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Call for Innovation Transfer Networks open from 10 January to 20 March 2024

Innovation Transfer Networks will be formed along the topics of Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) projects that have been implemented from 2016 to 2023. Cities that have implemented a UIA project will act as Lead Partners by default. 

 

Cities and public-equivalent bodies from European Union's 27 Member States, Partner States (Norway, Switzeland), as well as cities from countries benefitting from the Instrument for Pre-Accession to the EU (Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia), willing to transfer the experience and know how of a UIA project should go to the URBACT Partner Search Tool (see below) and express their interest to the city that has implemented a UIA project.

 

On this page you can find all the call documents, guidance and dates of the information sessions. 

All you need to know about the call

DOCUMENTS

Discover the call infographic in your language!

APPLICATION SUBMISSION

Submit your application for an Innovation Transfer Network through the Synergie CTE 21-27 system!

 

GO TO SYNERGIE

PARTNER SEARCH TOOL

 Find your Lead Partner and their practice!

 

The Lead Partners of Innovation Transfer Networks will be cities who have successfully completed an Urban Innovative Actions project from 2016 to 2023.  

 

Go to the Partner Search Tool to find out who the potential Lead Partners are, discover their projects eligible to be transferred in Innovation Transfer Networks, and express your interest!  

INFO SESSIONS

AT EUROPEAN LEVEL: Join the online info sessions hosted by the URBACT Secretariat to find out all about the call for Innovation Transfer Networks and ask your questions!

 

 

 

AT NATIONAL LEVEL: Attend the National Info Days on the call organised by the National URBACT Points in your country in your native language!

 

FAQ

Find below the most frequently asked questions about preparing a bid for an Innovation Transfer Network, from the application form to what to expect from the network experience.

 
Cannot find what you are looking for? Contact us at itn@urbact.eu

 

PROGRAMME AREA

The URBACT IV cooperation area covers the whole territory of the European Union with its 27 Member States as well as Norway and Switzerland plus 5 Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA)* countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia.

 

*IPA partners can apply as Project Partners provided that their legal status is coherent with the Programme rules and that the legal framework is fully set in the relevant IPA countries. The conditions to participate will have to be checked with the national authorities concerned.

 

Cities from other countries can take part in network activities at their own costs.

Only cities from the 27 EU member states, the 2 partner states (Norway and Switzerland) and the 5 IPA countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia) are eligible beneficiaries for the call.

However, cities from other countries can take part in network activities at their own costs. This means they can be actively engaged but are not eligible to the ERDF/IPA budget to cover costs occurred by participating in the network.

CALL THEMATIC COVERAGE

URBACT supports networks in any thematic issues on better cooperation governance. The present call for proposals relates to the transfer of innovative practices funded by the Urban Innovative Actions under the period 2014-2020. The UIA projects over the last programming period span 14 topics:

 

Air quality Housing
Circular Economy Integration of migrants and refugees
Climate Adaptation Jobs & skills in the local economy
Culture & Cultural Heritage Sustainable use of land and nature-based solutions
Demographic change Urban mobility
Digital Transition Urban poverty
Energy Transition Urban security

 

The Call for Innovation Transfer Networks is open to all of them, without any thematic weighting or ring-fencing. Candidates will need to explain in their application form how their proposal links to the Cohesion Policy Objectives and scope (as presented in Article 5 of the common provisions regulation (EU) 2021/1060 and Article 3 of the ERDF regulation (EU) 2021/1058).

The current Programme integrates the crosscutting EU priorities of digital, green and gender-equal policy-making into its activities.

 

This means that, while addressing the main policy challenge the URBACT networks will chose to work on, they will also have to reflect on how their activities address the cross-cutting considerations of green transition, digital transformation and gender equality. Whether cities aim to address mobility issues, cultural heritage, financial engineering, energy transition or any other topic, URBACT invites them to take the extra mile and consider how these holistic themes can be part of the challenges.

NETWORK PARTNERSHIP

European cities from the 27 Member States, the 2 Partner States (Norway and Switzerland) and the 5 Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia) are the eligible beneficiaries of the call for Innovation Transfer Networks.

 

Under URBACT IV, the beneficiary “city” refers to the public local authority representing:

  • Cities, municipalities, towns
  • Local agencies defined as public or semi-public organisations set up by a city, partially or fully owned by the city authority, and responsible for the design and implementation of specific policies (economic development, energy supply, health services, transport, etc.)
  • Infra-municipal tiers of government such as city districts and boroughs in cases where they are represented by a politico-administrative institution having competences for policy-making and implementation in the policy area covered by the URBACT network concerned in which they are willing to get involved
  • Metropolitan authorities and organized agglomerations in cases where they are represented by a politico-administrative institution having delegated competences for policy-making and implementation in the policy area covered by the URBACT network.

