27 July 2022
SERN Consortium


Four municipalities in Italy and Sweden decided to unite their efforts and minds to join the Intelligent Cities Challenge (ICC) as the Sweden Emilia Romagna Network (SERN). The Italian cities of Ravenna and Cervia connected with the Swedish municipalities of Vänersborg and Trollhättan to create this consortium.

Both the municipalities of Ravenna and Cervia are situated in the Emilia Romagna region in Italy and they both worked on their transition to a more sustainable environment. Ravenna primary focused on the green transition in the mobility field, whereas Cervia focused on the preservation of its ecosystem and landscape.

Vänersborg and Trollhättan are situated in the Västra Götaland County in Sweden. Both these municipalities worked on the development of digital strategy as a tool to develop and promote sustainable tourism.

The Network is coordinated by Nicola Catellani who is also the director of the consortium who shared an update on its progress. Through the ICC, the four cities worked together on 3 main policies areas:

  • Digitalisation, with the development of a digital strategy at the municipal level;
  • Green and sustainable communities with a focus on sustainable tourism;
  • Inclusion working on upskilling local stakeholders.

The digital strategy at a municipal level

When working on the development of the digital strategies, the cities realised that some of them were more advanced and better equipped to deal with data projects. To assess the needs of each key stakeholder, the consortium developed a survey. The survey showed that professionals are not sufficiently equipped to take advantage of the opportunities offered by digitalisation.

Using the results of the survey, the consortium and key stakeholders will gather during a workshop which will highlight the main pain points to work on. Once the areas of work are identified, the Network will develop learning tools to allow everyone to up-skill and embrace the digital transformation.

Upskilling key stakeholders about the sustainable tourism

The consortium, together with the region of Högskolan Väst in Croatia, recently developed its own Erasmus+ project which aims to increase the skills of the actors in the field of sustainable tourism while promoting new learning pathways in order to contribute to the recovery of the sector. This project, which started in January 2022, will be useful to stakeholders to develop their skills in this area. The stakeholders have access to an assessment tool that will help them understand their level and choose the right training modules to have the best possible results. The project also offers stakeholders the opportunity to continue upskilling throughout the year.

The ICC is very happy to see that the Sweden Emilia Romagna Network managed to make the collaboration between four cities in two countries work both on the national and transnational level.

More information about the network is available on their website: https://www.sern.eu/