Open Call for Civil Society Projects

The EU is made of citizens and for citizens, and that is why encouraging and facilitating their wilder involvement in the EU is of great importance. Europe is facing a challenging agenda for the years to come and it is now paramount for citizens to participate in discussions that help to shape EU policies.

EU’s Europe for Citizens Programme aims to ”contribute to citizens’ understanding of the EU, its history and diversity and to encourage the democratic participation of citizens at EU level”. It is an important instrument aimed at getting citizens to play a greater part in the development of the Union. The programme recently launched a call for proposals for projects under Strand 2: Democratic engagement and civic participation. Up to €3.7 in funding is available for civil society projects.

A Civil Society Project must include at least two of the following types of activities:

  • Promotion of societal engagement and solidarity: activities promoting debate/campaigns/actions on themes of common interest in the framework of the rights and responsibilities of the Union
    citizens and making the link to the European political agenda and policy making process.
  • Gathering of opinions: activities aiming at gathering the individual opinions of the citizens favouring a bottom up approach (including the use of social networks, webinars, etc.) and media literacy.
  • Volunteering: activities promoting solidarity among Union citizens and beyond.

Applicants must be either public bodies or non-profit organisations with legal personality. This will be the programme’s last call for 2019.

Ireland has great track record in the Programme, with projects spanning from democratic engagement, twinning towns, historical awareness or civil participation. An interactive map of projects across all Member States in the EU is available on the European Commission’s website.

The deadline for applications is September 2nd – and all relevant documentation can be accessed via the call’s website.

Second call – WiFi4EU

The date of the second call of the WiFi4EU voucher initiative has been announced for 04 April 2019 at 13:00 CEST. With a call budget of EUR 51 million, the Commission will distribute 3,400 vouchers across European municipalities on a first come, first served basis.

In order to be able to apply for the EUR 15,000 voucher, municipalities need to register on the WIFi4EU Portal before the call. The voucher will allow the winning municipality to set up free Wi-Fi networks in public spaces. The call will be open until 17:00 CEST on 05 April 2019. For this call, the maximum number of vouchers per participant Member State has been raised from 8% to 15% of the budget of the call.

The previous call saw 44 successful Irish applications from a number of County and City Councils and municipalities are free to select the WiFi installation company of their choice.

Click here for the registration form.

iCapital Award launches for the 5th time!

Cities and towns are the backbone of our ecosystems, providing favourable conditions for the strengthening of innovation, resilience and sustainability.

The EU recognises cities with inclusive innovation ecosystems by awarding the European Capital of Innovation Awards (iCapital). In its 5th edition, the iCapital prize enables European cities to showcase their contribution to developing local innovation ecosystems for the benefit of businesses and the well-being of their citizens. The award is managed by European Commission’s Directorate General for Research & Innovation.

An annual cash prize is awarded to the European city that is best able to demonstrate its ability to harness innovation to improve the lives of its citizens. This particularly includes cities that contribute to open and dynamic innovation ecosystems; involve citizens in governance and decision-making, and’ use innovation to improve the resiliency and sustainability of their cities.

The prize value to the named city is €1 million, with €100,000 for each of the five runner-up cities. The award also recognises a number of finalist cities specially acknowledged for their efforts in promoting innovation.

Cities with at least 100,000 inhabitants, in a Member State associated to Horizon 2020, are eligible to apply.

More details on the selection criteria as well as previous success stories can be found on the iCapital website.

Closing date is 9th June!

Interreg NWE – 9th call open

Interreg North West Europe Call 9 Opens: Deadline 14th June 2019

Interreg North West Europe Programme ninth call for project proposals is now open.  The deadline for Step 1 applications is Friday 14 June 2019.  The application form and support documents are now available online.

The current call for proposals is only open to priority 1 and priority 3 of the NWE Programme. The Programme is looking for transnational cooperation projects that can deliver concrete results for the North-West Europe area and its citizens under its two priorities of Innovation and Resource and Materials Efficiency.

