EC - Horizon Europe logo

Sustainable Urbanisation Global Initiative – Food-Water-Energy Nexus Joint Call for Proposals
Deadline: Mar 15, 2017  

 Rural Development
 Energy Efficiency
 Urban Management
 Urban Development
 Water Resource Management

1. Introduction 

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

1.1 Structure of call text 

This call for proposals brings together the need for working on urban challenges in an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary way with topics concerning the Food-Water-Energy Nexus. This call text for proposals is structured as follows (see also figure below): First the scope of the call is explained in chapter 2. While all projects are asked to combine an inter- and transdisciplinary research approach explained in 2.1, the projects can choose to focus on one or more of the three themes identified in 2.2. In chapter 3, the eligibility criteria for an application are explained as well as the instructions for submission. In chapter 4, the assessment procedure and evaluation criteria are covered. Finally, in chapter 5 the implementation of the project with regards to project monitoring and programme activities is described. 

1.2 Food-Water-Energy Nexus 

The interactions between the food, water and energy sectors, both now and over the next few decades are of paramount interest to policy, science and society at large. By 2050, the world population is projected to increase to 9 billion and the number of people living in urban areas is expected to double. These trends in population density and movement, coupled with land use change, and climate variability will lead to major increases in demand for resources and hold important implications for security and social justice. The reciprocal and dynamic processes of urbanisation; physical movements of populations, the build-up of city territories, transformation of economic structures, extension of suburban sprawl and reurbanisation result in increasing regional stress on the urban food-water-energy (FWE) system. Understanding the consequences of global urbanisation is central to understanding global change due to cities’ and urban areas’ links to material and energy use; land-use transformations; resource-intensive behaviors and consumption; impacts on ecosystem services; and changes driving social and cultural inequities. Many of these processes are common to cities across different regions, but there is also much specificity. 

In this context, the FWE nexus approach offers a framework for developing goals, targets, and solutions that balance trade-offs and maximize synergies between the food, water and energy sectors in order to accelerate transitions to resilient climate compatible urban development and to Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) patterns across the rural-urban gradient. 

A nexus approach coordinates action and reduces the risk that progress towards one goal will undermine progress towards another. In addition, the nexus approach can also play a pivotal role in fostering sustainable urbanisation, by proposing potential solutions to govern resource interdependencies through comprehensive spatial perspectives and multi-level governance strategies. 

Urban FWE nexus is an approach to urban complex systems where the focus is on the intersections and potential synergies between sectors (“silos”) and fields commonly seen apart in business, policy and research: Urban governance, planning, and management; socio-economic development and cohesion; grey, green, and blue infrastructures; etc. The approach is devised to counteract wicked issues in urban sustainable development. The urban FWE nexus specifically describes where governance and socio-economic policy activities interact with the resource flows related to food, water, and energy (including feedbacks in coupled anthropogenic, biotic, abiotic, and engineered systems). 

To date, we have a limited understanding of the FWE system’s complexity, resilience and thresholds. Investigations of this complex system will produce discoveries that cannot emerge from research on food or water or energy systems alone. The synergy and linkages among these components will open new avenues of inquiry, produce new robust transdisciplinary knowledge, and generate new business models and opportunities. Multiple disciplines, including, inter alia, biology, chemistry, computational science, cyber infrastructure, engineering, geosciences, arts and humanities, social and behavioral sciences, and mathematics are needed to study these interacting systems. 

Building on the global sustainability challenges identified by Future Earth’s 2025 Vision, the ultimate goal of the present call is to rapidly evolve the knowledge base, advance indicators and assessment tools that are needed for a comprehensive understanding of the urban FWE nexus, and develop practical new solutions to the FWE challenges. The development of novel solutions for the complex challenges, including multi-level governance and management, and dynamic emerging risks and trade-offs, that urbanisation imposes on the FWE systems will contribute to the ability of populations to transition to sustainable consumption and production.

Obtaining this knowledge requires inter- and transdisciplinary approaches that address the interconnections and interdependencies between the natural and human systems. Similarly, the application-oriented solutions would integrate systems across the FWE nexus, services, policy or operational silos, jurisdictions or social behaviors to help develop practical innovations and support practitioner decision-making towards sustainable planning and practices, strategies and policies. These proactive solutions would target balancing trade-offs and amplifying synergies between the food, water, and energy sectors while simultaneously preserving the environment and contributing to the creation of attractive, sustainable and economically viable urban areas. These interactions have been identified as of common interest to both the Belmont Forum and Joint Programming Initiative Urban Europe (JPI UE) and hence are the focus of this Joint Call for Proposals. 

