The Municipality of Milan – one of eight core partner cities in the SynchroniCity project – organised its first open call clinic on 4 July to exchange with and support applicants to prepare a good proposal for the open call. In such an open call clinic, potentially interested applicants can book a time slot and have a dedicated one-on-one time with the city representatives. Chiara Bresciani, project manager at the Municipality of Milan for the Synchronicity project, shares her insights from the open call clinic and has some useful tips for applicants.

You’ve recently organised the first open call clinic: Who attended the clinic in Milan? Mostly small and medium-sized enterprises [SMEs] and also a start-up joined the clinic. Those who participated have developed applications but also full-stack solutions.

The SynchroniCity open call has gained a lot of interest in the last weeks: What’s your first impression of the potential applicants who joined the clinics? Some of the ideas were interesting and could be very useful for Milan and the other pilot cities. In some cases, the solutions targeted aspects not directly managed by the municipalities but by public companies contracted by the municipality such as waste or water management. The solutions should be then agreed with these companies. In these cases, we discussed with the SMEs and start-ups possible adaptations of the solutions to focus either on the end-users or provided them, when possible, with direct contacts of to get in touch with the public companies.

Is there a question that all potential applicants had in common? A common question was related to the need of a specific agreement with Milan. This agreement will have to be signed during the negotiation period for the pre-selected proposals. The agreements will only then have to be signed. Another question was how they can certify the TRL [Technology Readiness Level].  The answer is quite simple: They can report web links that show that they’ve tested the application in a relevant environment.

Is there any advice you can share with potential applicants from SMEs and large businesses? It’s important to clarify the specific target of the solution and understand what kind of involvement and how much time is needed. In this sense, solutions targeted at the municipalities or at citizens are easier to propose. Secondly, I think it is useful to highlight that the cost of sensors cannot be co-financed by the open call.

There are also cities interested in joining SynchroniCity via the open call. What would you recommend them to do to become a vital part? My advice is to check thoroughly how much time and what resources are needed to be compliant with the Synchronicity framework. That’s crucial.

There will be more open call clinics in Milan, how and where can interested SMEs, businesses, and other cities sign up? The next clinic will be on the 23 July 2018 from 10 AM to 1 PM and the 29 August 2018 from 10 AM to 1 PM. It is possible sign up at the SynchroniCity website.

 

About Chiara Bresciani With a background in civil engineering and urban planning – focusing on transport and logistics –, Chiara has been working as a researcher and for city administrations in the Lombardy region for many years. Chiara manages now the SynchroniCity project in the pilot city Milan.