Data Space Discovery Day

Business value of sovereign data sharing

Sofia | 9th of November 2022

Tech experts and data enthusiasts joined us in Bulgaria for the first Data Spaces Discovery Day – a one day event all about data spaces!

Get a taste here of the great atmosphere in Sofia and of topics that have been discussed such as data sovereignty, cross-domain data sharing and domain-specific data spaces.

About Event

A great event ahead this autumn in Sofia: We would like to invite you on November 9 to be part in the Data Spaces Discovery Day in Sofia. The event, hosted by GATE and IDSA together with partnering organizations and companies from the Bulgarian and European data sharing ecosystem will bring together enthusiasts from Europe into an interactive discussion on the building blocks and enablers and demonstrating the business value of sovereign data sharing.

All of these with a particular focus on data spaces for urban environments and their specific challenges, the complex data ecosystem and economy for smart urban mobility, energy use, and utility management.

You can expect a jam-packed agenda with inspiring keynotes, insightful discussions and panels, exciting data space demonstrations and the opportunity to network with like-minded people ready to drive the data economy and data spaces forward.

The Schedule

Timing and agenda of event

  • 9:30 - 9:50 EET

    Welcome address and opening

  • Sylvia Ilieva, GATE Institute

    Alexander Poulev, Minister of Innovation and Growth

    Tanya Hristova, Mayor of Gabrovo Municipality

  • 9:50 - 11:15 EET

     Panel 1 Data spaces

    Moderator: Sylvia Ilieva, GATE Institute

  • Data spaces from a strategic perspective, Lars Nagel, IDSA

    Introduction to data spaces, Christoph Mertens, IDSA

    Keynote: Challenges of urban data handling, ,

    Launch event: Bulgarian urban data space, GATE and partners

  • 11:15 - 11:45 EET

    Cofee Break & Networking

  • Antoaneta Ilkova, National Statistical Institute

    Nikola Tulechki, Data for good

    Evgenia Doikova, Overgas

    Georgeta Rafailova, Sofiaplan

    Dessislava Petrova-Antonova, GATE Institute

    Tania Hristova, Gabrovo Municipality

  • 12:15 - 13:00 EET

     Data space examples | Part I

    Moderator: Christoph Mertens, IDSA

  • Helsinki energy data space, Tuomo Tuikka, VTT

    Integrating smart cities into data space, Ulrich Ahle, FIWARE

    City lighting Barcelona by City of Barcelona and T-Systems, Dandan Wang, T-Systems

  • 13:00 - 14:10 EET


  • 14:10 - 14:40 EET

     Data Space Examples | Part II

    Moderator: Lars Nagel, IDSA

  • Multi-modal mobility and smart charging station infrastructure by Mobility Data Space, Michael Schaefer, Mobility Data Space

    Public health demo by TNO, Matthijs Punter, TNO

  • 14:40 - 15:30 EET

     Pannel discussion: The business value of data spaces

    Moderator: Christoph Mertens, IDSA

  • Maria Barros, IONOS

    Gerard van der Hoeven, iShare

    Radoslav Rizov, Telelink Business Services

    Joro Penchev, Astea Solutions

    Hristo Chernev, Taxi Me

  • 15:30 - 15:50 EET

    Cofee Break & Networking

  • 15:50 - 16:30 EET

     Towards European data spaces

    Moderator: Christoph Mertens, IDSA

  • Keynote interview: Sovereign data sharing – the way forward in Europe, Ed Curry, Insight Centre

    Next steps, events, projects and skills developmentSylvia Ilieva, GATE Institute; Lars Nagel, IDSA

  • 16:30 EET

    Farewell coffee & networking

The Speakers

Official guests and experts who will be speaking at the event


Alexander Poulev

Minister of Innovation and Growth

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Tanya Hristova

Mayor of Gabrovo Municipality

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Lars Nagel

International Data Spaces Association, CEO

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Sylvia Ilieva

Director of GATE Institute, Professor at Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics, Sofia University, Bulgaria

