JPI Urban Europe logo

Deadline: 12 Apr 2018   CALL EXPIRED

EU logo mono JPI Urban Europe

 Low-Carbon Economy
 Intelligent Energy
 Sustainable Development
 Urban Management
 Smart Cities
 Urban Development
 Urban transport
 Climate Sciences
 Digital Society

In answer to the global urbanisation challenge, NSFC and JPI Urban Europe have agreed to work towards a long-term cooperation programme in the area of sustainable urbanisation, with different topics addressed in time. For the first, Pilot Call in this programme, the strategic theme of ‘Sustainable Urbanisation in the Context of Economic Transformation & Climate Change’ has been selected.

JPI Urban Europe is a transnational research and innovation programme set-up by European Member States with the ambition to tackle the urbanisation challenge, establish as a European hub for urban transition and sustainability and coordinate and align related activities and actors of the participating Member States. International cooperation is one of the priorities to contribute to urban transition on a global stage. China is seen as one of the key countries for cooperation due to the high urbanisation dynamics and the relevance sustainable urban development has gained.

NSFC on the other hand has already established long-standing experiences with bi- and multilateral cooperation with several European countries. Cooperation with JPI Urban Europe can be used to extend these partnerships and streamline the process of multi-lateral cooperation.

Scope of the Pilot Call and participating funding agencies

Proposals are invited for joint projects under the identified priority themes, addressing key issues where true added value can be gained from collaboration.

The Pilot Call is a joint initiative of nine European funding agencies participating in JPI Urban Europe and NSFC as the Chinese funding agency, with the aim to launch and implement a joint call for proposals as a pilot for long-term cooperation.

This initiative has been launched following a series of joint European-Chinese workshops.

Organisation of JPI Urban Europe-NSFC Pilot Call

Lead partners organising the call are NSFC on the Chinese side and NWO for JPI Urban Europe on the European side. NWO will coordinate the participating and contributing European funding agencies for the present call.

Ambition of the partnership

Supporting the strategies and thematic priorities of NSFC and JPI Urban Europe, both parties aim to establish a long-term cooperation on sustainable urbanisation to achieve the following objectives:

  •   Enhance cities’ and urban areas’ capacities for sustainable urbanisation and the required urban transition processes; and

  •   Create knowledge and evidence for feasible urban transition pathways under different regional and local conditions (e.g., cultural, climate, economic).

    To achieve these objectives NSFC and JPI Urban Europe will set up joint activities to:

  •   Establish a common research and innovation community to address key issues of sustainable urban development;

  •   Create and validate knowledge on integrated urban development and build capacities in cities and municipalities in Europe and China on new urban practice; and

  •   Fund research and innovation projects that contribute to the agendas of NSFC and JPI Urban Europe by addressing common issues of both regions and/or testing concepts against the different requirements of Chinese and European cities.

The cooperation is based upon the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA) of JPI Urban Europe and the 13th Five-Year Plan of NSFC. As the main theme for this Pilot Call the issue of ‘Sustainable Urbanisation in the Context of Economic Transformation & Climate Change’ was selected.


The Pilot Call in 2018 paves the way for a long-term collaboration:


  •   Increase connections between Chinese and European research and innovation communities on urban sustainability;

  •   Design and test a framework for cooperation and implementation of joint calls; and

  •   Initiate research and innovation projects to support the development of a long-term roadmap for joint calls and cooperation.


1. Introduction

This document describes the objectives, scope, and topics of the Pilot Call, rules for participation and procedures for proposal development and project implementation. Further information on the Pilot Call can be found on the websites of JPI Urban Europe ( and NSFC (

The Chinese funding agency in this call is:
 National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), China

The following European funding agencies are participating in the call:

  •   Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG), Austria

  •   Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (F.R.S.-FNRS), Belgium

  •   Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR), France

  •   Ministry of Education and Science (IZM), Latvia

  •   Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), The Netherlands

  •   The Research Council of Norway (RCN), Norway

  •   National Science Centre (NCN), Poland

  •   Swedish Energy Agency (SWEA), Sweden

  •   Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), United Kingdom

Available budget

The total funding available in this programme is approximately M€ 9.35 on the European side, across the participating European funding agencies. NSFC will fund the Chinese part of all projects to be funded under this programme.

