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URBACT call for Action Planning Networks

All you need to know about the call

The first URBACT IV call for Action Planning Networks is open until 31 March 2023 at 15:00 CEST!


The call is addressed primarily to city administrations that are willing to work with other European cities to develop and implement Integrated Action Plans to respond to their local challenges. 


Cities and other public bodies from the Member States and Partner States (Norway and Switzerland) of the European Union, as well as countries benefitting from the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia) are eligible to receiving funding for their participation in Action Planning Networks.


Discover the call in a nutshell in English and your language here.


Still wondering whether to apply? Watch the testimonials from cities who took part in URBACT networks: Basingstoke (UK), Dubrovnik (HR) and Rotterdam (NL).


We look forward to receiving your applications!



Templates for the application


Applications must be sent via SYNERGIE CTE


Start sharing your project ideas and look for partners!


The URBACT Partner Search Tool offers you the space to publish your project idea, so that potential partners can join you, or to partner up with other cities. 




Do you want more information about Action Planning Networks and the call? Save the date for our URBACT webinars and ask all the questions you may have:




The URBACT Team will also be present at the Cities Forum 2023 in Torino, Italy on 16 - 17 March 2023. Come to our stand there and ask any last questions regarding the application process for the Action Planning Networks!


Have a look at the events National URBACT Points are organising in your countries and languages to present the call! Save the date for the national Info Days:





Become an URBACT Expert

Become an URBACT IV Expert

The call for experts is officially open for the whole duration of this programme period (2022 – 2027). Becoming an URBACT IV Expert can open the door to a diverse range of missions to support approved networks and the Secretariat. We need professionals with practical and academic experience in a wide spectrum of fields contributing to sustainable urban development. All experts previously validated in URBACT III are also invited to re-apply to the new pool. Start by reading the guide for the call (below) and, then, completing the Expert Application Form*


Applications will be assessed by an external panel. The first notifications to validated URBACT IV experts will be sent from 3 April 2023 onwards.  


*Candidates who are new to URBACT will need to create a login to the website, whereas URBACT III Experts can use their existing login details.


Guide for URBACT IV Experts' candidates


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

Cannot find what you are looking for? Contact us at



URBACT supports networks in any thematic issue related to better cooperation governance. The present Call for Proposals for Action Planning networks is open to any specific urban challenge or topic that is of relevance to the candidate cities, in line with their local needs and as long as this falls within 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 URBACT IV Programme integrates the crosscutting EU priorities of digital, green and gender-equal policy-making into its activities at all levels.

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 and action plans 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 invite to take the extra mile and consider how these holistic themes can be part of the challenges.



URBACT facilitates the sharing of knowledge and good practice between cities and other levels of government. The purpose is to promote integrated sustainable development in cities, improve city’s policies and improve the effectiveness of cohesion policy in cities.

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.

European cities from the 27 Member States, the 2 Partner States (Norway and Switzerland) and the 5 IPA countries (Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia) are the eligible beneficiaries of the APN call.


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, Action Planning Networks can also include a limited number of other beneficiaries (non-city partners). In the case of Action Planning 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 2 “non-city partners” maximum.

In order to be eligible, other beneficiaries (non-city partners) must be public authorities or Equivalent Public Bodies (EPB), which refers to any legal body governed by public or private law:

  • 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); 
  • having legal personality; 
  • alternatively:
    • either financed, for the most part, by the State, or regional or local authorities, or other bodies governed by public law
    • or subject to management supervision by those bodies
    • 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 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 fulfils the criteria for Equivalent Public Bodies.

The answer is usually no, BUT you can contact us directly with more specific details on 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.

The partnership to be proposed must include a minimum of 8 and a maximum of 10 partners from eligible countries. Only one city shall be designated as Lead Partner.

The candidate Lead Partner SHALL be candidate Lead Partner in one URBACT proposal only under this call. Only cities (according to the definition provided under section 2.2 of the Call Terms of Reference) from the 27 EU Member States can be Lead Partners of Action Planning Networks.


Cities from the Partner States – Norway and Switzerland – and from the EU pre-accession countries – Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia – cannot currently be Lead Partners of Action Planning Networks.