1.3 Available budget 

The total available budget for this call is approx. 28.5 M€, including support from the European Commission through Horizon 2020. Funds will be used to support as many high quality projects as possible. Each national/regional funding agency will provide funds directly to their eligible investigators in accordance to the agencies’ rules and regulations. Funds provided by the European Commission will be utilized to support eligible investigators in a maximum number of research projects. Table 1 provided in Annex A, shows the minimum national and regional contribution that is available for this call from each Funding Agency and identifies those agencies that are eligible for European Commission funds. 

2. Scope 

2.1 The Research Approach 

Through this call, the Belmont Forum and the Joint Programming Initiative Urban Europe collectively seek to bring together integrated teams of natural scientists, engineers, social scientists, arts and humanities researchers, business, and urban stakeholders to develop projects requiring collaborative, international, inter- and transdisciplinary research and innovation. Projects should support collaboration that goes beyond individual national efforts and demonstrates sharing, operationalizing and transferring existing knowledge, resources, and research facilities to mutual benefit. All projects must integrate across the natural sciences (including engineering), arts and humanities, and social sciences and clearly engage stakeholders and demonstrate user needs relevant to the project goals. Projects should examine a variety of coupled interactions and feedbacks among relevant systems and include an interdisciplinary, multinational and multi-scalar approach. Establishment of potential long-term partnerships, leveraging of existing knowledge networks and project co-design between researchers and stakeholders are essential components of the proposed projects. Research outputs should be targeted towards decision-making (including public and private spheres as well as communities) and innovations (technological, organizational and institutional as well as social). 

Proposals may include aspects of fundamental and/or applied research as well as innovation and/or implementation.1 Consult Annex A for a list of which agencies are able to support the various aspects of the research, development and innovation process. Project proposals do not have to focus on the eligible countries as (a) research subject(s); case studies may be conducted anywhere in the world. Project proposals may also build upon previous projects and do not have to start research and innovation from scratch. 

1 For the definition of the three stages of the research, development and innovation process see Annex B. 

Broader impacts of the proposed activity 

In developing projects, teams should clearly articulate the benefits of the proposed activities to society as well as specific plans for broadly disseminating the results to enhance scientific and technological understanding. Teams should also consider, where appropriate, how the proposed activities advance discovery and understanding while promoting teaching, training, and learning; broaden the participation of underrepresented groups (e.g., gender, ethnicity, disability, geographic, etc.); and demonstrate how the project will enhance infrastructure for research and education, such as facilities, instrumentation, networks, and partnerships.

2.2 Objectives, Themes and Fundamental Questions 

Recognizing the need for integrated solutions involving natural and social sciences, arts and humanities, engineering and stakeholders from all relevant fields, the Belmont Forum and JPI Urban Europe seek to foster research and innovation at the intersection of food, water, energy sustainable consumption and production, and urbanisation in this call. Understanding the regional/global FWE resource-flow connections and impacts on regional and global economies, natural and social systems necessitates transnational projects that connect not only multiple disciplines but also a variety of practitioners such as producers, farmers, other actors in supply chains and services, consumers, community groups, planners, and decision makers (e.g. city authorities). 

Projects must address all three sectors food, water and energy by an integrative approach. 

This collaborative research action seeks to advance research within the themes listed below: 

Theme 1. Robust Knowledge, Indicators and Assessments 

This theme focuses on the process of developing a relevant, accessible and global urban sustainability knowledge base for the FWE nexus framework. Ideally this knowledge base should help identify, assess and manage risks and uncertainties created by the process of urbanisation and aid in developing a rapid assessment process to scope and guide the development of knowledge platforms and user support tools. Development of this knowledge base requires efforts to gather, structure and synthesize existing knowledge, innovation practices, and potential systemic and applied solutions across the FWE nexus. This theme emphasizes the development of knowledge platforms, or tools that effectively connect researchers and stakeholders and provide clear conduits for knowledge to be used for decision-making and practical implementation. In addition to providing and discussing existing knowledge and experiences, these platforms should also serve as a hub for new research results emerging from projects addressing the themes 2 and 3. 

