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.

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Dynamic Learning Package in progress


On October 23 and 24, 2018, Sofia Innovation Lab hosted a training of young people with entrepreneurial spirit having a social cause. The participants discussed and practiced the essentials of financial literacy and management - fundraising, crowdfunding, bookkeeping for social causes. The training was organised in partnership with UNICEF. The YIL is established under in the NGS project under the Danube Transnational programme, co-founded by the EU funds (ERDF and IPA), http://www.interreg-danube.eu/approved-projects/newgenerationskills.

Finances4Social Change Sofia Workshop

On October 19, 2018, Sofia Development Association invited 10 social entrepreneurs and experts in the area on the first Finances4Social Change workshop. The event brought together the regional stakeholder group in support of the project, and discussed barriers to scaling up social enterprises, good and bad practices, skills deficits and policy niches.

According to the participants, social entrepreneurship is seen primarily as a response to social needs, badly covered by public and private sector, a factor for social transformation and vocation of social activity. Social entrepreneurs are mostly active in the area of social actions, followed by education and training, personal services, food and social cohesion.

The main challenges social entrepreneurs face are insufficient funding, problematic legal framework and lack of accepted methodology to measure social impact. Entrepreneurs do not consider themselves competitive nationally or internationally. Skill need differ widely from pitching to financial literacy. Training leading up to certification is most preferred.

The workshop findings will be used for the development of region-wide Danube strategy in 2019.

The project is co-financed by the INTERREG DANUBE Programme, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance II (IPA II), the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) and the Hungarian Government. More information is available at http://www.interreg-danube.eu/approved-projects/finance4socialchange.

SDA invites you to the presentation of “Electronic Eyes” project

Sofia Development Association invites you today, October 15, the Day of the White Cane, from 4:30 pm, at Tobacco garden, 6A Moskovska Street, to the presentation of “Electronic Eyes” project, supported by SDA.

“Electronic Eyes” is an idea of young people with visual imparities who wanted to be as independent and active as everyone else. Thus the federation “Sport for People with Visual Imparities” launched a campaign to raise funds and awareness that people with disabilities do not need social benefits to be equal to everyone else.

The regional organization of the blind people in Sofia registered around 1 300 members though the number of people with sight problems is much bigger. The big city does not provide supportive environment for orientation to the blind who want to move around unattended. Only some of the sidewalks in the downtown area have tactile lines. Apart from this and the “the talking subway” and some “talking bus stops” the city is a hostile place for people with visual imparities.

The new mobile communications and information technologies - such as the “Electonic eyes” - create opportunities to improve the life of people with disabilities and to compensate their deficits. Everyone who has a smart phone has access to many useful apps among which a new one that can provide orientation to the blind person regarding the surrounding streets and buildings, to direct them to the nearest bus stop, to let them know which bus is approaching, to advise on the best route.

“Electronic eyes” is a free app that offers opportunities for an active life to the people with visual imparities. It is available only for the capital city for the time being, though the team has the ambition to initiate developments in other big cities, and to increase the functionality of the current Sofia app too. So the campaign goes on!

Disabilities are prominent when there are barriers in the environment. Most of the disabilities can be overcome with the appropriate technical solutions. “Electronic eyes” aims to prove that.

The Future of Project Management – Project Leadership, Competences and Culture


The annual conference of the International Project Management Association brought together on October 10, 2018, project managers, executive directors from a broad spectrum of industries, representatives of national and local governments, to discuss the newest trends and good practices in project management. From projects in the area of marketing and HR to projects funded by European institutions, IT projects, construction projects, the demand for effective organising, coordination and communication skills is critical for their successful completion.

Sevdalina Voynova with Sofia Development Association was a panelist in the panel Project Management – A key Factor for Municipal Development, and shared the experiences and lessons learned of the organization in managing European, national and local projects on behalf of Sofia Municipality. The panel was moderated by Ivan Velkov, deputy chairperson of Sofia Municipal Council.

