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.



Sofia Development Association is completing the InnoBridge project: Bridging the innovation gap through converting R&D results into commercial success in a more effective and efficient way, co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through INTERREG Europe programme.

For 60 months – from April 2016 to March 2021 - nine partners from eight different European Countries: Office of the Regional Government of Lower Austria (Austria) – Lead partner; FUESCYL - Universities and Higher Education Foundation of Castilla y León- (Spain); Autonomous Province of Bolzano – South Tyrol (Italy); Pannon Novum West­Transdanubian Regional Innovation Non­profit Ltd. (Hungary); Council of Tampere Region (Finland); ADRAL ­ Regional Development Agency of Alentejo (Portugal); Foundation "Sofia Development Association" (Bulgaria); Applied Research and Communications Fund (Bulgaria); Marshal Office of the Malopolska Region (Poland) worked together on improving their regional innovation performance.

InnoBridge in numbers:

- We included representatives of Sofia in 20 interregional learning events: workshops, peer reviews, study visits, conferences.

- We collectively identified, presented and promoted 24 regional good practices, 3 of which from Sofia.

- 15 experts from Sofia Municipality, Sofia Municipal Council, the Ministry of Education, the Consultative Council on Science, Technology and Innovation with the Mayor of Sofia, Sofia University and SDA increased their professional capacities by engaging in the project activities.

- We achieved 50 appearances in Bulgarian media.

SDA took part in the project with the Public-Private Fund for Innovations that we administer. In result of the interregional learning and exchange, the Action Plan for the improvement of this policy instrument that we developed and implemented over the last two years, included measures inspired by other regions: Uni-Business Challenge from Castilla y Leon, the , FabLab in EvoraTech, the Innovation Festival of Malopolska Region. So far over 1 million euro has been influenced by the Find and its Action Plan, varying from financial support for entrepreneurs to mentorship, from trainings to showcasing; from hackathons to SofiaLab programing. You can see a short video on the achievements and developments here:

More about the project:

INNOAIR Co-Creation Workshop: Incentives for sustainable mobility

On behalf of Sofia Municipality, Sofia Development Association, Sofia Green and Urban Mobility Centre are pleased to invite you to join a working group to generate ideas for incentives that would help the transition to sustainable mobility.

The event is part of the INNOAIR project and will take place on 23 February, 2021 (Tuesday) from 5 pm to 7 pm online. The seminar would be held in Bulgarian and it is a brainstorming session which aims to propose and discuss ideas for incentives for citizens to start using more environmentally friendly ways of transport. During the event, an evaluation and analysis of the proposed ideas will be made. Those, who would like to participate can register here and will receive a link to the online meeting.

In the framework of the project is planned to create a bonus system for the active citizens with the incentives offerred by themselves. Thus, Sofia Municipality aims to support the transition to the use of public, bicycle or other sustainable transport in the city.

Through INNOAIR project, Sofia will test for the first time in Europe an innovative practice for "green public transport on demand". This innovative public transport service will be implemented together with a wide range of initiatives: low-emission zones, green corridors, congestion charge, promotion of active mobility. This coordinated effort by Sofia will reduce air-pollution and protect the air we share, while modernizing and renewing our public transport. Throughout this process, citizens are actively involved to share their concerns and suggestions to the Municipality.

INNOAIR project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Urban Innovative Actions Initiative.


Sofia Development Association is a member of the European network of living labs through SofiaLab since 2019 and it is pleased to exchange knowledge and share experience with nearly 150 other living laboratories around the world.

On February 2, 2021 the SDA team took part in a meeting within the Mobility working group, organized by ENoLL. During the discussion, various topics related to mobility services were discussed, such as the efficient collection and use of data, the analysis of incentives and barriers to behaviour change, as well as the sustainability and accessibility of the services.

Sofia Development Association shared its experience in the field of mobility by presenting the INNOAIR project and the upcoming activities of its implementation, focusing on the launching of “on-demand green public transport” for the first time in Europe. INNOAIR launches the eco transport not only as an innovative mobility service, but also as a solution for reducing the air-pollution, which will be combined with other measures such as congestion charge model, low emission zones and green corridors. Specific for the project is that it engages citizens by challenging them to find sustainable solutions through participation in hackathons, workshops and competitions, organized within the project.

The aim of the Mobility working group is to create a common reference system to map and characterize, compare and analyse mobility relevant labs in Europe allowing for a better understanding of the (social) impact of new mobility solutions relying on the scientific outcomes from different active Living Labs on mobility and to share experiences & lessons learnt in running a living lab on mobility (methodological & operational) as well as targeted knowledge exchange and networking opportunities.

Learn more about the INNOAIR project HERE.

Learn more about the European Network of Living Labs HERE.

INNOAIR project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Urban Innovative Actions Initiative.



