Urban Innovative Actions: First Call for Proposals Open

Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) is an Initiative of the European Commission that provides urban areas throughout Europe with resources to test new and unproven solutions to address urban challenges. Based on article 8 of ERDF, the Initiative has a total ERDF budget of EUR 372 million for 2014-2020.

Approximately 359 million people - 72% of the total EU population - live in cities, towns and suburbs. Urban areas face multiple interconnected challenges related to employment, migration, demography, water and soil pollution ... But, they are also engines of new ideas and solutions.

To answer the increasingly complex challenges they face, urban authorities need to go beyond traditional policies and services - they need to be bold and innovative.

The initiative has a budget of EUR 372 million at the European Regional Development Fund. In this first call for proposals, cities are invited to submit their innovative ideas in the following fields: & nb

  • Energy transition
  • Integration of migrants and refugees
  • Jobs and skills in the local economy
  • Urban poverty with a focus on deprived neighborhoods

Urban authorities with more than 50,000 inhabitants or a grouping of urban authorities with a total population of more than 50,000 inhabitants located in a EU Member State are eligible for the Urban Innovative Actions initiative. Cities can receive up to EUR 5 million to implement their innovative projects. Eligible projects should also be participative - e.i. involve key local stakeholders - as well as measurable and transferable. The deadline for this call is 31 March 2016.

Our vision

Although research on urban issues is well developed, potential solutions are not always put into practice because urban authorities are reluctant to use their money to test new, unproven and hence risky ideas. Urban Innovative Actions offers urban authorities with the possibility to take a risk and experiment the most innovative and creative solutions. The main objective of UIA is to provide urban areas throughout Europe with resources to test innovative solutions to the main urban challenges, and see how these work in practice and respond to the complexity of real life.

Who do we support?

  • Are you an urban authority  of more than 50 000 inhabitants, or a grouping of urban authorities with a total population of a least 50 000 inhabitants, located in one of the 28 EU Member States?
  • Do you have a bold idea that has never been implemented before to tackle a challenge you are facing, but need support to implement it?
  • Do you think that your idea can generate a real positive change for your citizens?

Then, the UIA Initiative can help you.

The beneficiaries of the UIA Initiative are urban authorities. However, given the complexity of the urban challenges, they can’t act alone. In order to design and implement effective and innovative solutions, urban authorities need to involve all the key stakeholders that can bring expertise and knowledge on the specific policy issue to be addressed. These include agencies, organisations, private sector, research institutions, NGOs… Bold projects need them all.

What type of support for urban authorities?

UIA can provide you with two levels of support:

  • First of all, funding for your projects: UIA co-finances 80% of your project's activities. In total, UIA can provide you with up to EUR 5 million or ERDF to implement your innovative project
  • But you also want to generate your project: UIA wants to see how potential solutions work in practice. As in a scientific experiment, UIA is interested in understanding what has been done in the implementation of your project and what did not work. So draw lessons, capture the knowledge and share it with other urban policy makers and practitioners across Europe. 

Further information including all required application documents can be found here.