URBACT Call for Action Planning Networks

URBACT will launch its Call for Action Planning Networks on 7th January 2019 – supporting cities in addressing policy challenges by producing integrated action plans. All details of the call including the Terms of Reference, guide for project proposals, and the relevant factsheets will be available on the day. Information sessions will be organised in due course. 

For more details on the call, please consult the URBACT website.

Horizon 2020 – Funding for Transport Initiatives

On 22nd October, INEA, European Commission’s Executive Agency for Research and Innovation, hosted an information day on the funding made available in 2019 under Horizon 2020’s transport initiatives. With funds of up to €355m available in the upcoming year, the Commission has published a list of projects which will focus on mobility for growth, automated road transport, green vehicles and next generation batteries. The transport funds in particular aim to fuel the innovation and research needed to support the EU in its ambition for decarbonization and green agenda targets. Further details on priorities for transport under Horizon 2020 can be found here.  

Horizon 2020 is the 8th Framework Programme of the EU dedicated to Research & Innovation, specifically focused on fostering excellence in research and innovation. With a budget of nearly €80bn over the 2014-2020 MFF, the programme contributes to enhancing Europe’s competitiveness and helping in achieving the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy in areas such as energy, transport and digital advancements.


Research performed by the Committee of the Regions analyzing the involvement of Local and Regional Authorities in Horizon 2020 has found that LRAs are eligible to participate in virtually all of the programme’s actions [1].


Although up to date the largest recipient group of Horizon 2020 were private companies and Higher Education Authorities (approximately 66% of all participants between 2014-2016), there is scope for Local and Regional Authorities to get involved in projects, depending on the types of action. Research performed by the Committee of the Regions analyzing the involvement of Local and Regional Authorities in Horizon 2020 has found that LRAs are eligible to participate in virtually all of the programme’s actions [1]. In short, a detailed analysis of the various calls is needed to fully appreciate opportunities for LRAs to become involved, particularly as research funders, public procurers or managing authorities of regional research & innovation programmes.

Ireland is leading the way when it comes to securing Horizon 2020 funding and Enterprise Ireland is managing the implementation of the Irish strategy for maximizing the country’s participation in Horizon 2020. Up to 2017, Ireland as a whole has secured €424m in funding. The overall aim is to secure €1.25bn in funding until the close of the programme in 2020, representing 1.66% of the total EU budget committed.

Local and regional authorities also have their share of this success. Limerick City and County Council, together with consortium members from Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Romania, Estonia and Spain, secured a €20m funding for their project to work on developing Positive Energy Districts across Europe. The +CityxChange project will allow Limerick to become the first Irish ‘lighthouse smart city’ to develop innovative solutions for sustainable urban environments.

Although the structure of Horizon 2020 is very complex, there are a number of widely available resources to support your understanding the programme. If you wish to access more information, please contact the Irish Regions European Office.

[1] Horizon 2020 and Local and Regional Authorities

Urban Innovative Actions – Fourth Call for Proposals

Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) launched its fourth call for proposals on 15th October 2018. Managed by the French Region Hauts-de-France and part of the ERDF, the overarching mission of the programme is to identify innovative and creative solutions which ‘address issues related to sustainable urban development and are of relevance at Union level’. The budget for this call is between 80-100 million ERDF.


According to the UIA, the main aim of the initiative is to provide urban authorities across Europe with space and resources to test unproven ideas addressing interconnected challenges and examine how these respond to the complexity of real life. Projects to be supported need to be innovative, of good quality, designed and implemented with the involvement of key stakeholders, result oriented and transferable. 

UIA encourages urban authorities to move from normal, mainstream ERDF projects and take the risk to transform creative ideas into prototypes that can be tested in real urban settings. The UIA has the capability to support projects that are too risky for traditional funding sources, provided that they are highly experimental.

Who can apply?

According to the Terms of Reference for Call Four, the following bodies are eligible to apply:

  • Any urban authority of a local administrative unit defined according to the degree of urbanization as city, town or suburb comprising at least 50,000 inhabitants;
  • Any association or grouping of urban authorities of local administrative units defined according to the degree of urbanization as city, town or suburb where the total population is at least 50,000 inhabitants. This include cross-border associations of different regions between Member States.

In Ireland the counties are considered as eligible urban authorities under the category “organized agglomerations”. In this case the county can be a Main Urban Authority provided that the majority of the population is living in municipalities (LAUs) composing the county and considered by Eurostat as cities or suburbs/towns (code 1 or 2). In addition, for this 4th Call and only for the topic “Sustainable use of land – nature based solutions”, there is a possibility for municipalities with code 3 (rural) to be included in a proposal as Associated Urban Authorities.

More information on eligibility criteria can be found here (Section 2 – Terms of Reference for the Call) and questions regarding eligibility should be directed towards the UIA secretariat at an early stage. Applicant seminars will be held in Munich on 21 November and in Brussels on 28 November. Registration is available on the UIA website.

What are this call’s topics?

The topics selected by the European Commission for this call are:

  1. Digital Transition, with key focus on implementing smart cities solutions, enabling citizen-centric eGovernment solutions, improving free and fair access to data, speeding up the adoption of agile technologies to modernise cities’ infrastructure (IoT solutions and applications)
  2. Sustainable use of land and nature-based solutions, with particular focus on quality of life, biodiversity, ecosystems and regional planning. Projects are expected to ‘promote sustainable land use through the implementation of nature-based solutions’.
  3. Urban Poverty, including innovative solutions to tackle homelessness, socio-educational inequalities, child poverty and access to basic services, amongst others.
  4. Urban security, focusing on reducing public security threats and as such, at local levels, projects should focus on social integration, community empowerment, resilience or law enforcement.

Applicants should be mindful of the fact that certain topics have been selected for previous calls, and are therefore invited to consult previously approved projects.

More information about the call, further description of the topics, as well as the relevant documentation required for application can be found at https://www.uia-initiative.eu/en/call-proposals. The closing date for applications is 31st January 2019.

Interreg NWE call for proposals open!

A new call for proposals for INTERREG North-West Europe is currently open until November 22nd.

The objective of the programme is to make the North-West Europe area a key economic player and an attractive place to work and live, with high levels of innovation, sustainability and cohesion.

The call is open to projects responding to one of the three priorities of the programme:

  • Innovation
  • Low-carbon
  • Resource and materials efficiency

Within these priorities, projects dealing with migration issues (integration of recognised refugees in particular in the domain of entrepreneurship, employment and access to the labour market) are encouraged. A Project Ideas Lab/ Networking event will take place in Paris on 2nd October 2018 and registration is now open.

Projects should bring together partners from at least three different countries of which two need to be from a region within the North-West Europe area. A wide range of organisations are eligible: national, regional and local authorities, universities, R&D agencies, non-profit organisations, and private partners, including SMEs. The lead partner must be from the not-for-profit sector.

The maximum co-financing rate applied to projects is 60%.

Want to apply?

Step 1 applications have to be submitted by November 22nd at 12pm (Brussels time).

More information:

Contact point in Ireland: Siobhán Rudden, srudden@southernassembly.ie