Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : Visionary and integrated solutions to improve well-being and health in cities

Topic identifier: SC5-14-2019
Publication date: 27 October 2017

Types of action: IA Innovation action
Planned opening date:
14 November 2018
2nd stage Deadline:
19 February 2019 17:00:00
04 September 2019 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Societal Challenges
Work Programme Year: H2020-2018-2020
Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

It is estimated that by 2050 up to 70% of the world’s population will be living in urban areas. Urbanisation affects human health and well-being through factors such as exposure to pollutants, including noise, disasters, stressors and diseases, urban density, lack of physical activity, degraded ecosystems and erosion of natural capital, which can be exacerbated by climate change. As acknowledge by the Habitat III New Urban Agenda, public spaces play a crucial role in urban interaction and systemic urban innovation and they need to be designed and managed sustainably and equitably to ensure that the way citizens produce, consume, commute and interact within the urban fabric has a positive impact on their health and quality of life, enhances resilience to disasters and climate change and reduces the environmental footprint of the cities. The systemic integration of social, cultural, digital and nature-based innovation in the design, development and governance of public space has a tremendous potential to transform these spaces into diverse, accessible, safe, inclusive and high quality green areas that increase well-being and health and deliver a fair and equitable distribution of the associated benefits.


Actions should deliver visionary and integrated solutions (e.g. therapy gardens, urban living rooms, creative streets, city farms) at the intersection of social, cultural, digital and nature-based innovation to increase citizens' health and well-being in cities[1]. These solutions should address social, cultural, economic and environmental determinants of health and well-being and support urban communities in reducing their exposure to climate-related risks, pollution (including noise), environmental stress and social tensions, including the negative effects of gentrification.

Actions should also demonstrate how the integration of these solutions into innovative land-use management, urban design and planning could reduce health-related environmental burdens in socially deprived neighbourhoods, foster equitable access for all to public spaces, enhance their quality and use and promote sustainable urban mobility patterns.

Actions should test new transition management approaches, governance models, legal frameworks and financing mechanisms to re-design public spaces and urban commons and assess their contribution to improving health and well-being. They should promote multi-stakeholder initiatives, citizens' engagement, co-creation and co-ownership of public spaces. Optimal and cost-effective use of behavioural games, networks of sensors, GIS-mapping, big data, observational programmes such as Copernicus and GEOSS, and citizens' observatories should be made as appropriate to enable the integration and visualisation of data for more effective monitoring of the transition towards healthier and happier cities.

The involvement of social sciences and humanities disciplines such as psychology, behavioural science, economics, law, anthropology, sociology, architecture, or design studies, is considered essential to enhance social learning and promote the role of social and cultural innovation in transforming public spaces, with particular attention devoted to gender dynamics and diversity.

To enhance the impact and promote upscaling and replication of these solutions, projects should engage in substantial networking and training actions to disseminate their experience, knowledge and deployment practices to other cities beyond the consortium. To enhance impact cooperation and synergies with the activities undertaken within the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy initiative and its regional components[2] (supported by the EC) should be sought where appropriate.

Furthermore, actions should envisage resources for clustering with other ongoing and future projects on sustainable cities through nature-based solutions funded under the 'Smart and Sustainable Cities' call in part 17 of the 2016-2017 Work Programme as well as relevant projects to be funded under topics SC5-20-2019 and CE-SC5-03-2018 of this Work Programme. Cooperation with relevant actions funded under the Horizon 2020 Societal challenge 6 topic 'TRANSFORMATIONS-03-2018-2019: Innovative solutions for inclusive and sustainable urban environments' should also be sought as appropriate.

Funded projects are expected to establish long-term sustainable data platforms securing open, consistent data about the impacts of the deployed approaches and ensure interoperability with other relevant data infrastructures for effective communication, public consultation, exchange of practices, and sharing of experiences.