The Lead Partner will manage a transnational project, which is a challenging and time-consuming task. A city willing to lead an URBACT Action Planning Network 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, coordination, management, implementation, financial and legal responsibility for the project, the Lead Partner acts as the link between the Managing Authority and the project partners.


For further explanation, refer to the 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, the partners in the application shall cover a minimum of 7 countries. You can nevertheless have 2 partners from a same country.

This means that it is possible, but it is a question of relevance of partners, rationale and added-value of the proposed partnership (why it makes sense? how it responds to specific needs and policy challenge addressed by the network? etc.). It shall be duly justified and clearly explained in the application; 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 8-10 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 to co-produce an Integrated Action Plan (final local output) 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 70% balance of cities from EU regions is necessary as follows:

  • a minimum of 6 cities from Less Developed and Transition regions where the total number of partner cities is 8 to 9 partners.
  • a minimum of 7 cities from Less Developed and Transition regions where the total number of partner cities is 10 partners.


In case of partners from Norway, Switzerland or IPA countries, they should not be counted in that balance. For example, for a partnership with a total number of 10 partners including 1 city from an IPA country, the balance will apply on the total number of 9 partners from EU regions.

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.

Transnational partnerships are cornerstones of URBACT Action Planning 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 8 and 10 candidate partners including the Lead Partner
  • the partners in the application shall cover a minimum of 7 countries
  • the proposed partnership shall respect the minimum 70% of partners 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, where cities willing to apply as Lead Partners can post their project idea and describe the profiles of partners needed to complete their partnerships. Cities willing to apply as partners can browse the different project ideas posted and contact the candidate Lead Partners or post the project idea they would like to apply for as Project partners to find a potential Lead Partner.


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 Terms of Reference for the call.




During their lifetime, approved Action Planning 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 and 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 “The time to join the URBACT pool of experts is (almost) here” article.


Over the network duration, in addition to the Lead Expert, at least 2 Ad-hoc Experts shall be appointed by each network to deliver specific services not provided by the Lead Expert.


No name of expert shall be provided at the application stage, but proposed use of URBACT Lead and Ad Hoc Experts shall be indicated, i.e. applicants shall identify the needs which the network expects to be fulfilled by the Lead and Ad-hoc Experts. Skills and capacities required by this expert should be listed.


A call for the validation of URBACT IV Experts will be launched in January 2023 and will remain open throughout the whole duration of the programme period (until 2027).


Interested people to either become a Lead or an Ad-hoc Expert will complete an application form and go through an extensive evaluation process, including an interview with assessors. The whole process can take up to 3 weeks. As individuals are validated, their profiles are added to the URBACT pool of Experts, where potential beneficiary cities can look for suitable candidates to follow their network journey or to complete their bid for an Action Planning Network.


Stay tuned for more! 



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.


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


Now, concerning the eligibility of costs during the project’s life, we invite you to read the 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 does not 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


The total budget for an Action Planning Network is EUR 850 000 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 144 500 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 850 000 is the maximum you can allocate. If your budget exceeds this sum, your network’s proposal will not be eligible and therefore won’t even be assessed.


The total budget of maximum EUR 850 000 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:

  • 80% ERDF for partners coming from a less developed region;
  • 70% ERDF for partners coming from a transition region;
  • 65% ERDF for cities coming from a more developed region;
  • up to 50% national fund for cities coming from Norway or Switzerland. Participants are asked to contact their national authority to receive information on the available funds under this call;
  • up to 95% IPA funds for partners coming from the 5 IPA countries – Albania, Bosnia-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.


Partners from other countries may participate in Action Planning 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.


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 and 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.).



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 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:


  • BUDGET TEMPLATE (see Documents section, on top of the page)
  • APPLICATION FORM OUTLINE (see Documents section, on top of the page)


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 31 March 2023, 15:00 pm (CET).


Note that a webinar will be specifically dedicated to last chance troubleshooting and application submission (especially in relation to SYNERGIE-CTE online application platform related questions) on 7 March 2023, 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!


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