Projects in this theme should identify transferable solutions through comparative analysis, define locally and globally relevant indicators and develop methodologies to evaluate and assess solutions in coupled complex socio-natural systems. Moreover, strategies for obtaining and estimating data, dealing with uncertainties and communication are desired. The knowledge platforms and tools should leverage information technology to connect multi-level stakeholders and partners with goals of identifying existing indicators and models, where appropriate. Knowledge of current synergies provides a framework for identifying new approaches in nexus issues. 

Approaches may include but are not limited to: 

 Explore, structure and synthesize the robust knowledge, relevant skills and technologies, and existing data on the urban FWE nexus; 

 Design tools for the efficient collection, management, access, analysis, update and use of indicators and research on the urban FWE nexus; 

 Coordinate, develop and assess the linkages and synergies between co-designed knowledge platforms, innovative social practice, and sustainable applied solutions in the context of FWE. 


Focus areas may include but are not limited to: 

 From resource efficiency to resource generation: how can the generation of resources in cities be stimulated (engineered solutions including nature-based solutions; waste as a resource; cities as material energy producers and consumers; different agricultural practices across the urban-rural gradient; water retention) and how does this contribute to climate adaptation, climate mitigation and sustainable production and consumption goals? 

 Integrated impact modeling for FWEs resource management: water treatment quantity and quality (drinking water, electricity, food production, urbanising deltas, impact of climate change and extreme weather events, vulnerabilities), technologies and engineering approaches (conversion and adaptation of existing waste water treatment facilities, adapted energy technologies for rural/urban areas and upscaling wetland resources), consumption practices and changing demand, governance and financing (impact of water resource allocations on equitable access to and management of water, agriculture/aquaculture, food production and consumption, and energy usage/change due to urbanisation), design public communication and engagement pattern for transition for stakeholders (public and private companies, local and city governance); 

 Quantify water and carbon footprint in global and local trade. 


Theme 2. Multi-level Governance and Management of the Food-Water-Energy Nexus 

This theme focuses on strategies, technological and social innovations and solutions/implementations in the realm of governance and effective management of the FWE nexus. Urban systems require resilience strategies and climate adaptation concerning sustainable development, landscape, residential areas, economy, society and infrastructure, taking into account technological, engineered, ecological, spatial, economic and social innovations and solutions. The interlinkages of all urban infrastructures (energy supply, urban water supply and consumption, traffic, biological “green” resources, etc.) need to be observed as part of an efficient energy and materials-flow management. 

Key components for urban management are interfaces between existing and future infrastructural or built environments. Innovative interface technologies and platforms are drivers for a successful implementation of new solutions in urban infrastructure systems. Additionally the exchange of knowledge and experiences emerging from the results of funded projects under this theme 2, will offer an added value to the knowledge platforms of theme 1. 

Some of the most significant stresses to urban systems may be indirect, emerging from distant changes that are translated into urban contexts through interlinked systems as a result of global markets, supply chains and wider infrastructure networks. Since applied solutions are context dependent (e.g. geographic, cultural and demographic), an important component is identifying effective models for the transfer and scaling of interventions across different regions and scales to contribute to a comprehensive spatial perspective. For example, developing mitigation strategies to minimize the impacts of resource depletion will require different interventions and face distinct multi-scalar barriers, diverse management strategies, including institutional processes, capacity, and support, in different regions across the globe. 

Key questions may include: 

 What elements of FWE nexus solutions that respond to the process of urbanisation are transferable and scalable in various contexts? 

 How do we co-design, co-develop and deploy FWE solutions that respond to the process of urbanisation in different contexts (nexus solutions from fast urbanizing cities and from slow urbanizing areas), and external urban dependencies? 

 How do global institutions (regulations, trade, entrepreneurship, business, multi-national corporations) affect locally and regionally available food-water-energy nexus solutions? 

 What are common, scalable, and/or transferable solutions (technical, nature-based, governance, social innovation, and financial mechanisms) to foster new green and sustainable circular economies? 

 What role do geopolitical and economic dynamics at the global scale play in local and regional FWE nexus solutions? 


