Helsinki is looking for five innovative solutions to support marginalised communities. The objective of the open call is to find innovative technologies that enable a better daily life and more efficient city services for intellectually disabled people, senior citizens, unemployed, and non-Finnish speakers. The CommuniCity Open Call is a joint effort by three cities.
The CommuniCity project funded by the European Union will be implementing a total of one hundred pilots in the European Union over a period of three years. The first CommuniCity open call will be open from 28 February to 31 March 2023, and it is aimed at finding a total of 17 pilots to be implemented in cooperation with the cities of Amsterdam, Helsinki and Porto.
Scalable technology solutions that meet the special needs of vulnerable residents and focus in particular on promoting digital equality will be sought during all the three piloting rounds. During the first round of pilots, the City of Helsinki will carry out a maximum of five pilots. The cities of Amsterdam and Porto will be implementing a total of 12 pilots.
Four challenges named based on a needs assessment
Before opening the open call for applications, Helsinki, Amsterdam and Porto each carried out their own needs assessments. The most critical challenges and target groups for the pilots were identified based on the assessments. Particular attention was paid to the possibility of refining the proposed technological solutions using the co-creation method.
In Helsinki, four challenges were included in the open call to find technological solutions for the long-term unemployed, intellectually disabled people, senior citizens and non-Finnish speakers, among others. The pilots will be carried out in cooperation with the City of Helsinki Service Centre (two pilots), the Rehabilitating Work Activities of the City of Helsinki Health and Social Services (two pilots) and the Virtual Services for the Disabled unit (one pilot). The aim of the current open call is to find solutions to the following challenges:
- How can a web-based solution improve the digital and social skills of non-Finnish speakers who do not speak Finnish?
- How can the digital skills of the long-term unemployed be evaluated and developed to better meet the needs of working life?
- How can people with intellectual disabilities improve social skills and digital know-how through accessible virtual technologies?
- How can technology solutions based on artificial intelligence and sensors improve the safety and quality of life of home care clients?
At the end of the application period, a jury of experts will score the proposals and select the solutions to be piloted in Helsinki. The pilots will start in May and end no later than September 2023, at which time a second open call round is scheduled to be opened. A third open call, carried out in cooperation with even more cities, is planned for autumn 2024.
Teams are offered grants and support for the implementation of the pilots
Each team selected for the pilots will receive a grant of EUR 12,500, and cities will also provide practical support for co-creation, for example. The grant may be applied for by companies, associations, research institutes and individuals alike. The application may also be submitted by a team and, if they so wish, the applicants may use their own funding to carry out the pilot.
Applicants may submit more than one proposal, but only one proposal per challenge. Open calls for Amsterdam and Porto are open to Finnish and other European operators alike. Applications may also be submitted from outside the EU, but they will not be eligible for the grant.
Forum Virium Helsinki plays a key role in the CommuniCity project, as it is responsible for organising the entire open call programme and creating a common European operating model for the pilots. Forum Virium Helsinki is also closely involved in the coordinating work and will offer practical support for organising the pilots that will be carried out in Helsinki.
Further information on the pilot challenges in Helsinki and other cities is available on the CommuniCity project website.