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Urban Issues at stake

Under the series of themes in the menu, you will find an inventory of the various programmes and initiatives which are funded by the European Commission and which have an urban dimension. A link to the relevant web addresses on Europa or beyond is provided under each entry. In addition, some recommended links are provided to European associations or research consortia.

Innovative cities

Smart Cities and Communities European Innovation Partnership

The European Commission’s Smart Cities and Communities European Innovation Partnership draws together the areas of energy, transport and digital communication in order to strengthen EU-level action in support of sustainable urban development. The EU will finance this Partnership mainly through the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, alongside other EU, national and regional funding, and private investment.

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The prize for the European Capital of Innovation "iCapital"

The Commission launched in September 2013 a search for the first European Capital of Innovation, or iCapital. The prize will reward the city which is building the best “innovation ecosystem”, connecting citizens, public organisations, academia, and business. Cities will be judged both on initiatives and achievements until now, as well as their future ideas to enhance innovative capacity. An independent panel of experts will select the winner in spring 2014, with the city chosen receiving €500000 towards scaling up its efforts.

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Green Digital Charter

The Green Digital Charter is a declaration committing cities to work together in tackling climate change through the use of digital technologies in cities. This includes encouraging them to reduce the carbon footprint of their information and communication technologies (ICT) and to roll out ICT solutions which lead to more energy efficiency in areas such as buildings, transport and energy. The initiative is supported by the European Commission, which has funded the FP7 project NiCE - Networking intelligent Cities for Energy Efficiency - to support cities in attaining their Green Digital Charter goals. The Charter is open to local authorities regardless of the stage of implementation of their energy and climate policies. By March 2013, 35 cities from 14 European countries had signed the Green Digital Charter.

Urban-related research & innovation

Urban-related research and innovation on energy

EU research and innovation in this field has focused, amongst other things, on smart cities and communities: an initiative of note is the European Energy Research Alliance’s Joint Programme on Smart Cities that coordinates research actions among the participating countries and focuses on energy efficiency and the integration of renewable energy sources within urban areas. The new EU framework programme for research and innovation, Horizon 2020, will support action in this field under the 'Tackling Societal Challenges' pillar.

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Urban-related research and innovation on transport/mobility

R&I has contributed, inter alia, to mobility issues in urban areas (take-up of transport innovation in urban and regional transport, automated urban vehicles, accessibility of transport systems,innovative design and operation of new or upgraded efficient urban transport interchanges and coordinating innovation for efficient bus systems in the urban environment). Under Horizon 2020, relevant R&I may be supported under the Societal Challenge on Smart, green and integrated transport.

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Urban-related R&I on health

EU research and innovation in this field has focused on health issues in urban environments, health indicators and the related analysis for policy-making, in order to advance our understanding of health trends in societies and to improve knowledge of how to tackle health inequalities.

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Research in regional clusters

EU research and innovation has supported, amongst other things, the development of regional research-driven clusters, consisting of research bodies, businesses and public authorities, working together to achieve common goals. Further projects address cities and urban development (for example, REDICT, WASTEKIT, THE ISSUE).

EU Regional Policy: Stay informed