Topics may include but are not limited to: 

 Explore strategies for integrated, multi-level governance structures of the FWE nexus; 

 Using the FWE framework to identify and manage new opportunities (new services, new value creation models, new planning governance, new financial mechanisms), and alternative urban economies for cities to create sustainable consumption and production systems across countries; 

 New institutional and organizational governance mechanisms of investment and disinvestment directions for creating new infrastructure types the nexus links, such as financial models for green investments, and making them locally relevant; 

 Investigations on potential operational frameworks for multi-level governance agreements on social and environmental standards for products and services, and the potential management impacts on local agriculture (water management), including studies on creative design solutions, participatory approaches and consumer behavior; 

 The global consequences of failing to address nexus tensions at local and regional scale vs. effective nexus management (= global benefit or “value added” or net gain of effective action); 

 How might global benefits be harnessed to support local capacity and action? 

 Smart cities standardization and the impact of scaling up to a global level. 


Theme 3. Managing Potential Strategies and Solutions to address emerging Risk and Tradeoffs at the intersection of Sustainable Urbanisation and the FWE Nexus 

This theme focuses on identifying and developing integrative strategies to assess and manage risks and uncertainties at the intersection of the sustainable urbanisation and the FWE nexus, while balancing tradeoffs and minimizing social and cultural inequalities. For example, both industrial and agricultural processes can optimize water use under different regulation and management strategies. This exacerbates competition, as well as fragmentation, and drives inequities between sectors. Projects in this theme could include identifying the specific drivers of social and economic inequalities arising from the process of urbanisation and developing tools for better stakeholder engagement, such as simulation systems and customizable capacity building interfaces. 

Key questions may include: 

 What are the merits of different options for identifying and managing risks and thresholds associated with urbanisation and FWE security and access issues? 

 What opportunities are there for promoting inclusive and resilient communities, and addressing inequities, in the context of the urban FWE nexus? 

 What are successful strategies (e.g. to meaningfully engage poor and otherwise marginalized communities) to minimize inequalities in the urban/rural intersection in the context of urbanisation resulting from the interactions and tradeoffs of urbanisation and the FWE nexus? 


Topics may include but are not limited to: 

 Investigate the potential combinations of urban circumstances that are likely to give rise to nexus opportunities and to test these with practical solutions; 

 Map potential risks and uncertainties arising from socio-ecological systems and consider cultural, political and economic dynamics in balancing solutions and tradeoffs at the intersection of urbanisation and the FWE nexus; 

 Identify and analyze differences between various cultural lenses and value systems and how these impact strategies and solutions to addressing risks; 

 Identify and analyze induced/indirect/cascading/systems risks as well as cumulative impacts across activities; 

 Identify both the nature and magnitude of impacts such as reduced volatility, reduced investor risk or insurance premiums, lower geopolitical tension; 

 Explore equity and access in urban-rural connections and the FWE nexus; 

 From the FWE framework, develop informed equitable socio-ecological models for green investments that improve economic growth and entrepreneurship, enhance ecosystem services, sustain cultural value, and drive nexus cohesion. 


2.3 Types of research, development and innovation activities 

This Call for proposals is open for projects referring to a broader range of research types from fundamental research to innovation. For more information on the different types of projects, see Annex B. Different funding agencies will have the possibility to fund different parts of the R&D landscape. Table 1 in Annex A indicates the kind of activity that will be funded by each funding agency. The combination of different of research approaches within one project (differentiation at work package level) is possible as long as involved funding agencies’ eligibility rules are fulfilled.

2.4 Proposal Requirements 

Each project proposal must be submitted by a project consortium consisting of at least three eligible applicants from at least three participating countries (see Annex A – Table 1). (Note: To be eligible for funding provided by the European Commission, the transnational project must involve at least two independent entities from two different EU member states or associated countries. See also indication in Annex A – Table 1.) Clear added value of the international consortium should be demonstrated and, if relevant, the added value for national investments. 

All proposals must integrate across the natural sciences and social sciences and should include an interdisciplinary, multinational approach. They should identify and address clear user needs, and examine a variety of coupled interactions and feedbacks among relevant systems. Where relevant and applicable to funding agency guidelines, it is strongly recommended that consortia develop applied innovations as well as research solutions. 

Proposals should also include end-users, policy-makers or other relevant stakeholders and should include science products, which are directly applicable, available and usable to relevant stakeholders. Engagement of community participants or other stakeholders in the planning, designing, and completing of the research is necessary. 

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). The term “proposal” is used both for the pre-proposal in the first stage of the evaluation procedure and the full proposal in the second stage. 

3.1 Who can participate and apply 

Each project proposal must be submitted by a project consortium consisting of at least three eligible applicants from at least three participating countries. Each project consortium must have the interest and competence to undertake research, development and/or innovation within the specified themes. Clear added value of the international consortium should be demonstrated and, if relevant, the added value for national investments. 


