Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : Strengthening international cooperation on sustainable urbanisation: nature-based solutions for restoration and rehabilitation of urban ecosystems

Topic identifier: SC5-13-2018-2019
Publication date: 27 October 2017

Types of action: RIA Research and Innovation action
Opening date:
14 November 2018
2nd stage Deadline:
19 February 2019 17:00:00
04 September 2019 17:00:00

Types of action: RIA Research and Innovation action
Opening date:
07 November 2017
2nd stage Deadline:
27 February 2018 17:00:00
04 September 2018 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Societal Challenges
Work Programme Year: H2020-2018-2020
Topic Updates
  • 20 February 2018 15:50

    Please find here the published FAQs.

  • 07 February 2018 15:00

    The page limit for a first stage proposal is 10 pages, including the cover page. You may remove the page break in that page so as to start drafting your proposal therein.

Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

Unsustainable, non-resilient urbanisation patterns, the expansion or neglect of urban areas have caused the fragmentation, depletion and destruction of habitats, biodiversity loss and the degradation of ecosystems and their services. Increasing connectivity between existing, modified and new ecosystems and restoring and rehabilitating them within cities and at the urban-rural interface through nature-based solutions[1], is necessary to enhance ecosystem resilience and adaptive capacity to cope with the effects of climate and global changes and to enable ecosystems to deliver their services for more liveable, healthier and resilient cities.


Actions should develop models, tools, decision support systems, methodologies, strategies, guidelines, standards and approaches for the design, construction, deployment and monitoring of nature-based solutions and restoration, prevention of further degradation, rehabilitation and maintenance measures for urban and peri-urban ecosystems and the ecological coherence and integrity of cities. Actions should review and capitalise upon existing experiences and good practices in Europe and (for option a) China or (for option b) CELAC. The strategies and tools should be part of an integrated and ecologically coherent urban planning and city-making process that would secure a fair and equitable distribution of benefits from the restored urban ecology and limit its exposure to environmental stresses. Methodologies, schemes and indicators should be developed to allow for the assessment of the cost-effectiveness of the restoration measures, also accounting for their possible negative effects. They should account for the totality of the benefits delivered by the restored ecosystems in terms of, for example, enhancing cities’ climate-proofing and resilience, enhancing mitigation options, improving human health and well-being, reducing inequalities and reducing cities’ environmental footprint. Actions should also dedicate efforts to awareness raising, outreach activities and education of citizens, including school children about the benefits of nature for their social, economic and cultural well-being.

Actions should bring together European and – depending on the option chosen – Chinese or CELAC research partners, government agencies and urban authorities, private sector and civil society with relevant expertise and competence and foster participatory engagement in urban ecological restoration actions. Further to the eligibility and admissibility conditions applicable to this topic, proposals are encouraged to ensure, to the extent possible, an appropriate balance in terms of effort and/or number of partners between the EU and the international partners, which would correspond to their respective ambition, objectives and envisaged work. This would enhance the impact of the actions and the mutual benefits for both the EU and the international partners.

In line with the strategy for EU international cooperation in research and innovation (COM(2012)497), international cooperation is encouraged. Proposals should pay attention to the special call conditions for this topic.

To ensure that knowledge, evidence and capacity developed within the framework of this topic covers an as broad range of conditions and urban contexts as possible across Europe, urban and peri-urban areas and ecosystems funded through projects under sub-topic a) are not invited to sub-topic b). Exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis, provided that applicants can duly and convincingly justify the added value – in terms of additional knowledge, evidence and capacity regarding nature-based solutions for restoration and rehabilitation of urban ecosystems – of addressing the same area(s) under sub-topic b) in addition to them being covered through a project funded under sub-topic a). The appropriate use of Horizon 2020 resources in funding such cases will be assessed during the evaluations and the potential granting process.

The participation of social sciences and humanities disciplines, addressing also the gender dimension, is crucial to properly address this topic. Cooperation and synergies with the activities undertaken within the Covenant of Mayors initiative for Climate and Energy[2] initiative (supported by the EC) should be sought where appropriate.

Actions should address only one of the following sub-topics:

a) Strengthening EU-China collaboration (2018)

This topic is part of the EU-China flagship initiative on Environment and Sustainable Urbanisation which aims at promoting substantial coordinated and balanced research and innovation cooperation between the EU and China.

China-based participants have the possibility to apply for funding under the Chinese co-funding mechanism and other Chinese sources[3].

b) Strengthening EU-CELAC collaboration (2019)

The possibility for participants from some CELAC countries to apply for funding under national co-funding mechanism should be explored[3].

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU in the range of EUR 5 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:

  • restored and functioning urban ecosystems with an enhanced capacity to deliver their services;
  • making a business and investment case for nature-based solutions on the basis of increased evidence about the positive and negative impacts from restored urban ecosystems with regards to urban liveability, climate change resilience, social inclusion, urban regeneration, public health and well-being;
  • guidelines for cost effective urban ecosystem restoration and ecological rehabilitation measures and new planning approaches and methods.
Cross-cutting Priorities:

International cooperation
Open Innovation
Socio-economic science and humanities
Clean Energy

[1]A definition is provided in the introductory text of this Work Programme




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 the sub-topics of this topic:

In addition to the minimum number of participants set out in the General Annexes, proposals addressing sub-topic a) shall include at least three participants from China and proposals addressing sub-topic b) shall include at least three participants from CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) countries.

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):

Research and 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

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

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.

Additional documents

  • Call Update-Call Results en
  • Generalised feedback after stage 1_SC5-13-2018-2019 en

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Submission Service

To access the Electronic Sumission Service, please click on the submission-button next to the type of action that corresponds to your proposal. You will then be asked to confirm your choice of the type of action and topic, as these cannot be changed in the submission system. Upon confirmation, you will be linked to the correct entry point.

To access existing draft proposals for this topic, please login to the Participant Portal and select the My Proposals page of the My Area section.

Type of Action Research and Innovation action [RIA]
Topic Strengthening international cooperation on sustainable urbanisation: nature-based solutions for restoration and rehabilitation of urban ecosystems - SC5-13-2018-2019
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