Each national funding agency will provide funds directly to their eligible investigators in accordance to the agencies’ rules and regulations. Table 1 (page 15) shows the contribution that is available for this call from each national funding agency.


2. Scope
2.1. Topics of the Pilot Call

According to the global framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDG 11 on Sustainable Cities and Communities, the Pilot Call is designed to address the following three main thematic areas:

  1. a)  Reduce the adverse environmental impact of cities, paying special attention to the quality of air, water and soil, and municipal and other waste management;

  2. b)  Access to safe, affordable, and sustainable housing, transportation and basic services; and

  3. c)  Integrated policies towards inclusion, resource efficiency, mitigation and adaptation to climate change and resilience to disasters.

The following topics are designed to develop elements in the roadmap by the Pilot Call 2018 and projects supported herein:

  1. Climate change and new urban economies;

  2. Transformation of energy systems and strengthen urban circular economies; and

  3. Urban public administration and services innovation.

  4. Urban data management

To support the development of these three topics, a cross-cutting topic on integrated urban data management has been identified.

This results in the following structure for the Pilot Call:

Topic 1: Climate change and new urban economies

Topic 2: Transformation of energy systems and strengthen urban circular economies

Topic 3: Urban public administration and services innovation

Topic 4: Urban data management



Topic 1. Climate change and new urban economies


Climate change and new urban economies encompass a wide range of issues. However the challenge focuses on the need to vastly increase urban climate change adaptive capacity and to improve urban resilience, with special attention to urban equity and urban circular economy development. This entails the challenge of how local urban innovation ecosystems (including but not limited to the ecological sense of these ecosystems and climate services) are made resilient and sound in the face of global and ‘intrinsic’ emergencies and crises, such as volatile financial as well as natural and political events.

Urban areas have gone through significant socio-economic restructuring and as digitalisation and interconnectedness become more and more palpable, changes in the way they face environmental issues (pertinent here is also inter-city and peri-urban regional dynamics), demographic shifts, and a changing financial climate. New urban economies will have to move away from ‘smokestack chasing’ towards circular economy models, linking the global with the local, making best use of existing qualities and assets, and mobilising a broad variety of urban stakeholders. Here, nature-based solutions may support more resilient responses to climate change, including adaptation and mitigation.


In terms of urban management and innovation, how can the role of business model innovation and new urban economies in urban innovation ecosystems work to mitigate and adapt urban areas in the impending climate change? What systems of incentive policy structures – including markets, rules, norms, and scientific information – can most effectively improve social capacity to guide interactions between nature and society toward more sustainable urban trajectories? Specifically relating to smart city clean tech start-ups as well as the strategic spatial planning and consequence scenarios and analysis including quality of life and urban equity. Also in terms of integrated approaches that includes users and combines social science and technology research and innovation on socio-technical systems.

What determines the vulnerability or resilience of the nature-society system in various kinds of cities (e.g., for particular types of ecosystems and human livelihoods)? How are long-term trends in urban environments and developments, including consumption, production and population development, reshaping nature-society interactions in ways relevant to urban sustainability? Nature-based solutions may imply restoring or managing natural ecosystems including blue and green infrastructure; to support more resilient responses to climate change, improving risk management and resilience, and enhancing sustainable urbanisation.

Furthermore, knowledge generation on underpinning urban and regional infrastructures concerning green logistics, supply chain and operational management, energy system changes, whole basin and inter-basin water resources system management mechanism.


Expected impact

Knowledge generation, approaches implementation in cities, capacity building in public administration and innovation ecosystems for urban transitions towards liveable urban areas, and indicators for SDG 11. The topic Climate change and new urban economies is intended to generate key contributions to the UN Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goal 11 and support the Habitat III New Urban Agenda.


Topic 2. Transformation of energy systems and strengthen urban circular economies


While urban circular economies comprehend multi-dimensional systems and contexts far beyond energy systems, transformations in the latter are required to address overall urban sustainability, since circular economies and energy systems are mutually reinforcing in complex ways: particularly in terms of urban energy use, equity and markets; overall energy efficiency; smart grids and infrastructure development; energy production and supply transitions.


In order to transform energy systems and strengthen urban circular economies, an integrated approach is required. The aim is for innovation and transition strategies for urban development of new low carbon and renewable energy markets – with a particular focus on digitalisation as an enabler for urban transitions.

