Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Specific challenge: The growing waste produced in Europe, particularly in urban areas, where the vast majority of the world population are expected to live by 2050, represents a cost for society and a burden on the environment and, at the same time, a valuable stock of resources that can be exploited.

Boosting eco-innovative solutions to prevent waste generation and promote the use of waste as a resource, in line with the objectives of the EU Resource Efficiency Roadmap[1] and the Waste Framework Directive[2], can enhance the natural and living environment in urban and peri-urban areas. Developing and demonstrating such solutions in real-life environments will enhance their market uptake and contribute to sustainable urbanisation worldwide.

Cities are more than spatially extended material artefacts; they are complex systems similar to living organisms that use energy, air, water and nutrients and need to dispose waste in a sustainable way. Adopting an urban metabolism perspective opens the way for innovative, systemic approaches, involving the analysis of resource flows within cities. Integrating in this way economic, social and environmental dynamics, it is possible to understand the socio-economically and gender nuanced patterns of resource use and consumption, and pinpoint drivers of waste-avoiding behaviour, manufacturing and business and public governance models.

Scope: Proposals should adopt an integrated urban metabolism approach and inter-disciplinary research and innovation and take into account the gender dimension where relevant. Proposals should involve active engagement of local authorities, citizens and other relevant stakeholders, using innovative concepts such as mobilisation and mutual learning[3].

Proposals shall address the following issue:

Eco-innovative strategies: Development of innovative and sustainable strategies for waste prevention and management in urban and peri-urban areas. Proposals should highlight how urban patterns, drivers, consumer behaviour, lifestyles, culture, architecture and socio-economic issues can influence the metabolism of cities. Proposals should highlight the possible benefits to be derived from ecosystems services and green infrastructure, and their gender sensitive application.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 4 and 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: Significant measurable improvements in the state of the art in waste management in urban and peri-urban areas, and in the operationalisation of the urban metabolism approach for sustainable urban development and reduction of negative environmental impacts (e.g. health) in cities. Contribution, over the long term, to the establishment of European research and innovation leadership in urban waste management and prevention.

In addition, the following specific impacts are expected:

Demonstrable improvement in the short/medium term in the participatory and science-based decision-making and planning for waste management, risk prevention and land-use as an integral part of urban development. Collectively-built, gender-sensitive solutions to promote eco-innovative urban management and re-naturing cities, measurable by qualitative and quantitative indicators. Significant increased competitiveness of soil-ecology-construction-waste treatment-related industries. In the long term, enhanced environmental resilience in urban areas and quality of life both in Europe and internationally.

Type of action: Research and innovation actions


[1]     COM(2011) 571

[2]     Directive 2008/98/EC


Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top