An organisation/institution or a person of the lead organisation is the Main Applicant, depending on the specific eligibility rules of the different agencies. In addition, a proposal must have at least two Co-applicants. The proposal may also include Co-operation Partners, whose role is described below. If funding is granted to a person, each person may only participate in a maximum of two proposals, and only once as Main Applicant. In the proposal, the participation of all partners involved must be convincingly justified. 

Only applicants located in the following countries are eligible to apply as Main Applicant or Co-applicant, irrespective of their nationality: Argentina, Australia (to be confirmed), Austria, Belgium, Brazil (state of São Paulo), Chinese Taipei, Cyprus, France, Germany, Japan, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Slovenia, South Africa (to be confirmed), Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Applicants from other countries may participate as a Co-operation Partner. 

Applicants can come from organisations such as:2 

2 Please note that a specific funding agency may not fund each type of organisation. If a partner is not eligible for funding, the partner can still participate as cooperation partner. For further information see Annex A. 

• Companies (from industry/large companies to SMEs) 

• Cities, municipalities, regions 

• Consumers (e.g. business enterprises, test households, etc.) 

• Citizens’ representatives, NGOs 

 Research organisations (universities, university colleges, research institutes or other authorities with research undertakings) 

Main Applicant’s role 

The Main Applicant will be responsible for running and managing the project. S/he will be the contact point with SUGI-FWE Nexus on behalf of the whole consortium and is responsible for the administrative management of the complete project, should it be awarded funding. In addition, the Main Applicant is responsible for leading the project activities at his/her own organisation. The Main Applicant must be affiliated with an organisation situated in one of the participating countries in this call. The specific eligibility rules of the respective funding agency apply. 

Co-applicants’ role 

Each Co-applicant is responsible for leading the project activities at his/her own organisation. There may be more than one Co-applicant from any one country. If there is more than one Co-applicant from a country, one of them needs to be identified as the national consortium leader. Each Co-applicant should be affiliated with an organisation situated in a participating country. The specific eligibility rules of the respective funding agency apply. 

Co-operation Partners 

Partners from countries not participating in this call, or partners that are not eligible for funding from participating agencies, may be included in the projects as Co-operation Partners. Co-operation Partners can be included in the consortium if (a) they finance their activity from other sources and (b) the consortium in general fulfils the requirements on the number of applicants from participating countries. Project consortia involving Co-operation Partners must ensure that project results will be relevant for participating countries. Where appropriate, some co-operation partners could also support capacity building in developing countries and for early career researchers and technical staff. It should be noted that Co-operation partners do not count toward the minimum of three eligible applicants from at least three participating countries outlined in paragraph 3.1. 

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 3-5 funding agencies are expected. Consortia need to be balanced between countries both in terms of number of partners and distribution of budget. No one partner may represent more than 70% of the activity in the project (some countries may also impose lower participation levels for their funding, so please check regional/national eligibility guidelines in Annex A).

While not mandatory to satisfy the 3-partner minimum, it is strongly encouraged that consortia contain at least two independent applicants eligible for funding from two different EU member states or associated countries and at least one applicant from another country participating in this call in order to be able to take advantage of the funds provided by the European Commission. Refer to Table 1 in Annex A for information on those agencies eligible to access the European Commission funds. 

 Consortia may consist of partners from research organisations, companies, cities/municipalities, NGOs, etc. (see paragraph on “Applicants” above). 

 Consortia may consist of partners active across several positions within the research and development system (i.e. innovation, applied research, fundamental research) and across disciplines (natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, and engineering). 

 Consortia may include partners representing stakeholder/user groups. 

 In the case of an Innovation project (see Annex B), consortia are required to prove the interest and active involvement of project partners in the consortium, who will either within the project, or as a consequence of the project, implement the solutions developed by: 

- Including stakeholders or implementation partners in the consortium who are eligible for funding; 


- Having stakeholders or implementation partners not eligible for funding, who express their interest in the full proposal in a Letter of Intent. The letter must contain an explicit declaration about the financial or in-kind contribution agreed upon. In-kind contributions are contributions in person-hours of personnel or material contributions such as the use of specific software and access to facilities. In-kind contributions should be capitalised in the Letter of Intent and should be an integral component of the project plan. The amounts stated in the letter must agree with the amounts stated in the budget for the proposal. 