End-users or demand side understanding is crucial to build systems where energy efficiency will be considered in a integrative manner, such as combinations of utilization and new technologies with urban management. A need to correlate these aspects with social and political factors is also crucial for any sustainable approach to the challenge. Hence, the scope of the topic is to tackle the issues in the urban energy landscape on:

  •   How to reduce fossil energy use and increase renewable energy consumption as well as energy efficiency in urban energy systems while keeping urban circular economy negative externalities in terms of ecological footprints at a minimum?

  •   How to utilise low carbon transition technologies for existing (including historical) cities and urban areas concerning, e.g., energy efficiency, centralised renewable energy production, air quality, social equity, and circular economies?

  •   How to secure urban energy supply by energy storage technologies and management systems in urban circular economies?

  •   How to support the merging of economic growth and overall sustainability in an urban circular economy?



Expected impact

Actions that will produce / generate knowledge for or more efficient and cost-effective renewable and clean energy technologies and systems, strategic deployment of renewable energy for different cities.

Furthermore, actions to utilise and implement compact and manageable, safe and cost-effective energy storage and management systems; as well as demand side response energy management on district level.


Topic 3. Urban public administration and services innovation


While sectoral and infrastructure trans-sectoral issues are addressed in topic (a) and (b), urban policy implementation are crucial areas in shaping urban transformations and sustainable pathways. As current transitions in everyday practices both for urban management as well as for business and civil society, they entail diverse and different complex patterns between cities and urban areas – many times invoking urban experimentation and living lab-type of responses which raises severe demands on public sector actors.


The overall scope of the topic Urban public administration and services innovation is to increase the knowledge on and manageability of current situation and processes (e.g., urban dynamics, decision space, policy initiatives, drivers of current development, planetary boundaries, carbon budgets ...). This entails institutional reform coordination (including management at county level, capacity building). Furthermore, develop mechanisms for integration of different policies as well as scenarios and transition pathways.

Moreover, as the process of urbanisation includes various factors in economic and social development, integrated management systems involves the sharing of large data resources and collaborative decision-making in multi-sector and multi-industries. In order to address these challenges and support urban transformations, the scope of the topic is:

  •   How to develop the public sector innovation and management approaches to accelerate transitions? How can urban development and management foster innovation capacity of cities and urban areas towards sustainable urbanisation (networks, collaboration between different actors)?

  •   How to device integrated models and planning approaches to tackle disparities in and between cities and urban areas?

  •   Which institutional development / innovation may accelerate sustainable urbanisation? 12/47

Expected impact

Actions addressing the challenges in this topic shall convincingly support approaches and markets for integrated urban development. This also entails public service innovation and public transition management approaches that develops and implements effective management of urban agglomerations and urban-rural integration to promote sustainable urbanisation and well- being.


Topic 4. Urban data management


Common to the overarching thematic Sustainable Urbanisation in the Context of Economic Transformation & Climate Change and the topics outlined above is a methodological challenge in how to:

  •   Develop a monitoring system to measure the progress of the sustainable development goals.

  •   Production of scenarios and urban futures that can deal with both the plurality of contexts and the inherent uncertainties of the transitions.

  •   Define and assess ‘boundaries’ or ‘limits’ of the urban transformation system to provide effective early warning of conditions which the urban system incurs as significant risks (e.g., weather extreme events, terrorist attacks, etc.).

Urban data management developments are urgently needed. In order to enable / enhance urban R&I for SDG 11 to deliver sustainable decision making evidence for policy, a solid basis is required, e.g., standards for sustainability indicators. Furthermore, not to reinvent the wheel (hence, time and funding optimisation) in urban data management.

This methodological challenge is to be tackled by an additional cross-cutting topic focusing on generating knowledge and approaches for integrated data, information, and indicators tailor- made to support other projects in the call and to tackle the ICT and digitalisation issues recognisable in SDG 11. Challenges to be tackled in this topic are:

  •   How to increase the quality and availability of data to support policy making for sustainable urbanisation?

  •   How to develop big data analysis methods to stimulate the influence of policies, technologies and urban planning practice in cities?

  •   How to build an indicator system to evaluate and assess the sustainable urbanisation and liveability in European and Chinese cities and urban areas?

  •  How can smart city approaches support urban sustainable transformations to deal with unforeseen effects of disruptive innovations?



