The 32 million euros grant, co-financed by the EU and the Estonian government, will build the first global centre of excellence focusing on developing solutions for cross-border smart cities to be tested and implemented first in Tallinn and Helsinki and then scaled globally.
Jaak Aaviksoo, the Rector of TalTech, emphasises: “This is the largest ever competitive R&D grant in Estonia. The Estonian Research Council has compared the Teaming Grant to receiving a R&D Oscar Award. This is a significant recognition of the belief that TalTech and Aalto researchers can innovate modern cities towards more citizen-oriented and sustainable futures.”
The project will create a centre of excellence that will focus on developing research and cross-border innovation networks and capabilities in five domains – data, governance, mobility, energy, built environment – as well as on advancing the joint smart city environment and cross-border services between Tallinn and Helsinki. The Centre will further the European Digital Single market as well as the integration of Estonian and Finnish e-government, while also boosting university-industry collaboration and private-sector innovation and export capacities in the Talsinki area.
The initiator of the project, Dr. Ralf-Martin Soe from the Nurkse Department of TalTech, explains that Finest Twins “carries the idea that for creating the next generation digital solutions, the two cultural Twins, Finland and Estonia, will work more closely together and treat the Talsinki region as something more synergistic that just two regions in two different countries.”
The project was inspired by the research results and ideas from Ralf Martin’s PhD thesis written at the Nurkse Department under the supervision of Prof. Wolfgang Drechsler. Now, after 5 years of project design, 3 EU-wide evaluation rounds and 2 rounds of panel pitches, all supported by more than 100 organisations and individuals from Estonia and Finland, Ralf-Martin will have the opportunity to lead the realisation of his ideas in practice and take the living standards of Helsinki and Tallinn and our joint global innovation potential to a new level.