 

In addition to city partners, Innovation Transfer Networks can also include a limited number of other beneficiaries (non-city partners). In the case of Innovation Transfer Networks, non-city partners as defined below are eligible:

  • Provincial, regional and national authorities, as far as urban issues are concerned
  • Universities and research centres, as far as urban issues are concerned
  • Managing Authorities of Cohesion Policy and EU Solidarity Funds.

 

The partnership may include 1 “non-city partner” maximum.

In order to be eligible, other beneficiaries (non-city partners) must be public authorities or Equivalent Public Bodies.

Equivalent Public Body (EPB) refers to any legal body governed by public or private law:

  1. established for the specific purpose of meeting needs in the general interest, not having an industrial or commercial character (which does not exclude bodies partly having an industrial or commercial character), and
  2. having legal personality, and
  3.   a) either financed, for the most part, by the State, or regional or local authorities, or other bodies governed by public law
      b) or subject to management supervision by those bodies
      c) or having an administrative, managerial or supervisory board, more than half of whose members   are appointed by the State, regional or local authorities or by other bodies governed by public law.”

 

In case of doubt, lead applicants or other beneficiaries (non-city partners) are invited to contact the URBACT Secretariat at: itn@urbact.eu and provide the legal status of the institution in national language. The Secretariat will request legal advice from the relevant National Authority in order to verify that the interested institution is a Public Authority or that it fulfills the criteria for Equivalent Public Bodies.

The answer is usually “no” BUT you can contact us directly with more specific details on ITN@urbact.eu and we can respond case by case.  Often such partners are involved in URBACT Local Groups in partner cities. 

There is no limit of population size for cities wishing to participate in URBACT activities. The calls are open to all cities, regardless of their size. URBACT specifically supports urban authorities from neighbourhood to functional urban area level depending on the topic covered and the impact that can be made. This includes urban-rural linkages and cross-border functional urban areas.

A full partnership shall be set up for the submission of the application. 

 

In addition to the Lead Partner, the partnership to be proposed must include from 4 to 6 Transfer partners from eligible countries. Therefore, a network will include from 5 to 7 city partners in total.

Only cities having delivered an Urban Innovative Action project (funded under the 2014-2020 period) can be Lead Partner of an Innovation Transfer Network.

 

The candidate Lead Partner can be candidate Lead Partner in one URBACT proposal only under this call.

The Lead Partner city will manage a transnational network, which is a challenging and time-consuming task. The Lead Partner City should therefore allocate sufficient resources to the project to ensure suitable project management. The project staff should have experience in the management of transnational projects, be able to handle the challenges of different languages and cultures including fluent English and have skills to get the best from the partnership. With overall administrative, co-ordination, management, implementation, financial and legal responsibility for the project, the Lead Partner acts as the link between the Managing Authority and the project partners.

 

In addition, the Lead Partner City holds the knowledge on the UIA practice to be transferred by other partners. It is therefore important that the Lead Partner City team includes people involved in the design and implementation of the UIA practice.

 

For further explanation, refer to the URBACT Programme Manual, Book One – Section C. MANAGING AN URBACT NETWORK and Section F. COMMUNICATION AT NETWORK LEVEL.

According to the eligibility criteria set in the Call for proposals, an Innovation Transfer Network cannot include more than one partner per member/partner state. In general, it is recommended to build a diverse partnership. This will be assessed by the external assessment panel using the assessment criteria as outlined in the Terms of reference of the call.

Non-city partners are full project partners so they are to be counted in the 5-7 project partners. Like any city-partner, a non-city partner would have to participate in the project, take on roles and implement activities as indicated in the work plan, more especially they commit to participate in the transnational meetings planned, to set up an URBACT Local Group and work with key stakeholders on the transfer of the UIA practice and to contribute to the delivery of expected outputs at both network and local levels.

 

As full partners, they count in the balance between cities from EU more developed, less developed and transition regions that should be ensured.

A balance between cities from EU more developed, less developed and transition regions shall be ensured and monitored using the eligibility criteria of this call for proposals.

Under this call, a balance of cities from Less Developed and Transition EU regions is necessary as follows:

  • a minimum of 3 partners from Less Developed and Transition Regions where the total number of partners is 5 to 6.
  • a minimum of 4 partners from Less Developed and Transition Regions where the total number of partners is 7.

The map showing the categorisation of EU Regions for 2021-2027 can be found here. The full list of regions eligible for funding from the ERDF and the ESF Plus and of Member States eligible for funding from the Cohesion Fund for the period 2021-2027 is available at this link here.

Each partnership can include 1 partner maximum from Norway, Switzerland or IPA countries. Partners from these countries do not count in the balance above mentioned and are counted in addition to partners from Less Developed or Transitions regions.

Transnational partnerships are cornerstones of URBACT Innovation Transfer Networks. The rules defined translate into eligibility criteria and shall therefore be respected.