The scope for a project bid in the topic Urban data management is to contribute to integrated approaches for smart and sustainable city developments and knowledge generation. Hence, to work towards how a future transnational urban data lab could be designed and implemented. The scope of such a lab is to identify urgent data management issues in digital transitions in China and Europe, and prototype a workable practice to support urban development in these matters.

This includes testbeds and urban living labs to shape and generate knowledge on practical interfaces in urban management for developments on, e.g., the emergence of complex system behaviour, complex socio-economic system operation and computational experiments, game behaviour preference evolution and management experiments, spatiotemporal correlation data modelling and visualization analysis theory and methods, network data mining and social computing. Overall open innovation and e-government support systems for urban and regional planning and management.

The resulting project should consider administrative and functional boundaries and develop concepts for a data platform or catalogue of data and methods to be shared among urban research and innovation actors and practitioners in city administrations as well as consultancy. To ensure the practicality of such concepts comparative approaches are called for regarding date, place, authority (territorial administrative), etc. as well as issues related to data sensitivity and accessibility.

Expected impact

The resulting project shall by the development of urban SDG indicators and monitoring also shape integrated approaches to data management for urban sustainable transitions pathways. The expected impact is a platform or approach to manage urban data shaping towards a future transnational data lab, to service and support projects and practitioners in urban transformations.

2.2. Proposal requirements

Projects funded under the present call will be Sino-European collaborative actions with a minimum consortium size of two (and maximum three) Chinese partners (from different institutions and coordinated by one principal investigator (PI) who is partner in the project) and a minimum of two European partners (from different European countries). For the coordination of the projects, the applicants will have to define one Chinese and one European researcher or


organisation to act as responsible coordinators of their consortium for each of the funders (NSFC and JPI Urban Europe).


3. Guidelines for Applicants

Some requirements are common for all applicants and funding agencies. In addition to these general requirements, there are specific funding agency rules which apply to applicants that claim funds from a specific funding agency (see Annex A for guidance and agency web links with further information).

3.1. Who can participate and apply

The call addresses researchers from Chinese and European universities, research institutes, research and technology organisations (including municipal research institutes), cities and city planning departments, as well as European companies. Their eligibility for national funding will be subject to the funding rules of the participating funding organisations and are published as an annex to the call text.

Project consortium

The added value resulting from transnational cooperation must be addressed in the proposal. There is no limit to the total number of partners who may be involved in each project. However, proposals for medium-sized projects submitted by consortia comprising applicants from approximately three to five funding agencies are expected. Consortia need to be balanced between Europe and China, both in terms of number of partners and distribution of budget.

3.2. What can be applied for

Project duration

Projects can have duration of three or four years. For Chinese partners, the duration can be only three years. For European partners, a maximum of four years of project duration shall be possible for PhD students or post-docs involved in a project.

Projects should start in January-April 2019. The exact starting date may depend on the budget allocation (rules) of the specific funding agencies.

Budget of the call and maximum funding of projects

The total funding available in this programme is approximately M€ 9.35 on the European side, across the participating European funding agencies. NSFC will fund the Chinese part of all projects to be funded under this programme.

There are no fixed maximum limits for a project size. There are, however, (national) funding limits for the respective partners.


Table 1 indicates the funds available from each of the respective national funding agencies. For moreinformation onthespecificfundingagencies’rules,pleaseseeAnnexA.

In the proposal a justification of the requested budget is required. All costs must be eligible according to the funding agencies’ rules available (see Annex A). In case of doubt, applicants should consult their respective funding agencies to advise.

NSFC will fund the Chinese project partners. On the European side, NWO will coordinate the funding of European project partners through the participating national funding agencies on the basis of the current good practice of JPI Urban Europe. National participants in successful project proposals will only be funded by their respective national funding agency in accordance with the eligibility and funding rules of that agency.

The participating funding agencies have made the following funds available for this initiative:




The maximum funding available per project and the types of eligible costs are specified by the participating European funding agencies and NSFC in Annex A.

Funding agencies’ rules and eligibility criteria

In addition to the general rules and procedures laid out in this document, there may be specific funding agencies’ rules (e.g., funding agencies’ eligibility criteria for certain organisations, co-funding requirements, national evaluation rules, etc.). It is strongly recommended that these are checked with the contact person at the respective funding agency (see Annex A) before submitting a proposal. Please note there are limitations regarding the types of activities different funding agencies are able to support.