THE FIRST “INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES IN NUCLEAR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY” HACKATHON IN SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

The first Hackathon on Information Technologies in Nuclear Science and Technology held in Eastern Europe is now over. After an intensive day of lectures, exchanges with scientists and businesspeople, brainstorming and programming, the five school teams presented their work over 12 hours, prototyping solutions to the problems and opportunities in the field of nuclear science.

The project by team “John Atanasoff” is called “Nuclear Energy and its Safe Application.” The students believe there can be no innovation unless people are convinced that nuclear energy is safe and don’t confuse nuclear bombs with nuclear power plants. This is why the team proposed a wide platform for educating the public and adapted a robotic arm they had previously designed for disarming explosives to be used in high radiation scenarios.

The ELSYS team proposed the “Optimization of Nuclear Reactor Design via a Genetic Algorithm.” The problem this project addresses is that the optimization of a nuclear reactor has many different purposes, many variables, and many local problems, i.e. there is no guarantee that a particular optimization would lead to the best general design. The genetic algorithm the team used is derived from nature and contains the phases of population, selection of the most appropriate elements, pairing and mutation of the elements placed in an appropriate environment. The team generated a simulated model of a nuclear reactor and applied the genetic algorithm to outline the most effective optimization of the design, based on variables such as price, number of reactors, fuel and others.

NHSMNS (physicists and programmers) developed a demo version of a nuclear physics educational website. The site compiles information arranged by topic, resources, video lectures and tests, as well as a discussion forum the team plans to develop in the future. The test section allows users to register and learn on the basis of interactive educational games: correct answers win a badge, while incorrect responses return the user to the information from that section of the test to re-study, and then automatically generates a new test. The site includes a section for news and events.

SHSM team #2 took on the problem of radiation pollution of water resources. The example the team worked on is the Rossen mine and the polluted beach Vromos near Chernomorets. Their proposal is to use zeoliths (minerals that can absorb certain elements with a specific mass) to reduce the radiation pollution and to clean the beach using centrifugal sedimentation.

SHSM team #1 also saw the information gap in the area of nuclear physics, and designed an educational website full of graphs and images intended to help students in this area of physics and to prepare them for physics competitions. The website links up students with theoretical physicists, and students compete amongst themselves in real time and can keep track of their rating and success.

The jury awarded first prize to SHSM team #2, who received 500 leva and an invitation to the European Parliament from MEP Vladimir Uruchev. Second place went to NHSMNS, who received 300 leva, and third place to ELSYS, who won 200 leva. The team from “John Atanasoff” won the special award for the best presentation, and SHSM team #1 won the special award for the best design.

SDA is a project knowledge partner in the NGS project under the Danube Transnational programme, co-founded by the EU funds (ERDF and IPA), http://www.interreg-danube.eu/approved-projects/newgenerationskills.

      

MAYOR OF SOFIA MS. YORDANKA FANDAKOVA ANNOUNCES THE START OF NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY HACKATHON

Physics was my favorite subject in school, even though I ended up in a different field. We hope that many of you will continue to work in physics and new technologies.” With words of hope, Mayor of Sofia Ms. Yordanka Fandakova welcomed the students competing from Sofia Vocational High School of Electronics “John Atanasoff,” National High School of Mathematics and Natural Sciences “Academician Lyubomir Chakalov,” the Technical School of Electronic Systems, and Sofia High School of Mathematics “Paisii Hilendarski.” She added, “This year’s Nobel prizes were awarded for scientific advancements not in pure science, but in concrete applications for improving people’s lives. I have hopes that a future Bulgarian Nobel laureate is here in this room today.

The Nuclear Technology Hackathon is organized by the Bulgarian Nuclear Society, Sofia Development Association, and the Institute for Nuclear Research and Nuclear Energy at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. The event is held at the Sofia Innovation Lab and is part of the Labs’ dynamic training program aimed at stimulating innovation and entrepreneurship.

Five teams from Sofia schools are competing to search for and develop applications for nuclear science using data and intelligent control systems. The competition ends at 16:00, and the award ceremony begins at 17:30. The special prize will be awarded by MEP Mr. Vladimir Uruchev – a visit to the European Parliament upon his invitation.

    

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