In tackling societal challenges in the area of sustainable urbanisation, fragmented national research and innovation programmes represent an obstacle for European collaboration. In some countries, the situation has led to an underrepresentation of such countries in transnational collaboration. The different national research and innovation systems, approaches and instruments in these countries also add to the challenge. Furthermore, urban policy-making is often hampered by the limited cross-sector cooperation which does not allow a strong policy support that is based on scientific evidence.
Following the implementation of the actions foreseen by the Commission’s Communication on Joint Programming to tackle Europe’s major societal challenges of 2008, the Competitiveness Council has launched altogether ten Joint Programming Initiatives so far, among which is the Joint Programming Initiative ‘Urban Europe - Global Urban Challenges, Joint European Solutions’ (JPI Urban Europe). The initiative enhances the knowledge and capacities to support urban transition towards sustainability in Europe and beyond. In doing so, it develops innovative solutions and reduces the fragmentation of urban-related research and innovation funding as well as builds critical mass and visibility. Several Council Conclusions on Joint Programming invite the Commission to support JPIs via Coordination and Support Actions.
The development of the JPI Urban Europe is driven by a strong group of countries but as to the overall country participation, the initiative is seeking to widen the participation. Although efforts are taken by the JPI Urban Europe in this sense, the results can only be expected in a longer-term as this challenge is of the structural nature.
The use of the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI Funds) is seen as an essential element to strengthen the implementation of new urban solutions and concepts in Europe. The Urban Agenda sets out a policy agenda for this and for EU urban policy in the wider sense. Many smart specialisation strategies include urban and smart cities related priorities and chart out the use of ERDF funding to develop and test new solutions for them. The Urban Innovative Actions identify and test innovative solutions for sustainable urban development. Also the JPI Urban Europe aims to create, validate and demonstrate knowledge and solutions. The ESI Funds could provide for both investments and implementation support. The challenge is how to create synergies, complementarities and coherence as well as alignment between the activities of the JPI Urban Europe and other existing resources such as the ESI Funds.
The outreach and opening of the JPI Urban Europe to third country partners is increasingly raising interest among the latter. Building on this momentum, the challenge is to further enhance the opening of the JPI to international cooperation and thus contribute to creating a coherent European Research Area that is open to international cooperation in the field of sustainable urban development. The challenge is how to consolidate the alignment of national, EU and international research and innovation programmes, which is one of the key objectives of Joint Programming Initiatives. In that regard, there is also a need to support the post-2015 sustainable development agenda, in particular the Sustainable Development Goal on sustainable cities and urban settlements, building on related international activities taking place at United Nations level.Scope:
Proposals should aim to implement a solid opening-up strategy of the JPI Urban Europe, for enlarging participation of more European partner countries getting involved in the JPI initiative, including from Widening countries, and to further enhancing the commitment and broader participation of countries. Proposals should build on the coordination action ‘EXPAND – Enhancing co-creation in JPI Urban Europe through widening Member State and stakeholder participation’ that is expected to establish a Stakeholder Involvement Platform for the widening of participation and capacity building in terms of countries, regions, stakeholders and urban actors. In that regard, proposals should ensure the sustainability of the Stakeholder Involvement Platform. Proposals should engage a wide variety of countries in the activities of the JPI Urban Europe with the support of existing complementary resources such as the ESI Funds. In doing so, the proposal should build on the pilot activities implemented and establish further test beds for new instruments and for scaling up innovative solutions. Proposals should further professionalise the JPI Urban Europe programme management and further diversify various instruments for creating scientific evidence, innovations and the impact. Proposals should support the strategic processes of the JPI Urban Europe beyond 2020 and also establish mechanisms for the implementation of the future internationalisation strategy of the JPI Urban Europe that is under preparation. In doing so, proposals should investigate activities to align with and support the post-2015 sustainable development agenda, in particular, the Sustainable Development Goal on sustainable cities and urban settlements.
All participants in proposals must be legal entities which finance or manage publicly funded national or regional programmes in the urban-related research and innovation domains or which are institutions mandated to represent the country/region in JPI Urban Europe activities.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of EUR 1.5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting lower amounts.Expected Impact:
- Increased scale and scientific quality of urban-related research and innovation activities as well as the overall coherence, complementarity and efficiency of the use of European research and innovation resources in this area including from Widening countries. In this context, relevant geographical spread is expected (medium to long term impact);
- Further professionalised programme management and more diversified instruments supporting implementation of the JPI Urban Europe Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda corresponding to the conditions of all types of countries as well as the JPI Urban Europe strategy development beyond 2020 (short to medium term impact);
- Increased synergies, complementarities and alignment between the strategies, activities and related resources of the JPI Urban Europe and other existing resources such as the ESI Funds, mostly present in Widening countries (medium term impact);
- More efficient valorisation and take-up of research findings both in terms of policy and innovation, including test beds for piloting new urban solutions (short to medium term impact);
- Improved exchange of know-how on urban R&I solutions across the EU, including Widening countries, and at global level (short to medium term impact);
- Strengthened role of the JPI Urban Europe for underpinning knowledge and scientific evidence for supporting the implementation of related EU policies, also in the context of the post-2015 sustainable development agenda (medium to long term impact);
- Enhanced positioning of the JPI Urban Europe as a privileged and attractive partner for global cooperation in the urban-related research and innovation (medium to long term impact).Delegation Exception Footnote:
This activity directly aimed at supporting public-public partnerships with Member States and associated countries is excluded from the delegation to REA and will be implemented by the Commission services.
Council Conclusions of 8 December 2011
Council Conclusions of 12 October 2010, of 26 November 2010 and of 8 December 2011
 Grant Agreement number 726744 awarded under Horizon 2020 - part 15. Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation
 This task has to develop further the outcomes of the two pilot actions initiated in connection with the ERA-NET Cofund ‘Smart Cities and Communities’ and the Coordination action ‘EXPAND – Enhancing co-creation in JPI Urban Europe through widening Member State and stakeholder participation’
 Provided that the internationalisation strategy of the JPI Urban Europe will be adopted by 2019