3.3. Preparing and submitting a proposal

Language of proposals and form

Proposals must be prepared in English using the designated proposal form. The Chinese PI has to prepare an additional Chinese version of the proposal to be submitted to NSFC, with the English version of the proposal attached.

The proposal form should be completely filled in; incomplete proposal forms will be ineligible.


Registration and submission of a full proposal must be done by means of the FFG electronic submission system1 ( An online help document for submission is provided via The registration and full proposal may only be submitted if all partners have previously completed and submitted their partner proposals in eCall. Therefore it is within the main applicant’s duties to ensure timely submission of all partnerproposalsandoftheregistration(“shortapplication”)andfullproposalasawhole.

By transmitting your registration and submission of a full proposal, you agree that it is forwarded to your responsible funding agency as well as to all other participating funding agencies involved in this action.


4. Assessment Procedure

4.1. Procedure Registration

Electronic registration via the FFG electronic submission system is obligatory for participants from Europe and China. This step presents an indication of intent to submit a proposal, not a commitment.

The following information is required:

  •   Names and affiliation(s) of the European coordinator and the Chinese coordinator;

  •   Names and affiliation(s) of the other partners potentially participating in the planned research including Chinese partners;

  •   Preliminary title of the research project;

  •   Preliminary draft abstract (as far as available);

  •   Thematic identification of the proposal according to the text of the call plus related keywords.

Either the chosen European or Chinese coordinator can start the registration process in the electronic submission system as the main applicant. All information must be inserted directly into the FFG electronic proposal submission system. Furthermore, a consortium overview sheet has to be uploaded as a .pdf. A tutorial is provided to guide proposers through the electronic FFG proposal submission system2.

Data provided by registration can be re-used and, if necessary, altered when submitting the full proposal. The information provided by the registration will not be evaluated and will not be used for checking the eligibility. The information is used only as a basis for identifying the necessary number of evaluators with the qualification as requested by the call topics.

In exceptional cases, the nominated European and/or Chinese coordinator who has / have registered, may be changed in the full proposal phase, as long as it remains the same proposal. On the European and/or Chinese side, intended partners may also be changed after the registration phase.



All proposals must be submitted online via the electronic FFG proposal submission system and before the call deadline. It is not needed to enter a staff pool in eCall, and also a master account (in the “Organisation” / “User Management” section in eCall) is not needed for the submission. In addition, Chinese participants will have to submit a Chinese version of the proposal to NSFC, with the English version attached.

Proposal – General structure (one-stage proposal)3:

 Project overview

  • o Acronym and project full title
  • o Topics (related to call text)
  • o Publishable abstract
  • o Type of project activity: Strategic research – Applied research – Innovation and implementation
  • o Project coordinators (European coordinator and Chinese coordinator) o Project consortium
  • o Total costs and requested funding
  • o Total effort in person months
  • o Duration

 Core part of proposal

  • o Project objectives and targets
  • o Description of the project
    •   Relevance regarding the topic of the call

    •   State of the art (current level of technology / knowledge) and degree of progress beyond

    •   Implementation and management

    •   Expected results

  • o Project partners – individual partners and consortium as a whole o Work programme
    •  Overall strategy and key activities
    •  Work packages and timing
    •  Deliverables and milestones
    •  Potential risks and contingency plans
  • o Project coordination and management
  • o Budget
    •  Financial plan in accordance with funding rules of the joint call o Ethical aspects and regulatory considerations
  • o Added value of international cooperation

 Impact through the development, dissemination and use of project results

  • o Potential value for users (e.g., cities and communities, policy makers, communal and regional stakeholders, non-governmental organisations, citizens)
  • o Measures of disseminating and exploiting results, management of intellectual property

4.2. Scoring and evaluation criteria Scoring

Scores will be in the range 0-5; 0,5 marks may be given.

Interpretation of the scores:

  1. 0)  Unacceptable – The proposal fails to address the evaluation criteria under examination or cannot be judged due to missing or incomplete information.

  2. 1)  Weak – The evaluation criteria are addressed in an inadequate manner, or there are other serious inherent weaknesses.

  3. 2)  Average – While the proposal broadly addresses the evaluation criteria, there are significant weaknesses.

  4. 3)  Good – The proposal addresses the evaluation criteria well, although improvements would be necessary.

