Urban Problems of the 21st century
The cities of Europe face a number of daunting problems in the 21st century. These range from urban decline to climate change, and beyond. The scale of these issues crosses national boundaries and cannot be faced by one country alone. Therefore, it is vital that efforts in research and innovation be commensurate with the problems faced. Since its creation in 2010, JPI Urban Europe has strived to encourage this vital transnational research.
In order to achieve the aim of transnational research coordination and cooperation, we prepare and facilitate calls for research and innovation projects.
The calls are developed according to the multi-annual call agenda and implemented by the Funding Agencies Working Group (FAWG). In line with our principles of fostering inter-and transdisciplinary research and innovation, we aim to include in the resulting projects the participation of a wide spectrum of actors, such as researchers, practitioners, entrepreneurs, municipalities, companies, NGOs, and other stakeholders dedicated to the development of European urban areas.
Based on the JPI UE Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA) and its defined priorities and research topics, a multi-annual call agenda has been developed covering the timeframe 2016–2020. The multi-annual call agenda takes an integrated view on urban development with the ambition of fostering cross-fertilisation of the thematic priorities but at the same time to have clearly defined and focused call topics. Based on the call agenda specification, call topics will be defined with consideration to results already achieved from earlier calls, the latest scientific developments, external cooperation opportunities and newly identified research needs. For different calls, tuned to the call topics and aims, specific participation conditions and criteria might apply.
We are proud to say that in the first three calls 37 research and development projects have been selected with over 150 project partners including research institutes, municipalities, entrepreneurs and citizen platforms.
The projects are financed by funding agencies with a total budget of €41.7 million, including €5.5 million in top-up funding from the European Commission.
In 2012 and 2013 we carried out two pilot calls that supported the start-up phase of JPI UE. Ten and then sixteen funding agencies joined forces respectively, and started collaboration on urban matters. National budgets were pooled together to initiate transnational projects on topics such as urban governance, urban systems and networks, urban vulnerability or urban diversity. 20 projects were funded in these two calls.
Over time we have been able to expand the scope of our calls by developing ERANET Co-funded calls. The ERANET Co-funds provide European Commission top-up funding and enable the connection of the JPI UE programme to various societal challenges of H2020 and generate added value through initiating cooperation with EU policies and activities, such as the European Innovation Partnership Smart Cities and Communities or structural funds. The ERANET Cofunds also facilitate the widening of participation of EU Member States or Associated States and support international cooperation (e.g. with Belmont Forum and China).
In the ERANET Cofund Smart Cities and Communities call 17 projects were granted approval with a total budget of €21.9 million including €5.5 million in European Commission top-up funding.
The ERANET Cofund Smart Urban Futures is now in its full proposal stage and awaits the project selection phase. The ERANET Cofund Sustainable Urbanisation Global Initiative call is now under preparation.
Our calls aim to boost international collaboration, knowledge development and application. Therefore, the calls usually ask for the participation of eligible applicants from at least three different participating countries, and ask for a variety of types of participants. The specific topics of the call determine the specific eligibility and selection criteria. As our calls are based upon multi-lateral cooperation, applicants need to comply with their respective national and funding agency related eligibility criteria and funding rates that are tuned to country specific uses and conditions (but might differ between the participating funding agencies).
Participants that aren’t eligible for funding through JPI Urban Europe are still very welcome to join a project (proposal), however, they will be responsible for arranging their own funding sources.
We seek to become ever more effective and efficient in our operation. For this reason we have put in procedures which use experiences from past calls in order to improve future calls regarding setting the aims, ambitions and the related proposal selection criteria. Feedback has helped us set priorities such as extending the timeframe between a call announcement and deadlines for proposals or improving the project requirements to foster a strong contribution of various urban stakeholders, such as local initiatives, municipalities or entrepreneurs.