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Smart City Challenge 2023

Smart City Challenge - let's build smarter and happier cities together!

FinEst Centre for Smart Cities launches a new round of Smart City Challenge. The purpose of the challenge is to collect problems and challenges that cities face, select the most critical ones and create science-based, scalable solutions for them.


To find and create those solutions, we plan to launch 4 new pilot projects in November 2024, of which:

  • Two are large pilot projects with a duration of 36 months and a budget approximately 1.26 million euros. 

  • Two are mid-sized pilot projects with a duration of 24 months and a budget approximately 860,000 euros. 


These pilot projects should have a minimum of two cities as partners, one from Estonia and one from another country.


As a result of the pilot projects, new products and services are brought to the market, which make cities smarter, more resilient and increase the satisfaction of residents.

How to participate?


  1. Join the City Challenges webinar for cities on August 23, 2023. Register HERE

  2. Propose your challenges to be solved by Sept 30, 2023 and explain it to the researchers at our Oct 18 workshop.

    Fill the form and send your city's challenge to 
    Download the form 
    There is no need to sign the forms. Each municipality can present 1-3 challenges on 2-3 pages.
    Kindly complete the form in English.


  3. You have an opportunity to show your interest in 1-5 challenges sent by another city from Oct 1 – Oct 18 

  4. Participate actively in choosing the best possible solutions (Nov-Dec 2023, incl. Dec 13 workshop).

  5. Prepare a pilot proposal together with a research and development team and at least one more city (minimum one city from Estonia and one from other country) by Feb 29, 2024.

  6. Validate the pilot idea and prepare the full proposal (Apr–Aug 2024).

  7. Become a partner in a pilot project chosen, to start in Nov 2024.



Researchers, engineers, developers

  1. Get to know the city challenges on our homepage and/or Oct 18 workshop. Present your solution idea by Nov 30.

  2. Find the most suitable piloting cities at our Dec 13 workshop.

  3. Prepare a pilot proposal together with at least one city from Estonia and one from another country by Feb 29, 2024.

  4. Validate the pilot idea and prepare the full proposal (Apr–Aug 2024)

  5. Become a research lead and/or project lead in the FinEst Centre for Smart Cities or a team member* in a pilot project chosen to start in Nov 2024.

* Into the pilot project teams we can employ people directly to the FinEst Centre or engage people working in TalTech, incl. people already working in the  Centre. However, for pilots starting from 2024, we expect the research leads and/or project leads to be employed directly by the FinEst Centre For Smart Cities, an autonomous structural unit within TalTech. 




  1. Get to know the city challenges on our homepage and/or Oct 18 workshop.

  2. Get to know the potential solutions and participate in fine-tuning the ideas at Dec 13 workshop and our homepage.

  3. In case you see a strong future business potential in one of the ideas, join the team* and make a joint pilot proposal by Feb 29, 2024.

  4. Make good proposals for tenders of the chosen pilot projects from Nov 2024 onwards.

  5. Contact us to licence the smart city solutions already created or in development.

* We cannot finance private companies as partners but you can join with your own financing and become the commercialisation partner in the future

Timeline for the Smart City Challenge

3rd round of the Smart City Challenge will be announced on the 2nd of June 2023. After the announcement, all interested city officials are encouraged to start collecting their challenges to tackle.

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There will be four evaluation sub-committees of experts to assess the proof of concept for our pilot projects. They include people from business and public sector, and academia, incl. the CEO of the FinEst Centre.


The proof of concept evaluation may have several possible results:

  • A determination that the proposed solution does not work or is not feasible, necessary, or desirable.

  • Continuation with a full pilot proposal. A maximum of 8 pilot projects will be selected.

  • Proposal for a spin-off with the FinEst Centre as one of the owners.


The Steering Group will make the final decision on which pilot project proposals will be continued, based on feedback from the evaluation committees.

Timeline of the pilot projects

Chosen pilot projects will be carried out in three following phases:


These pilot projects will be financed by the European Regional Development Fund and Estonian Ministry of Research and Education. This financing is given to the FinEst Centre for Smart Cities to build its sustainability and improve Estonia cities with research-based solutions.



We will soon share more information about the Smart City Challenge 2023. We will provide you with all the details you need to know about the challenge and how you can participate in an exciting and rewarding opportunity to build smarter, more human-friendly cities!

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