  5. 4)  Very Good – The proposal addresses the evaluation criteria very well, although certain improvements are still possible.

  6. 5)  Excellent – The proposal successfully addresses all relevant aspects of the evaluation criteria in question. Any shortcomings are minor.

Evaluation criteria
(i) Quality of the proposal (relevant to the topics addressed by the call)

Note: When a proposal only partially addresses the topic, this condition will be reflected in the scoring of this criterion and the respective comments of evaluators.

  •  Fit to objectives, aims and topics of the call
    (the project’s expected outcomes and impacts, set out in the project description, contribute to the scope of the call and one or more of the call topics)
  •  Originality, innovativeness and contribution to new strategic knowledge / breakthrough

    implementation / innovation – Progress beyond the state-of-the-art

    (the project must have a novel approach, application and/or methodology, must significantly contribute to knowledge development beyond the state of the art and/or to the application and implementation of scientific and technological breakthroughs)

  •   Appropriateness of conceptual approach
    (the project’s concept and approach must be in line with the project’s aims and objectives)

  •   Added value of Sino-European cooperation

    (the proposal must demonstrate how the dimension of international cooperation contributes to achieve more than otherwise possible: taking up, combining and integrating existing knowledge from different countries, cross-border exchange of knowledge and experiences, and cross-border application of [aptly modified] solutions)

  •   Feasibility of aims and objectives and the expected outcomes of the project

    (the project’s aims and objectives must be correlated with the planned outcome and impact of the project; the envisaged results must be realistically achievable within the project’s budget and time allocation)

  •   Feasibility and suitability of project design and methods (including work plan)

    (the project’s design and methods, including tools and technologies [where applicable], must be correlated with the planned outcome and impact of the project; the envisaged design and methods must be convincingly conceivable and executable within the project’s budget and time allocation)

  •   Handling of development risks
    (the project’s development risks must be clearly identified and appropriate preventive / remedial actions must be foreseen) Threshold: 4 out of 5

(ii) Quality and efficiency of the implementation and the management

  •   Quality and suitability of expertise and track record of the individual participants
    (the key personnel shows the necessary experience and formal / informal qualifications to implement the project)

  •   Quality of the consortium as a whole with special consideration of the Sino-European partnership (including complementarity of expertise compared to the topics of the call; balance of contributions of members to project consortium; win-win situation; track record and/or other key expertise of consortium)

    (including complementarity of expertise compared to the topics of the call; balance of contributions of members to project consortium; win-win situation; track record and/or other key expertise of consortium; the composition of the contributions and expertise of the consortium members is appropriate to the project’s goals and ambitions. The project partners encompass the diversity in skills, experience, knowledge and international relevance needed to achieving the project’s goals and ambitions)


  •   Appropriateness of governance / management arrangements (including risk management, IPR issues)

    (the project’s management system and procedures, including quality management and risk management, are adequate to the project’s goals)

  •   Appropriateness of the allocation and justification of the resources to be committed (budget, staff, equipment) – Appropriateness of costing / Value for money

    (project planning is plausible and efficient in relation to the requested budget, and the expenditures allocated to the various stages of the implementation of the project are adequate to the effective achievement of its goals)

  •   Feasibility and appropriateness of timescale (the timescale is adequate to effectively achieve the project’s goals and ambitions) Threshold: 3 out of 5

(iii) Potential impact through the development, dissemination and use / implementation of project results

  •   Contribution, at the European and Chinese / international level, to the expected impacts as defined in the description of the call topic

    (the project’s expected outcomes and impacts, set out in the project description, contribute to the scope of the call and one or more of the call topics)

  •   Appropriateness of measures for the dissemination and/or exploitation of project results (the project’s communication and dissemination structure is in line with an international approach tackling the academic and non-academic target groups such as cities, civil society, NGOs and companies)

  •   Extent to which the project is likely to be of value to and engages with user communities and cities (the project enhances innovation capacity and integration of new knowledge meeting the needs of cities, communities and the European market by a challenge-driven approach)

  •   Market and/or implementation potential of the project
    (the project enhances innovation capacity and integration of new knowledge meeting the needs of cities, communities and the Chinese, and European market by a challenge-driven approach) Threshold: 3 out of 5

Total score (i+ii+iii), threshold: 10 out of 15
4.3. Evaluation procedure, selection and funding decisions

The common proposal will be subjected to a joint peer review and a single panel process.

