FinEst Centre for Smart Cities Launches Global Challenge 2024

The FinEst Centre for Smart Cities – part of the Tallinn University of Technology in Estonia – recently launched its Smart City Challenge 2024. The challenge has issued an invitation to anyone around the world to submit ideas for pilot projects to be conducted with Estonian cities. Examples of past challenges addressed in the 2023 Challenge included: strategies for conserving drinking water and identifying alternative sources for industrial water consumption; optimizing limited urban space; reducing car traffic in specific areas; and outlining a roadmap for smart city developments within cities.

“Cities play a crucial role in achieving sustainable development objectives while ensuring the wellbeing of their residents through safe and healthy living environments,” said Külle Tärnov, head of innovation at the FinEst Centre. “Addressing complex issues like energy efficiency and mobility demands collaborative efforts. It is not simple for cities to navigate these challenges, and that’s when we come in by offering practical, research-based solutions empowered by modern technology and data analytics.”

Approximately €3m in funding will be available for the participating cities to address their urban challenges and create smart, science-based and scalable solutions for them in cooperation with researchers and developers. The funding for the projects is 100% financed by the European Regional Development Fund and the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research.

The founding director of the FinEst Centre, Ralf-Martin Soe, sees encouraging international cooperation as an important goal for the center. 

“All our research and development activities in the smart city field are international, and we want to expand that to the pilot projects as well,” he said. “Many cities are facing similar challenges and by solving them in collaboration, we look for a way out of a wider problem. This is how we solve a wider urban problem and create scalable solutions.”