URBACT encourages projects partnerships to include a mix of regions with different levels of development. Wider geographical coverage allows partners to broaden their pool of experience, exchange and learn from practices in different local cultures and contexts.

According to the eligibility criteria set in the Call for proposals, when it comes to geographical coverage,

  • The partnership shall bring together between 5 and 7 candidate partners, including the Lead Partner
  • The partners in the application can not count two cities from the same Member/Partner state.
  • The proposed partnership shall respect the required balance of cities from Transition and Less Developed regions.

 

It is not always easy to build a relevant partnership during the short period available for partner search during the application process. This is why the programme provides the online URBACT Partner Search Tool, available in the website https://urbact.eu/partnersearchtool

 

This database lists and provides detailed information on all UIA cities which have expressed their interest in leading an Innovation transfer Network. Cities interested in transferring an innovative practice can browse through the database and contact directly the candidate Lead Partners.

 

In addition, contacts of National URBACT Points can be very useful for finding right partners from different countries. These are provided in section 12 – useful resources of the Call document. More information and contact details about National URBACT Points can be found at this link: https://urbact.eu/how-find-us.

EXPERTISE

During their lifetime, approved Innovation Transfer Networks will be assisted by a validated URBACT Lead Expert which shall support the partnership over the entire duration of the network with:

  • the definition of the main focus of network activities based on the deep analysis taking place at the beginning of project cycles. It includes designing the network work plan with a menu of exchange and learning activities with various formats, elaborating the main expected results and production of network outputs
  • the delivery of transnational exchange and learning activities with effective facilitation techniques.
  • the knowledge of EU policy frameworks and the specific thematic fields tackled by the network
  • coaching on the use of effective methods and tools for the design and delivery of integrated and participatory processes in partner cities
  • the knowledge capture and uptake
  • the communication of network results

 

This list of tasks is not exhaustive; each Lead Expert will have a dedicated work plan based on the specific expertise framework defined for the call.

 

In their application form, applicants shall indicate the needs identified by the network for the use of URBACT Lead Experts and Ad Hoc Experts to assist the network. In many cases the skills and experience required for the lead Expert will include:

  • Experience in working with complex transnational partnerships
  • A track record in getting results
  • Expertise in the design and use of partnership tools and exchange and learning methodologies
  • A commitment to the URBACT principles of participation and integrated approaches
  • Relevant thematic knowledge
  • Solid facilitation skills
  • Coaching skills
  • Perfect spoken and written English

 

Applicants may then have specific additional competencies in mind when considering their expertise requirements.

 

To know more about the URBACT IV pool of experts, you can have a look at the article “The time to join the URBACT pool of experts is (almost) here”.

Over the course of the network duration, in addition to the Lead Expert, at least two ad hoc experts shall be appointed by each network to deliver specific services not provided by the Lead Expert.

 

Three potential URBACT Validated Lead Experts, with the relevant skills identified, shall be proposed by the Lead Partner in the Application Form. 3 letters of intent (template provided in annex 4 of the Terms of Reference) signed by the proposed Lead Experts must be sent as part of the application package. It should be noted that only experts who have not been directly involved in developing the network application can be proposed. A strict conflict of interest procedure will be followed.

 

For the ad how expertise, no names need to be provided but potential need can be identified in the Application Form.

 

The list of URBACT validated experts can be found here.

NETWORK BUDGET

No, preparation costs are not eligible. That means that you cannot get reimbursed from hiring external consultants for instance to help you in preparing your Application Form.

First of all, costs will be eligible starting from the date of approval of Innovation Transfer Networks by the Members of the URBACT IV Monitoring Committee (this should occur late June 2024).

 

To be claimed, costs have to be verified by a qualified controller according to the First Level Control system established on the national level.

 

Now, concerning the eligibility of costs during the project’s life, we invite you to read the URBACT Programme Manual, Book One – Section D. MANAGING COSTS AND REPORTING PROGRESS which provides more information about the eligible costs and the claim procedures, types of documents to be provided to get reimbursement, etc.

Please note that the URBACT programme doesn’t give you money in advance. All costs must be paid first and are then to be claimed. The reimbursement by ERDF/Norwegian/Swiss/IPA funds is made after each reporting period based on the costs claimed by each partner. It is the responsibility then of the Lead Partner to refund the funds due to its partners. Specific provisions for refunding incurred costs for IPA countries will be discussed in the financial agreements with each country. If you have questions please contact ITN@urbact.eu.

The total budget for an Innovation Transfer Network is EUR 550 000 maximum, comprised of local co-financing and of ERDF/CH/NO/IPA co-financing included.

 

In addition to the network budget, each approved network will have an allocation of EUR 105 000 to cover the costs of expertise support (fees) over the lifetime of the project. This available envelope shall cover days of expertise only. Travel and accommodation costs for Lead and Ad Hoc Experts MUST be covered by the network budget.