1 After the deadline of the call, the proposals are screened to ensure that they comply with the formal requirements – eligibility check (e.g., size of the consortium, type of partners, requested funding, English language). On the Chinese side, NSFC will check the eligibility of the proposals. On the European side, the participating funding agencies will check whether the applicants and their institutions fulfil national eligibility rules for research proposals as set by the relevant funding agencies and by JPI Urban Europe. NWO will coordinate the eligibility check on the European side.

Proposals not corresponding to the eligibility requirements will be excluded from the evaluation and rejected, and therefore will not be evaluated.

If either the European coordinator and/or the Chinese coordinator, or the proposal does not meet the eligibility requirements, the proposal will not be admitted to the evaluation procedure. In case a single co-applicant is not eligible, the proposal may still be eligible without this partner if and when the eligibility criteria are met by the proposal. In both cases, this will be communicated to the European and the Chinese coordinators.

If a proposal is ‘eligible’, this does not mean that it will be awarded funding, but only that the proposal will be admitted to the evaluation procedure.

Both transnational and funding agencies’ eligibility criteria must be met.

  1. 2  Proposals are evaluated using the three criteria defined above:

    (i) Quality of the proposal – Threshold: 4 out of 5;

    (ii) Quality and efficiency of the implementation and the management – Threshold: 3 out of 5; and

    (iii) Potential impact through the development, dissemination and use/implementation of project results – Threshold: 3 out of 5.

    For each criterion marks from 0 to 5 will be given (0,5 marks may be given).

    Threshold for total score (i+ii+iii): 10 out of 15.

  2. 3  JPI Urban Europe and NSFC will each nominate an equal number of scientific expert evaluators to make up the selection panel for the joint call. The total number of experts on the selection panel will be decided based on the number of proposals received.

  3. 4  Each proposal will be evaluated remotely and independently by four to five experts.

  4. 5  Depending on the number of submitted and eligible proposals, consensus on the result of the evaluation of each proposal will be established by according to two options:

Option 1: If there is a large number of proposals, consensus will be achieved in several parallel face-to-face consensus meetings of evaluators.

For each proposal a rapporteur is appointed. The evaluators need to agree on consensus scores for the three criteria and on consensus comments to be presented in the Consensus Report (CR) written by the rapporteur.


The overall score for each proposal is the sum of the scores for the three criteria (see point 2). Only proposals that pass the thresholds for each of the three criteria as well as for the overall threshold are eligible for funding.

A preliminary ranked list of proposals eligible for funding is generated by the call secretariat based on the consensus scores of each proposal.

As soon as all consensus meetings are finished, a final panel meeting convening the rapporteurs is organised.

All proposals on the preliminary ranked list will be discussed one-by-one by the rapporteurs. Based on this discussion, the panel should form a consensus view on whether the proposal should be recommended for funding and its position in a ranked list. For each proposal an Evaluation Summary Report (ESR) is prepared and agreed upon by the panel.

A final ranked list of proposals is approved by the panel.

Option 2: If there is a small or reasonable number of proposals, all proposals are immediately discussed and consensus will be reached immediately in a panel convening all evaluators without preceding parallel consensus meetings.

For each proposal a rapporteur will be nominated. The four to five evaluators of each proposal need to agree on consensus scores for the three criteria and on consensus comments to be presented in the Evaluation Summary Report (ESR) written by the rapporteur. The ESR needs to be approved by the remaining four experts as well as the whole panel.

The overall score for each proposal is the sum of the scores for the three criteria (see point 2). Only proposals that pass the thresholds for each of the three criteria as well as for the overall threshold are eligible for funding.

A final ranked list of proposals is approved by the panel.

6  Decisions in the individual consensus meetings and by the panel are (preferentially) taken by consensus.

7  Based on the final ranked list, the authoritative bodies of JPI Urban Europe and NSFC will discuss and determine the recommended proposals to be selected and retained for funding. The grant negotiations will be based on the available overall and national budgets. All funding partners will fund their national researchers according to specific national rules. The actual granting of the funds to the individual projects on the ranking list will depend on the budget available in each funding agency. Simultaneous national funding (or ‘virtual common pot’) implies that ‘funding gaps’ will arise when one of the funding partners runs out of money.