Please also see Annex A for the specific Funding Agencies’ rules regarding eligible applicants. 

3.2 What can be applied for 

Project duration 

Projects may be funded for a maximum of 3 years, and must start between December 2017 and March 2018. The starting date may depend on the budget allocation (rules) of the specific funding agencies. The end date of a project should be harmonised for all applicants in the same consortium. 


The total funding available in this programme amounts up to approx. 28.5 M€ across all participating applicants. There are no fixed minimum or maximum limits for a project size. Medium-sized projects with total budgets requested from the funding organisations in the range of 1-2 M€ are typically expected, which allows approximately 15-20 projects to be awarded funding though total project costs can be higher.

There are, however, (national) funding limits for the respective partners. Table 1 in Annex A indicates the bandwidth of funds available from each of the respective national funding agencies. For more information on the specific funding agencies’ rules, please see Annex A. 

In the proposal a justification of the requested budget is required. The estimated budget must be given in Euros only and be tabulated according to the proposal template provided. 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. 

(Note: The European Commission, the European Court of Auditors [ECA] and the European Anti-fraud Office [OLAF] can exercise their rights to carry out checks, reviews, audits and investigations and evaluate the impact of the action also towards project partners of SUGI-FWE Nexus transnational projects if they receive financial support also from the European Commission.) 

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 When can applications be submitted 

The call for pre-proposals is open until 15 March 2017 (1:00 p.m. EST / 6:00 p.m. UTC / 7:00 p.m. CET / 16 March 2017 3:00 a.m. JST). In May 2017, applicants will be invited to enter the second stage of the procedure: the call for full proposals will close on 20 September 2017 (1:00 p.m. EDT / 5:00 p.m. UTC / 7:00 p.m. CEST / 21 September 2017 2:00 a.m. JST)

3.4 Preparing and submitting an application 

Language and form Proposals must be prepared in English using the designated proposal form. Proposals written in other languages will not be accepted. The proposal form should be completely filled in; incomplete proposal forms will be ineligible. 

Submission in eCall 

Submission of a pre-proposal and a full proposal must be done by means of the FFG electronic submission system ( An online help document for submission is provided via The pre-proposal/full proposal may only be submitted if all co-applicants/co-operation 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 partner proposals and of the pre-proposal/full proposal as a whole. The process of the invitation and application of project partners (co-applicants or co-operation partners) is described in detail in chapters 6 and 11 of the eCall help document (see above). The terms "partner proposal" and "partner application" are used interchangeably. The "partner application" or "partner proposal" only includes the master data of the project partner and does not mean that the pre-proposal must be submitted several times. It is not possible to resubmit or revise the pre-proposal/full proposal after the submission deadline. 

By transmitting your pre-proposal/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. 

If you still have technical questions about the use of the system, please contact the Call Secretariat at FFG (see section 6). 


4 Assessment Procedure 

4.1 Procedure 

Eligibility check 

The Call Secretariat will verify the eligibility of the proposals according to the transnational eligibility criteria below. The participating funding agencies will verify the suitability for national funding according to their respective eligibility criteria. 

If either the Main Applicant 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 Main Applicant. 

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. 

Pre-proposal stage 

Within the framework of SUGI-FWE Nexus, a two-stage procedure will be adopted. In the first stage, consortia are invited to submit pre-proposals (description of consortium members, concise project description of no more than 12 pages, and a budget indication with limited detail and according to national requirements). 

The pre-proposals will be assessed by an Expert Panel composed of international experts and a technical chairman. The Expert Panel will be established by the Call Secretariat. The Panel will consist of recognised experts in relevant fields, academics as well as practitioners and innovators, who can assess the scientific as well as the innovative and practical values of the submitted projects. The Panel will be appointed by the participating organisations. The Evaluation Panel will assess the pre-proposals using the evaluation criteria described in section 4.2. Applicants will have no possibility for rebuttal to the committee’s evaluation. 

After the submission of the pre-proposals, a selection of approximately 50 pre-proposals will be made. The successful consortia will then be invited to elaborate their ideas to full proposals. Unsuccessful consortia will be provided with an overall assessment of the quality of their pre-proposals. 

