Enacting Digital Transformation for European Regions


Thursday, 9th September 14:00 – 15:15 CEST

About the DT4REGIONS project

The aim of the project Digital Transformation for Regions – DT4REGIONS project is to launch a European Platform for Regions to enable AI and Big Data collective solutions, namely a unique challenge-based innovation platform for the development of tools and services of public interest and to enhance public administration efficiency and effectiveness in user-centric services.

Led by Emilia-Romagna Region, the DT4REGIONS platform project will be based on the real needs of a network of regions supported by technical partners to make the platform a sound and effective environment for the development of the next era of AI and Big Data for the digital transformation of the public administration

Specific objectives of the project are: 

  • Raise awareness and knowledge about AI and big data applications for public services within the PA and the regional ecosystem. 
  • Stimulate peer to peer knowledge sharing among regions.
  • Increase and enlarge policy discussions on topics of specific public interest. 
  • Serve as a hub of a wide variety of data-related topics, such as open data, smart cities, digital skills. 
  • Foster innovation through practical exercises, including two hackathons, based on the concrete needs of public administrations and citizens. 

Within this context, public administrations will be engaged in defining the platform services and will benefit from dedicated capacity building and mutual learning activities to make the best use of the platform itself. Regional innovation ecosystem actors will contribute to the identification of the platform functionalities and contents, as well as of the future of public services developed and delivered using AI and Big Data solutions.

Our approach for unleashing the power of public services

With the aim to provide a new platform for innovating public services, the DT4REGIONS project adopts fully fledged co-design and user-centred techniques. This entails recognizing that the service is part of an ecosystem of existing communities and services, which does not aim to substitute but to rather support it. 

The key lies in finding the niche which best serves the specific category of users. Alongside the user involvement lies the prioritization of the design around the needs of users, not the technology. The technologies will always be presented around concrete use cases and problems solved. The DT4REGIONS technological solution will be interoperable to facilitate the sharing of data sets and algorithms, as well as the management of various cross-sectoral data flows and large numbers of stakeholders.

The final goal of DT4REGIONS is to implement an inclusive approach. Partner regions represent a qualified voice with different experience as for digital government and aim at a platform designed to serve and help all EU regions, and especially the ones less advanced and usually at risk of exclusion. In order to achieve this goal, cultivating Communities of Practice is crucial for generating a critical mass of regional governments and officers actively involved with the services in order to generate network economies, where the utility grows with the number of users. 

About the Living-in.eu initiative

Living-in.eu is a bottom-up movement which has the ambition to have a positive impact on the quality of life of at least 300 million European citizens by 2025. The living-in.eu platform was launched during the CITYxCITY Festival and creates the conditions to upscale digital solutions based on iconic projects. The initiative is a cooperation of Eurocities,  Open & Agile Smart Cities (OASC),  European Network of Living Labs (ENoLL) and is supported by the European Commission and the European Committee of the Regions.

Purpose and main take-aways of the session

The main goal of this session is to present the DT4REGIONS approach for co-creating AI and Big Data innovative public services collectively by developing a unique challenge-based innovation platform for the development of tools and services of public interest.

During the session, the participants will join an interactive debate with the aim to improve digital transformations of European Regions and Cities, in collaboration between DT4REGIONS and the Living-in.eu initiatives.

Participants will: 

  • Learn more about how to co-design AI and Big Data innovative public services in Europe and beyond. 
  • Get insights on how to stimulate peer to peer knowledge sharing within Communities of Practices revolving around the generation and improvement of public services. 
  • Understand how to be part of the digital transformation of regions through AI and Big Data and scale this approach around Europe.
  • Exploiting the social impact of AI within the targeted Communities of Practice and in collaboration with the Action Oriented Task Force on the Social Impact of AI (from the European Network of Living Labs).


14.00 – 14.05 am    Welcome and objectives

Dr. Francesco Raphael Frieri   – General Director, Emilia-Romagna Region, Italy

14.05 – 14.20 am  Keynote Speech: The Value of Digital Transformations for European Regions

Andrea Halmos – Policy Officer in the ‘Smart Mobility and Living’ Unit of DG CONNECT at European Commission

14.20 – 14:25 am   The Living in EU initiative for digital transformation in cities and communities 

Wim De Kinderen – Vice-President of the European Network of Living Labs and Programme Director European Affairs at Brainport Eindhoven EU Office

14.25 – 14:30 am   The Social Impact of AI for cities and regions

Fernando Vilariño – Chair of the European Network of Living Labs, Leader of the Action Oriented Task Force on Social Impact of AI and Associate Director at Computer Vision Centre

14.30 – 15.10 pm    European Regions Unveiling the Social Impact of AI through DT4REGIONS

Open debate to showcase the Digital Agendas of European cities on AI strategies

  • Daniel Marco Parraga, Director General for Innovation and Digital Economy at Government of Catalonia
  • Hans C. Arents, Senior Advisor Digital Government in the Flanders Digital Agency
  • Arnaud Pinier, Chargé de mission Délégation numérique in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region
  • Anna Nikina-Ruohonen, Researcher, Entrepeneurship and Business Renewal Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, Helsinki, Finland 
  • Oscar Guadilla Jiménez, Innovation Manager in the Basque Government´s Information Society

14.55 – 15.10 pm Questions and open debate

Session moderated by Francesca Spagnoli – Head of Projects, European Network of Living Labs

15.10 – 15.15 pm    Closing of the event

Dr. Francesco Raphael Frieri  – General Director, Emilia-Romagna Region, Italy


Fernando Vilariño

Associate Director at the Computer Vision Center and Associate Professor at the Department of Computer Science UAB

Wim De Kinderen

Senior Professional in EU Affairs