When preparing your budget, please note that as stated in the Terms of Reference, EUR 550 000 is the maximum you can allocate. If your budget exceeds this sum, your network’s proposal will not be eligible and therefore will not even be assessed.

 

The total budget of maximum EUR 550 000 is comprised of local co-financing and of ERDF/IPA/CH/NO co-financing included.

Depending on the partnership, the co-financing rate can vary depending on the cities forming the partnership:

 

Partners from other countries may participate in Innovation Transfer Networks at their own cost for this call. 

 

The map showing the categorisation of EU Regions for 2021-2027 can be found here. The full list of regions eligible for funding is available at this link here: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A32021D1130.

 

The complementary local co-financing has to be borne by the Lead/Project partner institutions. The local co-financing is formalised in the form of letters of commitment to be submitted as part of the application package. These letters of commitment are to be found in Annex 2 and 3 of the Terms of Reference, filled in and signed by each Lead/Project partner.

Yes, all partners need to provide a scanned version of signed letter of commitment along with the Application Form and other documents to be submitted by the Lead Partner via email to the URBACT Secretariat. The templates of the Programme can be found in the Terms of reference for the call.

 

The letters have to be signed. The signing person has to be an elected representative with authority to sign for the Lead/Project Partner. In case the Lead/Project Partner institution has no elected representatives, the signing person must be in the position of committing the institution’s resources to be engaged in the project (staff, budget, etc.).

SYNERGIE APPLICATION

A unique login and password are linked to a network proposal in the Synergie-CTE system. This is an online system; therefore, you can come back to it any time to keep on completing it and work on your application at any time until the submission deadline. Nevertheless, do not forget to SAVE the information before going to next chapter, otherwise the information will not be saved. We strongly recommend that you draft the large text questions in a word document and then copy/paste into the SYNERGIE system to avoid losing your work.

 

You are welcome to draft your application using the other following files (Budget template and Application Form outline) which are meant to help you with the preparation of your network’s proposal, but keep in mind that the formal application needs to be submitted through the online Synergie-CTE system.

 

Anyhow, please be careful: the system might get overloaded and thus could be slower so avoid last minute online completion to ensure that your application is submitted properly and on time by the deadline 20 March 2024, 15:00 pm (CET).

 

Note that two webinars will be specifically dedicated to last chance troubleshooting and application submission (especially in relation to SYNERGIE-CTE online application platform related questions) on 7th and 14th March 2024, 10:00 - 11:00 am (CET).

Other ways to get involved

 

Join an URBACT Local Group

Approved partners that will carry out URBACT network-funded activities are required to set up a multi-stakeholder consultation group. This group shall meet on a regular basis to support the co-creation of a long-term vision, strategy and pilot actions to achieve the network's objectives at local level. Anyone who holds a stake are welcome to join the discussion: from academia to the civil society and even the people who are opposed to the projects ambitions. The findings and outcomes from these meetings will be used to feed the exchange at transnational level between the Lead Partner and Project Partner cities. 

 

Come to our events

No matter if you are involved in an URBACT Network or not, you can always connect with peers across Europe at our events! All year round, throughout the duration of URBACT IV (2021 - 2027) you can take part in open events like the URBACT City Festivals, webinars, seminars, conferences and thematic policy labs. Mark your calendars for the next event and see you there!

 

Join URBACT networks

Calls for proposals are released roughly every year for the following types of Networks:

  • Transfer Networks – cities understand, adapt and re-use a successful Good Practice in their local context. Only cities that have been awarded the URBACT Good Practice label, following a Call for Good Practices from 15 April to June 2024, can act as Lead Partners of such Networks. The Call for Transfer Networks is foreseen from April to June 2025. 
  • Action Planning Networks – cities and local stakeholders co-produce local Integrated Action Plans to tackle their common challenges. The second Call for Action Planning Networks under URBACT IV is foreseen from April to June 2026.

 

Become an URBACT validated expert

If you are interested to join the URBACT pool of experts, you can submit an application any time! The call for URBACT IV validated experts is open for the whole duration of this programme period (2022-2027). Becoming an expert can open the door to a diverse range of missions to support approved networks and programme's activities. Find out the details of the call here and apply here!

 

Work with us

Based in Paris (France), the URBACT Joint Secretariat is a group of 15-20 very an enthusiastic and committed teamorganised into three units – Projects and Programming; Knowledge and Communication; Coordination and Administration. You can check all open vacancies here.

 

Keep in touch

Follow us on social media and subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date with URBACT and to be the first to hear about upcoming opportunities. If you are looking for news in your language and country, keep an eye on your National URBACT Point’s webpagesFor any other enquiries, you can reach out to us the URBACT Secretariat at communication@urbact.eu