Urban Innovative Actions
(In de bijlage vindt u de informatie in het Nederlands) The main objective of UIA is to provide urban authorities throughout Europe with space and resources to experiment new innovative answers to the interconnected and complex local challenges. Through this new Initiative, urban authorities have the possibility to test how new and unproven solutions work in practice and how they respond to the complexity of real life. The Initiative has a total ERDF budget of around EUR 372 million. Urban authorities should seize the opportunity offered by the UIA Initiative to move from “normal projects” (that could be financed through “traditional” sources of funding, including mainstream ERDF Programmes) and take the risk to turn ambitious and creative ideas into prototypes that can be tested in real urban settings. Each action can receive up to a maximum of EUR 5 Million ERDF co-financing. Project implementation must take place within a maximum period of 3 years. There is no fixed minimum size for UIA project budgets. However, small projects (i.e. below EUR 1 million ERDF requested) may have a reduced probability of being selected as they may struggle to demonstrate that the actions are of sufficient scale to produce meaningful conclusions. The main objective of the first Call for Proposals is to select projects testing bold and unproven ideas on the following topics:
- Jobs and skills in the local economy
- Integration of migrants and refugees
- Urban poverty with a focus on deprived neighborhoods
- Energy transition
Specifically, the UIA Initiative supports projects that are:
- Innovative: Projects should be new, bold, creative and experimental. Urban authorities should propose projects that might not been financed under a mainstream Programme and are not merely part of normal local activities. Building on research and benchmarking, urban authorities should be able to demonstrate that the proposed project has not been previously tested and implemented on the ground in the urban area or elsewhere in the EU.
- Of good quality: Projects should meet key quality standards such as clear and logical interrelation of objectives/activities/outputs, evidence of preparatory work, realistic ambitions, effective management structures and procedures.
- Participative: Urban authorities should seek to benefit from sources of external expertise such as universities, NGOs, businesses, citizens and other levels of government both in the design and in the implementation of the project. To ensure the participative approach they need to define effective mechanisms of consultation, coordination and co-design.
- Measurable: Urban authorities should be able to clearly explain what the changes are that they want to achieve in the local context as a result of their projects. They need to demonstrate how any change in the local situation is directly attributable to the new solution developed and how the results can be measured, quantified and evaluated.
- Transferable: Solutions developed in the framework of the projects should be applicable and replicable by other organisations throughout Europe. Urban authorities should demonstrate that the challenge addressed has an Europe-wide relevance and that the resources needed for the implementation of the projects can be found in other local contexts.
The UIA Initiative follows the total costs principle. The project receives ERDF co-financing up to 80% of the eligible costs. Every partner receiving ERDF needs to secure public or private contributions to complete its budget (20% at least) either from its own resources or from other sources (regional or national government for example). However, it is encouraged that the majority of contributions come from public sources.
Article 2 UIA establishes that the following authorities may apply for support to undertake Urban Innovative Actions:a. Any urban authority of a local administrative unit defined according to the degree of urbanisation as city, town or suburb comprising at least 50 000 inhabitantsb. Any association or grouping of urban authorities of local administrative units defined according to the degree of urbanisation as city, town or suburb where the total population is at least 50 000 inhabitants; this can include cross-border associations or groupings, associations or groupings in different regions and/or Member States In particular, in the framework of the UIA Initiative the concept of local administrative unit refers to the democratically elected administrative body relevant to the urban area concerned (e.g. city council, municipality, borough, etc.). Given the complexity and the interconnected nature of the challenges to be addressed, Urban Authorities cannot act in isolation in designing and implementing effective and sustainable policies and solutions. The participative approach – the development of strong partnerships between public bodies, the private sector and civil society (including citizens and inhabitants) - is widely recognized as a cornerstone of efficient urban development policies.
Info & contact
Urban Innovative Actions: Brussels applicant seminar, 13 januari 2016 in Brussel: https://www.vleva.eu/event/urban-innovative-actions-brussels-applicant-seminar