Proposals should pay attention to the special call conditions for this topic.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU in the range of EUR 10 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:

The project results are expected to contribute to:

  • high quality, multifunctional, public spaces able to integrate digital, social, cultural and nature-based innovation to enhance health and well-being, while ensuring 'the right to the city' as specified in the Habitat III New Urban Agenda;
  • European cities being world ambassadors of sustainable lifestyles, providing universal access to greener, safe, inclusive and accessible public spaces, also accounting for the gender dimension;
  • participatory approaches in re-designing and transforming public spaces to increase health and well-being in cities through innovative public-private-people partnerships (PPPPs);
  • more comprehensive assessment of the sustainability and resilience of cities through the development of health and well-being indicators;
  • establishing innovative monitoring systems to measure benefits and capture the multiple co-benefits created by nature-based solutions in terms of health and well-being.
Cross-cutting Priorities:

Socio-economic science and humanities
Open Innovation
Open Science

[1]For the purposes of this topic, the definition of a 'city' is to be understood according to the harmonised definition of a city established by the OECD and the European Commission, which can be found at:

[2]EU Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy:; Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy:

Topic conditions and documents

1. Eligible countries: described in Annex A of the Work Programme.
A number of non-EU/non-Associated Countries that are not automatically eligible for funding have made specific provisions for making funding available for their participants in Horizon 2020 projects. See the information in the Online Manual.

2. Eligibility and admissibility conditions: described in Annex B and Annex C of the Work Programme.

Specific eligibility and admissibility conditions apply to this topic:

To ensure coverage of geographic, socio-economic and cultural diversity across the EU, consortia must comprise at least 4 cities from different Member States or Associated Countries that are committed to implement the proposed innovative solutions during the project and to assess their impacts and cost-efficiency in improving health and well-being in the cities.

Proposal page limits and layout: please refer to Part B of the proposal template in the submission system below.

3. Evaluation:

  • Evaluation criteria, scoring and thresholds are described in Annex H of the Work Programme.
  • Submission and evaluation processes are described in the Online Manual.

4. Indicative time for evaluation and grant agreements:

Information on the outcome of evaluation (two-stage call):
For stage 1: maximum 3 months from the deadline for submission.
For stage 2: maximum 5 months from the deadline for submission.
Signature of grant agreements: maximum 8 months from the deadline for submission.

5. Proposal templates, evaluation forms and model grant agreements (MGA):

Innovation Action:

Specific provisions and funding rates
Proposal templates are available after entering the submission link below.
Standard evaluation form
General MGA - Multi-Beneficiary
Annotated Grant Agreement

6. Additional provisions:

Horizon 2020 budget flexibility
Classified information
Technology readiness levels (TRL) – where a topic description refers to TRL, these definitions apply

Specific Grant conditions apply to this topic:

As an exception from General Annex D for grants awarded under this topic and type of action, funding rate of construction and installation of the nature-based solutions and other infrastructure-targeted investments is 20% of the eligible costs. Beneficiaries’ own resources and/or mobilisation and leverage of additional investments beyond Horizon 2020, whether private or public, should make up the remaining investment costs and should secure economic and financial sustainability for the execution of the project.

Members of consortium are required to conclude a consortium agreement, in principle prior to the signature of the grant agreement.

7. Open access must be granted to all scientific publications resulting from Horizon 2020 actions.

Where relevant, proposals should also provide information on how the participants will manage the research data generated and/or collected during the project, such as details on what types of data the project will generate, whether and how this data will be exploited or made accessible for verification and re-use, and how it will be curated and preserved.

Open access to research data
The Open Research Data Pilot has been extended to cover all Horizon 2020 topics for which the submission is opened on 26 July 2016 or later. Projects funded under this topic will therefore by default provide open access to the research data they generate, except if they decide to opt-out under the conditions described in Annex L of the Work Programme. Projects can opt-out at any stage, that is both before and after the grant signature.

Note that the evaluation phase proposals will not be evaluated more favourably because they plan to open or share their data, and will not be penalised for opting out.

Open research data sharing applies to the data needed to validate the results presented in scientific publications. Additionally, projects can choose to make other data available open access and need to describe their approach in a Data Management Plan.

Projects need to create a Data Management Plan (DMP), except if they opt-out of making their research data open access. A first version of the DMP must be provided as an early deliverable within six months of the project and should be updated during the project as appropriate. The Commission already provides guidance documents, including a template for DMPs. See the Online Manual.

Eligibility of costs: costs related to data management and data sharing are eligible for reimbursement during the project duration.

The legal requirements for projects participating in this pilot are in the article 29.3 of the Model Grant Agreement.

8. Additional documents:

1. Introduction WP 2018-20
12. Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials WP 2018-20
18. Dissemination, Exploitation and Evaluation WP 2018-20

General annexes to the Work Programme 2018-2020

Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Regulation of Establishment
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Specific Programme

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