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Edward Curry

Vice President of the Big Data Value Association (BDVA), Insight, Lero, NUIG

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Christoph Mertens

Head of Adoption at IDSA

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Ulrich Ahle

CEO of the FIWARE Foundation

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Michael Schaefer

Managing Director, Mobility Data Space

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Tuomo Tuikka

Lead, Data Space Solutions at VTT, Finland

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Matthijs Punter


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Dandan Wang

T Systems

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Dessislava Petrova-Antonova

Data Management and Future Cities Research Lead at GATE Institute

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Radoslav Rizov

Director High Value Projects, Telelink Business Services

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Gerard van der Hoeven

Executive Director, iShare

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Maria Barros

VP of Digital Ecosystems Solutions, iShare

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Hristo Chernev

Taxi Me

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Joro Penchev

Astea Solutions

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Georgeta Rafailova


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Evgenia Doikova


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Nikola Tulechki

Data for good

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Antoaneta Ilkova

National Statistical Institute

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Common questions and answers about the event

speaker Todor Primov

Meet Todor Primov

Todor Primov lead Life Sciences and Healthcare Solutions team at Ontotext. Todor and his team are focused on development and delivery of large scale semantic data integration, information extraction and semantic search solutions in pharma, biotech, healthcare and clinical domains.

speaker Alexander_Poulev

Meet Alexander Poulev

Alexander Poulev holds a Master's degree in Finance from Oxford University and a Bachelor's degree in Information Systems and Finance from the University of Maine, USA. He has worked as a Director of Investment Banking at UniCredit banking group for four years; as a Principal Banker at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) for six years and as Advisory Manager at Ernst & Young. He also worked in international companies such as Citigroup Global Markets, Brown Brothers Harriman and General Electric. Alexander Poulev has many years of experience in project financing and transaction structuring ranging from equity investment to syndication of hybrid and senior debt. He managed a portfolio of Bulbank start-up companies and was coordinator of the EBRD's venture capital program for the Balkans. He was appointed by President Rumen Radev as caretaker Deputy Minister of Transport and Communications for the period from September to December 2021.

speaker Nikola_Tulechki

Meet Nikola Tulechki


speaker Antoaneta_Ilkova

Meet Antoaneta Ilkova

Antoaneta Ilkova has a long career in the National Statistical Institute of Bulgaria. Her current position is Director of ‘Multi-Domain Statistics and User Services’ Directorate. She has an extensive experience and knowledge in the area of dissemination of statistical data and communication activities, especially in the communication with different stakeholders, statistical literacy projects and dissemination of digital and printed publications and other products and services. Her main responsibilities in the National Statistical Institute are related to promote BNSI’s statistical products and services and to encouraging people to use BNSI data. She represents Bulgaria in the European Statistical System on a number of statistical working groups. She sits on the Eurostat DIGICOM project groups across cutting project on digital communication, user analytics and innovative products in the European Statistical System.

speaker Evgenia_Doikova

Meet Evgenia Doikova

Evgenia Doikova is a gas pipeline construction mnager at Overgas.

speaker Sylvia Ilieva

Meet Sylvia Ilieva

Sylvia Ilieva is a professor at the Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics and Director of GATE Institute at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”. Her research interests are in the areas of software platforms, software development processes, data management, and software engineering for AI. She was a team leader of BSc and MSc Software Engineering programmes creation in compliance with ACM/IEEE recommendations. She was a supervisor of more than 200 MSc theses. She has a good record of successful participation in over 20 European research and education projects.

speaker Dandan Wang

Meet Dandan Wang

After her Ph.D. in computer science, Dandan Wang worked in the US, China, France and German as a senior data scientist with a deep understanding of data science, machine learning and cloud service ecosystem. Dandan Wang has extensive academic publications and research projects in privacy-preserving machine learning, data-driven evolutionary optimization, multi-objective reinforcement learning, and federated Learning. She has 10+ years of experience in advancing the Fortune Global 500 organization’s innovation blueprint in data analytics - from science to application - with broad digital knowhow for Telecommunication, Smart City, Healthcare, Aviation, Renewables, Oil & Gas, Automotive, Manufacturing and Supply Chain.

speaker Hristo_Chernev

Meet Hristo Chernev

Hristo Chernev is a serial entrepreneur and senior executive with 20-year solid commercial experience. Co-founder and CEO of TaxiMe, Hristo is keen on building great teams and growing sales.

speaker Joro_Penchev

Meet Joro Penchev

He has been involved in many roles at Astea Solutions: as a senior developer, systems architecture engineer and consequently team lead in a wide array of technologies (nodejs, any sort of frontend JS, php, rails, action script, python, among many others) and analyst. He has been active in business development and most recently doing partnerships on research projects across Europe.