If one of the partners in a consortium cannot be financed by the respective national funding agency due to budget restraints, and no other possibility of financing is available, the consortium as a whole will be rejected.

8  Funding decisions are final and cannot be appealed.

9 The European and the Chinese coordinators of the projects will receive the Final Evaluation Reports (FER) for their proposals.

10 After the selection decisions and the finalisation of the grant negotiations the list of funded proposals will be published on the websites of JPI Urban Europe and NSFC.

In each stage of the proposal process the national funding agencies examine whether or not a conflict of interest may exist. A conflict of interest is given if the evaluator is directly affected by the subject matter of the funding project or another reason exists that is suitable to raise doubts about the impartiality of their specialist evaluations. Evaluators are required to declare any personal interests, disqualifying themselves if they can in any way benefit from the approval or rejection of the proposal.

Note: Each project recommended for funding is required to have a signed consortium agreement between all partners prior to the start of the project, at least addressing the following topics:

 Internal organisation and management of the consortium;  Intellectual Property arrangements;
 Settlement of internal disputes.

4.4. Key dates

Wednesday 31 January 2018
Launch of joint call

Thursday 12 April 2018, 2:00 CET / 14:00 CET (Europe)
Thursday 12 April 2018, 16:00 CST (China)

Registration deadline
Wednesday 20 June 2018, 2:00 CET / 14:00 CET (Europe)

Wednesday 20 June 2018, 16:00 CST (China)
Submission deadline full proposals

July 2018
Eligibility check

August – October 2018
Assessment full proposals

November 2018
Funding recommendations National funding decisions

December 2018
Grant negotiations completed Successful proposals announced

January-April 2019 1 March 2019
Start of projects on European side Start of projects on Chinese side



5. Project Implementation

This call is part of the Joint Programming Initiative Urban Europe which include various joint programme activities (e.g., knowledge sharing, networking) that are described in this section. Projects funded via this call will become part of the programme of JPI Urban Europe. Participants of projects funded via this call are expected to actively participate in the programme activities and to consider this in the planning of their project proposal by including budget to participate in the programme activities.

Data management

JPI Urban Europe wish to promote open, transparent and robust urban and global change research by encouraging more open sharing of research data, leading to wider data analysis, more data re-use, and the combination of datasets from multiple sources. JPI Urban Europe believes that an increased emphasis on the open sharing of research data has the potential to stimulate new approaches to the collection, analysis, validation and management of data, and to the transparency of the research process. However, JPI Urban Europe also recognizes that not all research data can be shared openly, and that there will be legitimate reasons to constrain access, for example the risks to the privacy of individuals must always be considered where data arise from, or are derived from, personally identifiable data. For detailed information on the requirements regarding data management within this call, please see Annex B.

Project monitoring and reporting

Project monitoring and reporting will be in accordance with the respective funding agency’s rules. In addition to the funding agency’s requirements, the consortia are expected to deliver short progress reports to the Call Secretariat, in English, on an annual basis, including a description of their transnational cooperation and a publishable summary of the project status. A reporting template will be provided on the programme website. A detailed survey must be completed by the main applicant twice per project (mid-term and final). This survey includes key performance indicators for project progress and their contribution to the overall aim of the call. Furthermore, one project observer from one of the participating funding organisations will be assigned to each of the funded projects to monitor the progress in transnational cooperation on behalf of the participating funding organisations and to provide a communication link between the project, the Call Secretariat and JPI Urban Europe.


6. Contact Details and Other Information

General information on the joint call

Updated information on this joint call and all relevant documents / templates are published on:

For NSFC all information is posted on:

If you have questions on the general call process and proposal submission, please contact the Call Secretariat:

JPI Urban Europe

Berry Bonenkamp
NWO – Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research E-mail:
Telephone: +31 70 3494416

Carolien Maas-van der Geest
NWO – Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research E-mail:
Telephone: +31 70 3440511


LI Wencong
NSFC – National Natural Science Foundation of China E-mail:
Telephone: +86 10 6232 7014

Contact points of participating funding agencies

For questions regarding specific funding agencies’ rules and additional forms please check Annex A: Specific Funding Agencies’ Budgets and Rules of Eligibility first. Additional information can be obtained by contacting the indicated national contact persons at the participating funding agencies.

Public link:   Only for registered users

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