Priority 1: Innovation

Specific Objective 1: To enhance innovation performance of enterprises throughout NWE regions.

Within priority 1, and without excluding in any way other relevant topics for this priority, the NWE programme would welcome in particular projects dealing with:

  • Social innovation, including projects addressing the migration-related challenge, focusing on the integration of recognised refugees on the mid & long-term, in particular in the domain of entrepreneurship, employment and access to the labour market.
  • Innovative products, processes and technologies contributing to CO2 reduction and the green economy, including green transport, in line with the big societal challenges addressed by the Paris Agreement. 

Priority 3: Resource and materials efficiency

Specific Objective 5: To optimise (re)use of material and natural resources in NWE.

Within priority 3, the NWE programme is specifically interested in projects focusing on circular economy.

The Programme encourages public, scientific, private and civil society organisations to come together to improve the economic, environmental, territorial and social development of the regions in the North-West Europe area.

The application process is in two steps.  Step 1 focuses on the project need, its objectives and expected results.  If approved, it is developed into a full Step 2 application and success at this stage means full approval and a grant award of up to 60%.

For complete information about Call 9 please visit:  Please contact Rita McGarvey, National Contact Point for Ireland for further information:

Tel: +353 51 860700
Twitter: @interreg_nwe

Interreg NWE is one of the fifteen transnational cooperation programmes financed by the European Union. It is financed through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).  The Southern Regional Assembly and the Eastern & Midlands Regional Assembly represent the Member State on the Programme’s Monitoring Committee. 

INEA launches 2019 CEF Call for Transport

On 8th January, INEA (Innovation and Networks Executive Agency) opened the 2019 CEF (Connecting Europe Facility) Transport for Proposals, making €100 million of funding available for projects of common interest in the transport sector. This is one of the last calls before the end of the current Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020.

The 2019 annual CEF call focuses on two priorities:

  • Removing bottlenecks and bridging missing links, enhancing rail interoperability and improving cross-border sections of roads, railways and maritime ports positioned on the comprehensive TEN-T network (€65 million available);
  • Reducing rail freight noise by supporting the retrofitting of existing freight wagons with brake blocks or disc brakes (€35 million available).

Both works and proposals for studies are eligible for financing under the call, with various co-funding rates applicable and ranging from 10% to 50%.

During the Information Day held on 17th January, INEA commented on the ongoing preparations for the next Multiannual Financial Framework, adding that almost all of the CEF budget for the current framework is committed.

Under the 2014-2017 calls, Irish applicants submitted 28 eligible proposals. 19 projects were selected, with Irish beneficiaries receiving €90.1 million of CEF Transport funding, and investing a total of €485.9 million in these projects.

Further details, as well as a breakdown of projects eligible for funding under this call are available by following this link.

Applications close on 24th April 2019.

Queries about the call can be directed to

URBACT – Monitoring Committee approves new transfer networks

URBACT’s Monitoring Committee approves 23 Transfer networks for Phase 2

Two projects with Irish partners have been approved in the process.

Kildare County Council will partake in ”Volunteering Cities”, a network aiming to make use of volunteerism to approach social exclusion and poverty at the community level via inter-generational collaboration, where different age groups of volunteers and individuals facing social problems work towards a sustainable improvement of the quality of life withing the local society.

Cork City Council will partner in a project called ”Playful Paradigm”. To promote a more healthy and sustainable society through innovative approach, partner authorities will engage in the concept of gamification, in turn engaging city stakeholders in urban development.

More about the above and other projects can be accessed through the URBACT website.

URBACT is part of European Territorial Cooperation, responsible for fostering sustainable integrated urban development in cities across Europe. Co-financed by the ERDF and the 28 Member States, URBACT’S mission is to enable cities to create innovative solutions to urban challenges through networking, learning and identifying good practices.

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 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,