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ERA-NET Smart Cities and Communities

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ENSCC (ERA-NET Smart Cities and Communities)

Reporting period: 2014-12-01 to 2016-02-29

"The main objective of this ERA-NET is to stimulate successful practice and facilitate replicability in the field of Smart Cities and Communities. The topic of Smart Cities and Communities was identified as key to achieving the energy efficiency targets for 2020 and 2050. Through a transnational joint call for proposals, ERA-NET Smart Cities and Communities aims to create projects, which demonstrate, or at least constitute a decisive step towards the implementation of tangible solutions. The goal is to…
(1) help cities deal with uncertainties arising from a long time horizon,
(2) monitor ongoing experiences and implement change in ongoing implementation projects, when necessary, and
(3) avoid pitfalls and facilitate collective learning of stakeholders.

Besides the joint call, the ERA-NET is conducting two additional activities: (A) to work towards a joint call with China and (B) to work towards the alignment of national R&D funding with nationally or regionally operated Structural Funds.
(A): A structured and systematic exchange with China on smart city research is currently under way, making highest use of existing relations, activities and experience of European Funding Agencies with Chinese partners with the goal of developing a joint call of interested countries with China. Beneficiaries of this call (mainly research organisations and companies) would be given a good starting position for further research and development projects.
(B) The realisation of smart cities measures requires large investment volumes. This requires the combination and clustering of different financing instruments. In line with the new ""smart specialization"" strategy of the EC, the proposed additional activities should encourage and enable Member States, regions and their Managing Authorities of ESIF operational programmes, to work towards the alignment of their national R&D funding schemes with available European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), addressing in particular ERDF, but also ESF resources.

During the first year of the ERA-NET Smart Cities and Communities, a joint call for proposals was prepared by the consortium (18 ministries and regional/national funding agencies representing 12 European countries), and published on December 2014. The two-step call procedure resulted in the submission of 79 pre-proposals and 31 full proposals. The evaluation conducted by a panel of independent experts recommended 17 proposals for funding. The whole process was supported by a communication and dissemination strategy that was elaborated within WP5 to gain attention for the call, raise awareness and – once the funding contracts had been established - promote the funded projects and their outcomes.

In case of the additional activities organised in WP6 (Towards a Joint Call with China, a communication and exploration process towards a joint call with China was established. During the reporting period, several journeys to China were completed, with the aim of introducing the Joint Programming Initiative Urban Europe (JPI UE) in China as well as exploring topical areas of common interest and potential cooperation between Europe and China. The positive outcome is that the Natural Science Foundation for China expressed their interest in jointly working on a mid-to long-term collaboration in RTI funding of projects related to urban technologies and sustainable urbanisation. In addition, the China Center for Urban Development seems to be interested in finalising and signing a memorandum of understanding on RTI collaboration with the JPI Urban Europe. Currently the consortium is preparing focused workshops with European and Chinese experts to find common ground for future joint activities.
ERA-NET Smart Cities and Communities (ENSCC) is a Horizon2020 project that aims to manage and implement a transnational joint call for RDI proposals addressing new solutions in the urban field, and demonstrating the feasibility of their implementation. As ENSCC is part of the first round of ERA-NET Co-Fund actions, the aim is to deepen the know-how of the consortium (mainly on the part of the JPI Urban Europe network, on how to run joint calls with a large group national funding agencies. The first project tasks were set to overcome the basic challenges in joint R&I funding and to identify thematic and organisational bottlenecks within the common initiative. In setting up a series of demonstration and implementation projects, ENSCC aims at creating a blueprint for smaller transnational projects, which should complement and valorise the current H2020 light-house projects and helping small and medium size cities to engage in trans-national actions..

ENSCC is relying on the long-term programme management framework established by JPI Urban Europe. This will enable solutions, which will aim at optimal energy and resource efficiency, preferably through the integration of technologies (energy, mobility, ICT) across the board, but also via the development and use of new business models and new methodologies in urban governance, and in explicitly aiming towards social cohesion, liveability, and sustainability.

The impact of the funded projects will create a broad variety of concepts, tools and demonstration activities from city planning to participatory energy management platforms.

The added value of alignment among the additional activities will be the preparation of a joint call with China, as well as the initialization of pilot actions to align national research activities with structural funds along the funding chain.
Participating Cities & Regions