Full proposal stage 

Eligible full proposals will be submitted to the Evaluation Panel. The Evaluation Panel draws up recommendations and qualifies the proposals with a score. Each full proposal will be evaluated by at least three independent experts. (Note: To be eligible for funding provided by the European Commission, the Sustainable Urbanisation Global Initiative – Food-Water-Energy Nexus 

Page 19 of 65 


Project no. 730254 

eligible full proposals will be ranked according to the evaluation results and the selection will be made on the basis of this ranking.) 

Based on the ranking by the Expert Panel, and taking into account the available (national) budgets, the participating national and regional funding agencies of SUGI will take funding decisions. Funding decisions are final, and cannot be appealed. 

A written statement on the evaluation of each full proposal will be sent by the Call Secretariat to the Main Applicants. The Call Secretariat will inform the Main Applicants of projects that have been recommended for funding, on the subsequent contracting procedure. 

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 


Time Schedule

15 March 2017: Deadline Submission of pre-proposals 

March 2017:  Eligibility check 

May 2017:  Meeting of Expert Panel to assess pre-proposals 

May 2017:  Invite applicants to submit full proposals 

20 September 2017:  Deadline Submission of full proposals 

September 2017:  Eligibility check 

November 2017:  Meeting of Expert Panel to assess full proposals 

December 2017:  Funding recommendation by the Steering Committee 

December 2017:  Announcement of results to Main Applicants 

December 2017-March 2018:  National funding decisions and contracts completed  Start of projects 

2018 : Kick-off meeting Projects 

2019 : Mid-term Projects Event 

2020:  Final Projects Event 


4.2 Evaluation criteria 

Proposals will be evaluated according to the following criteria. The consortium is responsible for assigning a proposal to (a) specific project type(s). A proposal can be assigned to more than one project type (for example, different work packages or partners might fall under different project types); this will be taken into account during the evaluation. 

*) Criteria used for both evaluating the pre-proposals and the full proposals. Criteria without asterisk are used only for the evaluation of full proposals. Excellence – Intellectual Merit 

5 points 


 Originality, innovativeness and contribution to new strategic knowledge and breakthrough implementation *) 

 Appropriateness of conceptual approach *) 

 Added value of international co-operation *) 

 Feasibility of aims and objectives of project 

 Feasibility and suitability of project design and methods 

 Handling of development risks 


Impact and User Engagement (societal and broader impacts of project results) 

5 points 


 Fit to objectives, aims and topics of the call text (see pp. 7-11) *) 

 Engagement of research users worldwide (e.g. communities, cities, policy makers, regulators, NGOs, or industry) and the extent to which the project is likely to be of value to end users *) 

 Potential of the project, e.g. societal impact or market potential *) 

 Suitability of proposed arrangements for disseminating and communicating outcomes of the project. 


Quality (Inter-disciplinarity and Personnel) and Efficiency of project implementation 

5 points 


 Value for money *) 

 Appropriateness of costing 

 Feasibility and appropriateness of timescale *) 

 Suitability of expertise, balance of substantial contributions of members to project consortium *) 

 Composition of consortium compared to the topic’s needs and international relevance *) 

 Interdisciplinary, cross-sectorial collaboration, and co-creation *) 

 Appropriateness of governance/management arrangements for project (incl. risk management) 

 Track record and/or other key expertise of consortium members 

5 Project Implementation 

This call is part of the Belmont Forum and 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 the Belmont Forum and the 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 

Both the Belmont Forum and 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. The Belmont Forum and JPI Urban Europe believe 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, the Belmont Forum and JPI Urban Europe also recognize 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 D. 

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, the Belmont Forum, the JPI Urban Europe and the European Commission. 

Programme activities 

The coordination of the programme is seen as very important for creating added value to the researchers involved in the programme. Three project events are foreseen. A project kick-off will be organised in 2018, a mid-term event in 2019 and a final event in 2020. Active participation of the funded projects is obligatory, e.g. by preparing short project presentations and/or posters. Additional network events are foreseen.

All consortia of funded projects are expected to prepare popular science summaries of the project contents for programme activities and JPI Urban Europe publications (e.g. for brochures, (digital) newsletters, the website etc.). (Note: Projects receiving funding also from the European Commission must ensure that all outcomes [publications, etc.] of transnational SUGI-FWE Nexus projects include a proper acknowledgement of JPI Urban Europe, the European Commission, and the respective funding agencies.) 

Time and budget of a maximum of €20.000 should be reserved by the consortium as a whole for monitoring and programme activities. 


Public link:   Only for registered users

Looking for a partnership?
Have a look at
Ma Région Sud!