SOFIA DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION was founded as non-profit organization with the decision 348
of the Sofia Municipal Council to work for the sustainable development of the capital.



In its effort to promote Sofia as a Dynamic Green City encompassing three intertwined strands: Climate-Energy-Innovations Sofia Development Association in partnership with GIS transfer Center organize the international conference Science meets Regions on 25 October 2016/

Our goal:
Strengthening Sofia city partnerships with EU, international and local stakeholders, businesses, innovators and citizens on building coalition for capacity building, training and research evidence-based measures for more efficient, effective and future oriented urban policies.

Key thematic points:
1. Strengthening Regional Partnership on more innovative solutions & smart management for low-carbon economy – reaching the goals of the Paris Declaration COP 21
2. Smart solutions for urban mobility and clean transport
3. Embedding risk management tools (critical infrastructure, climate change, natural disasters) and foresight activities to bring trust into the society and amongst citizens and researchers

More information about the agenda HERE.

Europe Code Week in Sofia

code smSofia Municipality (Sofia Development Association), in partnership with Sofia Municipal Privatisation and Investment Agency, NGO Links, “Imperia Online” and “Listen Up", organizes a series of public lectures to enhance the digital culture of citizens on the occasion of Europe Code Week. Every evening, in the period 18 to 21 October, on 1 Paris Street, from 17:00 to 19: 00 hrs., experts will try to reveal the secrets of coding in a comprehensible language. The main objective of the initiative is to develop participants’ skills in various areas requiring basic knowledge and experience in coding. Every evening there will be a different topic, but the participants can learn how to visualize boring data through interactive maps, whether it is possible to code simple applications, how to make a website, what “open data” means and how they can be used, what technologies behind a web-based game are.

The organizers recommend that those wishing to attend the public lectures bring their own laptops.

Europe Code Week started as a civic initiative to make coding much more visible, to show young people and adults how we can realize many ideas through coding, to enhance skills and to motivate many people to learn together. The initiative was launched in 2013. Last year, 570 000 citizens from countries in Europe and other continents participated in the coding training. In 2015, 7 594 events took place both in Europe and in Africa, the USA, Australia and Asia. Bulgaria is one of the 48 participating countries. The Code Week succeeded to attract many social networks fans, reaching more than 1 million users.


18 – 21 October, 1 Paris Street, 17:00 - 19:00 hrs.

Date /Organizer Topic of the lecture
18 October/Imperia Online Technologies behind a web-based game
19 October/Investment Agency Developing a website, online surveys
20 October/NGO Links Working with “open data”: how to work with them, what can they be useful for
21 October/Listen Up How to develop a mobile application

The event has been registered on the official website of Europe Code Week:


eva paunova code week sm


„I am happy to support Europe Code Week for a third consecutive year, which is to be even more comprehensive this year. The great news is that this year, through the efforts of Sofia Municipality, Sofia will get involved more actively with open lectures that will improve the digital skills of the local residents of all ages. The new economic model in the EU, based on digital technology and innovation, suggests that future leaders must be armed with the skills to enable them to be flexible and adaptable in a dynamically changing economic environment. The skills - from basic computer literacy to coding - are the tools that will give the chance to the digital generation to represent successfully Bulgaria and Europe at the global level and to develop its potential in the 21st century”.

Eva Paunova, Member of the European Parliament and digital skills ambassador

Course 2 of Cultural Management Academy 2016 – 2017 starts Monday

IMG 4119The second course of the Cultural Management Academy, entitled “Audiences, Promotion of Culture”, will be held on 10 – 14 October 2016.

The main study topics include: Cultural Managers as Actors of Change in Urban Environment; New Audiences for Cities; Cultural Heritage Reflection about Culture; Promotion of a Festival, Winning New Audiences; Building a Network and Its Services for the Members.

Lecturers are prominent Bulgarian and European practitioners and theoreticians in the field of cultural management: Kathy Basheva, Director of Studio Basheva, Agata Etmanowicz, Impact Foundation, Rayna Gavrilova, Ivaylo Ditchev, Daniela Koleva, Mira Staleva, Deputy Director of Sofia International Film Fest, and Wibke Behrens, Coalition of Free Scene.

The Cultural Management Academy is a postgraduate programme by Goehte-Institute and Sofia Municipality through Sofia Development Association in cooperation with Sofia University and the cultural institutes of Austria, Great Britain, Spain, Poland, and the Czech Republic.

The program aims to increase the knowledge and skills of cultural managers of municipal and independent cultural institutions and organizations. The programme includes 23 participants from municipal cultural institutes in Sofia, from the independent cultural operators (NGOs) from the whole country, and from the cultural sector in Serbia.

The Cultural Management Academy is held for a third consecutive academic year.

Sofia Development Association starts a new project on countering hate speech

logo ce-en-pantone-lr engSofia Development Association is a lead partner under a two-year project - Coalition of Positive Messengers to Counter Online Hate Speech, funded by the European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, which started on 1 October 2016 and will end on 30 September 2018.