speaker Tanya_Hristova

Meet Tanya Hristova

Tanya Hristova has been the mayor of Gabrovo Municipality since 2011 and leads the Bulgarian delegation at the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) where she has been a prominent member since 2012. Ms Hristova already chaired the SEDEC Commission briefly between September 2019 and February 2020. She has also worked as a chief of the political office of Bulgaria's Minister of EU funds between 2010 and 2011.

speaker Georgeta_Rafailova

Meet Georgeta Rafailova

Georgeta is an architect. She graduated at UACEG in 1984; working at OP Sofproect since the establishment of the enterprise in 1998; over 34 years of experience in spatial planning. Key expert in the elaboration of: Sofia Municipality Masterplan, approved in 2007 and of its amendments 2009, 2014 and 2019; Sofia Region Development Strategy up to 2015. Team leader for the Development Plan of Sofia Municipality 2014-2020 and the municipal project for preparation of Sofia Integrated Plan for Urban Renewal and Development 2014-2020. Author and co-author of concepts, strategies and programs for implementation of Sofia Masterplan, and of a number of detailed urban plans with significant territorial coverage for Sofia and other settlements in Bulgaria. Member of municipal teams participating in EU international urban projects and conferences, lately TURaS, URBiNAT; she is the contact person at Sofia Municipality for METREX - the network of professionals in spatial planning for European metropolises. As member of Sofiaplan team her work focus is on spatial and strategic planning.

speaker Gerard_van_der_Hoeven

Meet Gerard van der Hoeven

Entrepreneur, venture builder and senior executive with over 25 years of entrepreneurial experience in the Tech industry. Been founding, building and scaling ventures in consulting, software, telecom, utility, electronics and payments.

speaker Maria-Barros

Meet Maria Barros

Expertise in Digital Smart Solutions. Demonstrated background in managing international projects, from conceptualization to completion, in several life-cycle phases: consortium building, conceptualization & requirements, design, development, integration, testing, and trialing. Participation in 16+ international and national projects, and evaluation and follow up of 50+ projects, including for the European Commission and Eureka CELTIC-NEXT, in a wide area of information technologies and vertical industries domains. Extensive international network across industry, research and public sector. Long record of public presentations, lectures, and discussions moderation, with 40+ technical paper publications in journal and conferences, and project deliverables.

speaker Edward Curry

Meet Edward Curry

Edward is a Principle Investigator at the Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics at NUI Galway and leads a research unit on Open Distributed Systems. Edward has made contributions to semantic technologies, incremental data management, event processing middleware, software engineering, as well as distributed systems and information systems. He combines strong theoretical results with high-impact practical applications. Edward is author/co-author of over180 peer-reviewed scientific publications. Edward is co-founder and elected Vice President of the Big Data Value Association, an industry-led European big data community, has built consensus on a joint European big data research and innovation agenda. He is the Chairperson of the GATE Advisory Board.

speaker Dessislava Petrova

Meet Dessislava Petrova

Dessislava Petrova-Antonova is the Research Leader of Data Management Research Unit of GATE Institute. Her research area includes Data management with a focus on semantic data interoperability and enrichment. She is leading the City Digital Twin pilot project, where an advanced 3D City Model of Sofia is under development to facilitate analysis, simulation and visualisation of urban environment and processes.

Dessislava Petrova-Antonova obtained an engineering degree in Computer systems and technologies (2000) and Ph.D. in System programming (2007) from the Technical University of Sofia, Bulgaria. She is an associate professor at Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics of Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”. Dessislava Petrova-Antonova is presently head of MSc program “Technology entrepreneurship and innovations in IT”. She has co-authored more than 70 peer-reviewed academic publications. She has successfully participated in a number of European and national RTD projects (more than 30) and currently coordinates two of them – “Big Data Innovative Solutions for Smart Cities” (Big4Smart) and “Digital twin modelling of patients with cognitive disorders” (CogniTwin), funded by the Bulgarian National Scientific Fund.

speaker Matthijs Punter

Meet Matthijs Punter

Matthijs Punter is an IT-professional focused on bridging the gap between business and IT. His research is focussed on next generation infrastructures for sharing data in business networks using semantic technologies (linked data and big data).

