JPI Urban Europe Launching the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda

Brussels | Tuesday 29th & Wednesday 30th September 2015

Connecting the Actors – Transition towards sustainable and liveable urban futures

Location: European Parliament

Address: Bât. Altiero Spinelli, Rue Wiertz/Wiertzstraat 60

Date and time: 29th September, 14.30 – 18.00

High level event presenting the JPI Urban Europe Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda

(SRIA) and discussing its research and innovation approach. Mayors and vice-majors from cities

across Europe share their experiences of transitioning their cities. A panel with representatives

from European Institutions elaborates on the key messages from the cities.

The event is co-hosted with the STOA and the URBAN Intergroup of the European Parliament

and the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation of the European Commission.


Celebrating and sharing the urban achievements

Location: Norway house

Address: Rue Archimède/Archimedesstraat 17

Date and time: 29th September, 18.30 -21.00

Networking event with food, drinks and entertainment.


Committing to joint urban programming and actions

Location: Committee of the Regions

Address: Rue Belliard/Belliardstraat 101

Date and time: 30th September, 09.00 -17.00 

A full day of interaction starting with a presentation of the SRIA with a focus on the first steps towards

the implementation and the road-map forward. A panel of cities networking organizations, business

and civil society explores possibilities of future joint activities. City stakeholders, researchers and

policy-makers are invited for thematic workshops and in-depth discussions.

The seminar is co-hosted with the Committee of the Regions and the Directorate-General

for Research and Innovation of the European Commission.




Overview parallel workshops

Committee of the Regions

Wednesday 30th September

The parallel workshops provide an opportunity to discuss the main parts of the SRIA in more detail and to prepare the first steps towards implementation. Discussions aim to identify important steps and tools to implement the SRIA and to identify other relevant programs and initiatives to be approached for joint actions.

Morning Session 11.30 – 13.00

Urban transition pathways

JPI Urban Europe aims to promote a more comprehensive approach to urban research and innovation in urban sustainability building on urban transition pathways, taking into account that integrated system approaches as well as research and practice in innovative collaborations are necessary for successful solutions and to support transition processes.
The session aims to discuss and explore new ways to deal with the complexity of sustainable urban pathways and ways to bridge the implementation gap since ideas and theories related to transition pathways and practical attempts are not necessarily linked together today.

Social Innovation in urban development (featuring SEiSMiC)

In recent years social innovation has been placed prominently on the agendas of policy makers, urban practitioners, social entrepreneurs and researchers. The hype around social innovation is partly due to a reaction on a retreating welfare provisioning and a need for alternative forms to provide these services. Social innovations and innovators are also seen as important catalysts to accelerate urban transformations and to find new ways of tackling urban challenges by experimental approaches and co-creative working models. The session aims at (1) exploring
how social innovation actions and processes can be better integrated in JPI Urban Europe future activities (2) identifying framework conditions that can support and foster social innovative ideas and innovative actors to play a role in urban transitions (3) to explore the idea of SEiSMiC being an “incubator” for JPI Urban Europe.

Alignment of national programs

In order to tackle grand societal challenges, JPI Urban Europe aims to develop a strategic approach for Alignment to help Member States to modify their national programmes, priorities or activities as a consequence of the adoption of joint research priorities in the context of Joint Programming, with a view to implement changes to improve the efficiency of investment in research at the level of Member States and the European Research Area.

The JPI UE has already developed a comprehensive approach to alignment, based on consistent strategy and a portfolio of options, aiming at fostering a major cooperation among Member States, on a variable geometry. The session will present the JPI Urban Europe approach and offer the opportunity to compare different alignment strategies developed in other JPIs. The workshop will also be the occasion to discuss next steps for continuous alignment on urban issues.

Accessibility and connectivity

Cities’ economic competitiveness and citizens’ quality of life are directly influenced by the accessibility of or connectivity with urban amenities and services within and beyond cities. Infrastructural, technological and social developments are having transformative impacts on this connectivity. New forms of organization and management, new services and business models are being experimented with in response to market pressures, environmental regulations, or in expectations and practices of urban dwellers. How are we to proceed to understand the sectoral
changes at stake, their interrelationships and their overall effects on urban performance in the SRIA implementation ahead?

Afternoon Session 14.00 – 15.30

Urban governance and participation

Strategies to transition urban areas to more sustainable and resilient future states will be defined as part of a collaborative process involving all key stakeholders, from public and private organisations to (representative) individual citizens. But this requires new collaborative governance and policy making frameworks to ensure productive, creative and non-conflictual engagement. The utilization of big data, new enabling technologies and methods to support these participatory approaches has particular promise here. The session will explore how
these sociotechnical and transdisciplinary governance issues are to be taken forward in the framework of the SRIA.

Vibrancy in changing economies

Although the urban fraction of Europe’s population is not expected to grow significantly (it is already large), there is and will likely continue to be significant migration from cities in shrinking economies to those in growing economies; particularly from countries in Southern and Eastern Europe to their Northern and Western counterparts. New strategies are needed to support shrinking cities to prevent excessive decline as well as to support cities in taking advantage of the increasing cultural diversity. The session intends to discuss how the SRIA will help to find new ways of achieving and sustaining socio-economic vibrancy and equality in cities with changing economies.

Welfare and finance

Stimulated by post-2008 austerity measures, public services and the size of the welfare state are reducing as civil society is being increasingly called upon to fill the void through bottom-up voluntary efforts. This leads to changing roles of public services and a need to redefine the contribution of and cooperation with community-based activities. It also results in the call for new business models to finance sustainable urban transitions. The session will shed light on
the role of social entrepreneurship, local economies and shared economies and frameworks needed to tap the full potential of these opportunities, with a particular focus on the ‘silver age’ perspective.

Climate change and environmental sustanability

Cities are subject to external and internal influences that can have transformative impacts on their fortunes, even for human life. In an era of globalization, climate change and cultural
diversity cities need to be agile. They need to be able to accommodate and proactively respond
to disruptive events. The session will discuss approaches to necessary infrastructural and
regulatory changes to manage urban transitions in the light of these conditions.