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What types of project does URBACT finance?

URBACT is a European Territorial Cooperation programme (ETC) aiming to foster sustainable integrated urban development in cities across Europe. It is an instrument of the Cohesion Policy, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and by Member and Partner States.

URBACT is not an investment programme. 

URBACT finances transnational exchange and learning networks. 

The main aim is to enable cities to work together and develop integrated solutions to common urban challenges, by networking, learning from one another’s experiences, drawing lessons and identifying good practices to improve urban policies.

What is the thematic coverage for URBACT transnational networks?

The thematic coverage of the URBACT III Programme 2014/2020 is in line with the Thematic Objectives (TO) of the EU Cohesion Policy for 2014/2020 and thus strongly linked with the pillars of the Europe 2020 strategy for innovative, sustainable and inclusive growth. 

The URBACT III thematic coverage includes the following Thematic Objectives: 

  • Strengthening research, technological development and innovation (TO1)
  • Enhancing access to and use and quality of ICT (TO2)
  • Enhancing the competitiveness of SMEs (TO3)
  • Supporting the shift towards a low carbon economy in all sectors (TO4)
  • Promoting climate change adaptation, risk prevention and management (TO5)
  • Protecting the environment and promoting resource efficiency (TO6)
  • Promoting sustainable transport and removing bottlenecks in key network infrastructures (TO7)
  • Promoting employment and supporting labour mobility (TO8)
  • Promoting social inclusion and combating poverty (TO9)
  • Investing in education, skills and lifelong learning by developing education and training infrastructure (TO10)

A detailed description of the urban dimension of the 10 Thematic Objectives for EU Cohesion Policy 2014/2020 is available in the Fact Sheet 1 of the URBACT III Programme Manual.

How URBACT transnational networks are selected for funding?

URBACT transnational networks are selected by means of Calls for Proposals. Call for Proposals are published in the URBACT website and disseminated through different communication tools (dedicated webpage in the URBACT website, newsletters, news on partner websites, National Infodays, social media, etc.).

The URBACT Programme, in order to increase the quality of networks approved for funding, foresees a two phase process with a first 6-month phase for the consolidation of the project proposal and a second 24-month phase for the implementation of the exchange and transfer activities.

Cities willing to set up a URBACT network are requested to submit a 1st proposal to get funding for Phase 1. 

If the proposal is approved for Phase 1, networks will have 6 months to prepare and submit a complete project proposal for Phase 2.

Each phase is subject to eligibility check by the Secretariat, assessment by an external panel of experts (External Assessment Panel), and approval by the Monitoring Committee. The decision of the Monitoring Committee is final.

How cities can find other partners interested in joining a URBACT network?

The URBACT Secretariat will set up an online project idea database in the website

Cities willing to apply as Lead Partners can post their project idea and describe the profiles of partners needed to complete the initial partnerships.

Cities willing to apply as partners can browse the different project ideas posted and contact the candidate Lead Partners

What are the specific features of Implementation networks?
  1. Cities partnering in an Implementation Network should all already have an action plan or strategy for the policy issue they will jointly decide to tackle. All partners’ action plans should tackle a similar policy issue and it is advised to build a partnership with cities that have a similar size.
  2. The policy issue that will be focused on should correspond to one of the ten Thematic Objectives of the EU Cohesion Policy.
  3. Cities partnering will have to identify common implementation. Three implementation challenges are compulsory. They relate to the integrated and participative approach central to all URBACT projects, and to the measurement of impact.  Six other implementation challenges are optional; one or more can be chosen by the partnership.