Prof. Ilieva stressed that GATE conducts research throughout the whole life cycle of the data and applies it to its four strategic application areas – “Future Cities”, “Digital Health”, “Intelligent Government” and “Smart Industry”. Asked how the state policy, including in the field of data and open data, has affected the work of the Institute in the last 3 years, Prof. Ilieva presented the joint work of GATE with Sofia Municipality and Sofiaplan to create a digital twin of the city to model all processes in it. Data are integrated – demographic, weather (temperature, wind), air purity, transport and others – from different sources. As an example of the benefits of working together, Prof. Ilieva pointed to the kindergarten project, in which GATE based on current demographic data and available capacity of kindergartens has applied the concept of parametric urban planning and analysed the current state of the network of kindergartens and deficits from a quantitative and spatial point of view. The researchers then applied an algorithm for zoning the children on the principle of 10 minutes walk from their place of residence and gave recommendations for the appropriate plots for the placement of new kindergartens. Prof. Ilieva also noted the signed agreement of GATE with SEGA for data exchange and said that this cooperation is to be deepened.

The GATE director identified industry and business as sources of data to share. She sees obstacles in the minds of people and in the lack of trust – problems to which initiatives related to the creation of data spaces are addressed at European level. “GATE is a hub for Bulgaria of the International Data Spaces Association (IDSA). This is the organization that sets the standards for interoperability and the relationship between different data. As a national hub, our task is to inform people about these opportunities, to apply them technologically and to identify useful business models for Bulgaria, which will add value from data sharing for business and citizens, “said Prof. Ilieva.

In conclusion, she noted that she sees the future of open data policy in creating a data space that brings together government, business and academia to build an innovation platform so that this data can add value.

The other participants in the discussion were Nikolay Minev, Director of the Unified System Integrator Directorate at SEGA, Prof. Emanuil Atanasov – Head of the Scalable Algorithms and Applications Section with the Centre for High Performance Computing, IICT BAS and Tihomira Trifonova – Centre for Immigration and Integration. The moderator of the meeting was Reni Borisova, a state expert at SEGA with experience in the field of open data.

They agreed that full data exchange can only be achieved with a common standard, format and interoperability of data, and that organizations should be encouraged to share data.