smart city through higher education, promoting cooperation and knowledge exchange between institutions. This will lead to the development of innovative solutions. The progress on the implementation of each of the set tasks can be followed on the project website: https://excellcity.unibit.bg/index.php/en/


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