The project is being implemented by a consortium of 8 organizations from 7 countries: Sofia Development Association (Bulgaria) – lead partner, Libera Università di Lingue e Comunicazione IULM  - IUL (Italy), the Languages Company (United Kingdom), Center for Peace (Croatia), People in Need (Czech Republic), Asociația Divers (Romania), Associazione FORMA.Azione (Italy), and Municipality of Agii Anargiri-Kamatero (Greece).

This project tackles the issue of hate speech - online hate speech in particular, targeted against migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in these 7 EU countries. The action addresses the need for more effective civil society response to online hate speech through sharing and disseminating best practices. The project focuses on 1) building multi-stakeholder coalitions for developing counter-narratives to denounce hate speech and negative representations of migrants and refugees, and 2) disseminating the positive messages through media literacy and public awareness campaign.

The main objective of the project is to strengthen the response of civil society at the national and EU level to online hate speech through active engagement of local communities in creating and sharing powerful counter-narratives against xenophobic discourse.

The project also aims:

• to compile and share best practices for countering the spread of online hate speech against migrants, refugees and minorities through awareness-raising campaigns;
• to provide new data on the nature, scope and impact of online hate speech targeting migrants and refugees, in order to aid national and EU authorities to develop more effective integration and anti-discrimination policies;
• to foster shared understanding and communication between the communities most vulnerable to hate speech and mainstream society in Europe;
• to educate and train the target groups about hate speech, media literacy, creation and dissemination of web content.

The main project activities include:

• conducting country assessments and cross-country comparison of practices to counter online hate speech;
• conducting media content analysis in each country and cross-country comparison to analyze the spread of online hate speech against migrants and refugees;
• creation of national coalitions from state and non-state actors to counter online hate speech;
• training events with target groups;
• development of training modules and sharing of practices among partners;
• national public campaigns for positive messages and awareness raising on hate speech in each country;
• creation of website and interactive platform with resources on hate speech;
• final international conference.

Sofia to host a prestigious event

IMG Nica EdrevaFollowing a challenging debate and tense voting, Sofia won the hosting of an external seminar of the Commission for Social Policy, Education, Employment, Research and Culture (SEDEC) at the Committee of the Regions.Sofia proposed a topic of present interest and an attractive programme, which won the support of about two-thirds of committee members. 

In May 2017, Sofia will bring together representatives of European cities and regions to work on the main theme of the seminar - “The Role of Culture for Social Inclusion, Social Innovation and Intercultural Dialogue”. They will get familiar with and learn from Sofia’s experience in the field of management of cultural processes, innovative public-private partnerships for funding culture, and transformation of the urban environment through art installations and initiatives.

 Sofia won for a second time the privilege to host such an event. In 2011, Sofia hosted a conference on the topic of “The Contribution of Culture to the Development of European Cities and Regions”:

The applications for both events were submitted to the Commission and successfully defended by Mrs. Malina Edreva, Permanent Representative to the Committee of the Regions and Chairperson of the Commission for Education, Culture, Science and Cultural Diversity, Sofia Municipal Council.

InnoBridge partners assessed Sofia Public-Private Fund for Innovations as an R&D and innovation policy instrument

IMG 5242Experts and partners under the InnoBridge project assessed Sofia Public-Private Fund for Innovations as a novel policy instrument for R&D and innovation during the 2nd Interregional Learning Workshop, held in Sofia on 14 - 16 September 2016.

Within the framework of the workshop, the experts conducted a peer review to assess the innovativeness of the policy instrument, discussed lessons learnt from the review and evaluated how the instrument is being communicated. It also included onsite visits to Muzeyko and Sofia Tech Park.

The Policy Instrument – Sofia Public-Private Fund for Innovations – is the first of its kind in Bulgaria. It proposes a public private partnership model to provide access to funding for more innovative and risky cultural and creative projects. The Fund is recognized as a good practice by EUROCITIES in 2015.

The peer review appraised the Fund highly in terms of organization, functioning and innovativeness and as a model to be emulated.

Participants in the event were representatives of project partner organizations: Office of the Regional Government of Lower Austria – Lead partner, Universities and Higher Education Foundation of Castilla y León, Autonomous Province of Bolzano – South Tyrol, Pannon Novum West­Transdanubian Regional Innovation Non­profit Ltd., Council of Tampere Region, Regional Development Agency of Alentejo (ADRAL), Sofia Development Association, Applied Research and Communications Fund, and Marshal Office of the Malopolska Region.

InnoBridge is an INTERREG EUROPE project gathering nine partners from eight different European Countries. It addresses common needs related to innovation and regional competitiveness with focus in the insufficient exploitation of R&D results by SMEs and their lack of access to public R&D results. Increasing SMEs’ competitiveness is at the core of the InnoBridge project by improving the Innovation Bridge and related policy instruments for SME´s. Therefore, Universities as well as Research and Technology Organisations (RTO), indispensable actors for business knowledge transfer and the commercialisation of public R&D results like regional or local authorities, are integrated part of the InnoBridge approach.

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