speaker Ulrich Ahle

Meet Ulrich Ahle

Before been elected to become the CEO of the newly founded FIWARE Foundation headquartered in Berlin Ulrich was Vice President Manufacturing, Retail &Transportion within Consulting and System Integration of the international IT provider Atos in Germany. He worked in a range of industries and sectors including Electronics & High Tech as well as Autmotive. Ulrich is a well known expert in the broad field of IT, Consulting, Industrie 4.0 and Digitization covering the entire spectrum from IT Strategy (Business Models, Organizational Alignment, Service Delivery) to Operations, including Corporate Transactions and Acquisition Integration. He is also a frequently sought after expert for Digital IT Services and the Industrial IT Revolution.

speaker Anderson Michael Schaefer

Meet Michael Schaefer

Michael Schäfer is the new Managing Director at Mobility Data Space, Munich.

speaker Radoslav Rizov

Meet Radoslav Rizov

Extensive experience on European union grantschemes and funding opportunities from ICTperspective. Worked on projects related to sustainabledevelopment, environment, urban development andeducation. Most recent projects related to air qualitymonitoring - "AIRTHINGS" funded under Balkan-MedProgramme 2014-2020 aiming at introduction of IoTair quality monitoring stations and active citizenengagement through various initiatives - marathons,hackathons, etc.
"INNOAIR" funded under Urban Innovative Action2014-2020 - improving air quality through on-demandpublic transportation and cultural shift of citizens tomore eco and green way of traveling in urbanenvironment. Set of tools will be tested during theproject implementation such as "Green corridors", "Low emission zones", "Citizen challenges foralternative traveling", "Co-creation of campaigns". Theproject will also explore different dependenciesaffecting air quality by analysing various data sourcesand data sets generated and correlated - air qualitystations, traffic, weather, etc.

speaker Francesca Bria

Meet Francesca Bria

Francesca Bria is the Chairwoman of CDP Venture Capital SGR- National Innovation Fund. She is leading the DECODE project on data sovereignty in Europe. She is a Senior Adviser to the United Nation on digital cities and digital rights, and she is Assistant Professor in the Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose at UCL in London. She is an adviser for the European Commission on Innovation Policy, and she is the former Chief Digital Technology and Innovation for the City of Barcelona in Spain.

speaker Tuomo Tuikka

Meet Tuomo Tuikka

Tuomo Tuikka has a long career in ICT Research and especially with software technologies. He has been lucky enough to work in various parts of world on related topics, Copenhagen, Denmark, San Jose, USA, and Tokyo, Japan.
His long term experience is reflected pretty much in his own current interests, that is how complex systems software should be developed, how Artificial Intelligence could be useful in software architectures in distributed setting. That is, in fact, a design problem altogether, you need to understand the whole technology stack and the complexity of human activity. Now, he is working on data sharing, eventually a design problem as well, which seems to have many perspectives to tackle. He is being part of development with IDSA, GAIA-X and BDVA colleagues.

speaker Lars_Nagel

Meet Lars Nagel

Main fields of work of Lars Nagel are Innovation Management, Network Engagement and Technology Transfer.

speaker Christoph Mertens

Meet Christoph Mertens

Christoph Mertens studied computer science at the Technical University of Dortmund. After his time at the university, he worked for the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics – IML where he was engaged in the field of business analysis and software selection projects, as well as Industry 4.0 related projects, which were research and industry driven. Since June 2018 Christoph works for the International Data Spaces Association (IDSA). In his position as Head of Adoption, he is responsible for bringing the IDS approach to life and to manage different working streams to fulfil this goal. Since with Version 3 of the IDS reference architecture the first stable version of the architecture was published in beginning of 2019, the time has come to bring the approach to life. This is driven by two main paths, the industry driven path, where companies like ATOS, Deutsche Telekom, TNO, and others define business models and the road map for an economically driven implementation of the IDS ecosystem. And the second path, which is driven by our various research projects, that is focused on raising the TRL of IDS components – like app stores, brokers, vocabulary providers, connectors – and exploring different technologies to implement these components in pilots from different domains. To support these two paths the IDSA has different domain specific communities and liaisons with international initiatives. As Head of Adoption Christoph is also driving the international Hub Initiative which supports the IDSA to bring the IDS approach to national markets and local initiatives. Currently there are IDSA Hubs in the Netherlands, Finland, France, Italy, Spain and the Czech Republic.