Over €55,000 in funding for COVER project


The (C)ombinatorial (O)ptimisation for (V)ersatile Applications to (E)merging u(R)ban problems (COVER) project received funding under HORIZON-MSCA-2023-SE-01-01 - MSCA Staff Exchanges 2023, which will enable work on, among other things, an urban strategy for the ‘15-minute city’. We discuss the assumptions of the project with its manager on the UG side, Dr Hanna Furmańczyk from the Department of Combinatorial Optimisation of the Institute of Computer Science of the Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Informatics.


Julia Bereszczyńska: - As part of the newly funded COVER project, the concept of the ‘15-minute city’ will be implemented, among other things. What does it mean?

Dr Hanna Furmanczyk: - The COVER project focuses on using combinatorial optimisation and operational research methods to help maintain sustainability principles and improve people's quality of life in the face of a growing urban population. Although the challenges facing cities and their inhabitants vary depending on their geographical location, the COVER consortium will address the concept of the ‘15-minute city’, an urban strategy that aims to provide the most basic services and daily needs, including work, shopping, education, health and recreation, which can be conveniently accessed from anywhere in the city in no more than 15 minutes. The project will also focus on post-disaster management issues such as emergency response and organisation of rescue operations and optimal evacuation strategies for areas prone to natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes. We will also focus on research problems aimed at determining the optimal placement of facilities such as factories, warehouses, schools, hospitals or shelters based on geographical requirements, facility costs and transport distances. We will also work on traffic management problems, which are essential for sustainable urban living.

- How do you want to achieve this?

- While the growing urban population highlights the need for optimisation in all areas of urban planning, research, especially in basic science, is often disconnected from direct practical applications. This consortium aims to create a platform of experts from the complementary fields of combinatorial optimisation, such as integer programming, structural graph theory, operations research and network optimisation, complemented by local governments that solve community problems on a daily basis and IT companies that often use combinatorial optimisation methods in their solutions. Thus, the scientific work in the COVER consortium will bridge the gap between theory and practice in urbanisation problems.

- Is collaboration with other entities planned for the project?

- The MSCA-SE action aims to promote international, cross-sectoral and interdisciplinary research through knowledge transfer, enabled by the mobility of staff. In this context, the COVER consortium consists of 15 institutions and 48 researchers from 6 countries. The consortium includes the following universities, private companies and local government: Turkey: Gebze Technical University (project leader), Boğaziçi University, Optiyol Karar Destek Teknolojileri A.Ş.; Poland: University of Gdańsk, Gdańsk University of Technology, CityBike Poland, JIT Team Sp. z o.o, Gdańsk-Gdynia-Sopot Metropolitan Area; Switzerland: University of Fribourg; Spain: University of A Coruna, University of Cádiz; Slovenia: University of Maribor, University of Primorska; South Africa: University of Stellenbosch and University of Pretoria.

- What will this collaboration consist of?

- Each project partner will identify problems in their city that can be solved using combinatorial optimisation methods. The focus is on international cooperation and the exchange of knowledge and experience between partners, both in the academic and industrial sectors. The project will also enable the education and involvement of young researchers in international research projects. It is also planned to create a prototype of the HOUSE OF PROBLEMS database, which is a database of mathematical models for identified problems, facilitating researchers' access to problems related to their research topics.

- What is the innovation of the project?

- The project is distinguished by its cross-sectoral and interdisciplinary approach, combining mathematics, computer science and computer engineering. It seeks to bring science closer to real-world applications, contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The synergy resulting from combining the theoretical and practical knowledge of the project partners allows for a comprehensive approach to urban problems. The collaboration brings a diversity of experience, which has a positive impact on the quality of research and problem identification. With funding of €395,600.00, of which €55,200 goes to the University of Gdańsk, we are ready to put these ideas into practice.

Julia Bereszczyńska/Press Team