After the official opening of the Hackathon and the special welcome by the well-known in Hollywood Bulgarian actor Dimitar Marinov, the students immersed themselves in the topic of media literacy and its importance. They spent the next 4 days in meetings with inspiring mentors and hard work. On the finals, all 14 teams presented innovative solutions to the problems of fake news, online communication, hate speech, critical thinking and information chaos.

Nearly 100 students from all over Bulgaria, full of enthusiasm to gain new knowledge and to win, took part in the competition. Not only did they want to create meaningful campaigns with interesting and creative content, but they also showed that they had the skills to do so. 14 diverse and meaningful projects were presented attractively and convincingly to a competent jury. The teams have developed digital, meaningful and colorful distribution materials, strategies for engaging target groups and most importantly great ideas.

For the members of the jury it was much more difficult to decide which the best projects are than to train the participants how to develop them. However, they performed both tasks. Nadia Obretenova from the Bulgarian National Television, Yavor Gochev from the Rinker Center for entrepreneurship and training, Natanail Stefanov from SofiaTech, Ana Aleksieva from Fine Acts, Georgi Apostolov from the National Center for Safe Internet, Denitsa Lozanova from the Sofia Development Association and Ivaylo Ivanov from DZZD Obuchenie were the experts in the field, which had to make the hard decision.

Meet the winning teams:

First prize for the MEDIAcated team from PMG "Prof. Emanuil Ivanov", Kyustendil - BGN 3,500.

• Second prize for the team "Our Voice" from 30 High School "Bratya Miladinovi", Sofia - BGN 3,000.

2 third prizes of BGN 2,250:

Team "NPMG" from NPMG "Acad. L. Chakalov", Sofia

• EG Power team from EG "Acad. L. Stoyanov", Blagoevgrad

2 fifth prizes of BGN 750:

Team "Ladies' Gambit" from 119. Sofia University "Acad. Mihail Arnaudov ”, Sofia

• Team "KUISBI" from Sofia University "Lyuben Karavelov", Plovdiv

The hearts of the audience were won by the team "Messengers" from the National School of Finance and Economics, Sofia. They are the favorite of over 1,200 voters and due to this reason won a prize of BGN 1,500.

Although the Media and Information Literacy Hackathon is over, we have yet to reap the benefits. The won funds will be used by the teams to carry out their campaigns in the period February 5, 2021 - May 5, 2021, and then the best realized campaign will win BGN 3,500! Good luck to all!

Follow the facebook pages SofiaLab и IN-EDU project to learn more about the development of the campaigns.

The hackathon is organized by Sofia Development Association and DZZD Obuchenie in the framework of INclusion Communities through Media Inclusion and Critical Thinking EDUcation (IN-EDU) project, co-financed by the EU Erasmus + Programme.






On January 29, 2021, a training seminar was held in the framework of AGORA project, during which Sofia shared its experience in regeneration of urban spaces. Sofia Development Association introduced the partners to the project "Toplocentralata", which is implemented thanks to the Sofia Municipality.

The aim of the project is to turn the former heating plant of the National Palace of Culture into a center for contemporary arts, which will provide conditions for a wide range of artistic events (theater, music, dance, visual arts), as well as for educational and social activities. It will support independent artists by giving them more opportunities to collaborate with foreign colleagues. The idea for "Toplocentralata" comes from the artists themselves and its aim is to become a good practice for creation of independent cultural spaces in Sofia, which can be replicated elsewhere in Bulgaria.

The partners were impressed not only by the success of the grass-route initiative and the bottom-up approach , but also by the great interest in the international architectural competition for reconstruction of the building, through which the project "Toplocentralata" was selected.

AGORA is going to help to clarify the functions of the site, to identify potential users and audiences, to give ideas for smooth and effective integration of the space in the surrounding park and to generate ideas for programming and promotion of the future cultural center.

If you would like to learn more about the “Toplocentralata” and AGORA projects, you can watch the video HERE.

The AGORA project is implemented under the INTERREG Danube program and is co-financed by the European Union funds (ERDF, IPA II).


Responsible Research and Innovation in Territorial Governance and Leadership

What does it mean to integrate the principles of responsible research and innovation (RRI) in long-term strategic visions for territorial development? How can public bodies, research organizations, civil society actors ensure that local and regional development policies are inclusive, anticipative, and responsive? The importance of leadership in territorial governance innovation and taking responsibility for future policies, tackling existing challenges and consolidating societal actors’ knowledge towards a shared policy goal and a coherent action plan, and much more, is at the center of the new project RRI Leaders, which SDA will be implementing in the next three years. Sofia is one of four “territorial partners,” together with cities from Greece, Spain, and Switzerland.

The 2-day kick-off meeting of the project took place online on Jan. 26-27, 2020. RRI Leaders is funded by Horizon2020, and is implemented by a consortium of 9 partners from five countries, led by the ARC Fund in Bulgaria.


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