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ERA-NET Cofund Smart Urban Futures

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - ENSUF (ERA-NET Cofund Smart Urban Futures)

Reporting period: 2019-05-01 to 2021-10-31

The ERA-NET Co-fund Smart Urban Futures (ENSUF), supported by the Joint Programming Initiative Urban Europe, has called for European research and innovation projects that operationalise and translate a framework of three main elements, to launch a joint response to the implementation gap in sustainable urban development. The three main elements to be operationalised in projects are transdisciplinary co-creation in research and innovation, smart integrated urban development and utilising the spatial dimensions and processes of urban areas.

Each call topic (1. Concepts and strategies for smart urban transformation, growth and shrinkage; 2. New dynamics of public services; 3. Inclusive, vibrant and accessible urban communities) has the potential to be examined at multiple scales, and to be valuable to a range of research and innovation projects and partners. The topics address areas where there is a clearly identified implementation gap between the existing knowledge or urban governance methods, technologies and best practices, and the capability to deliver and implement these developments to drive sustainable urban development, with EU comparative and EU-forward-looking dimensions.

The overall objective of ENSUF, building upon the JPI Urban Europe SRIA, is to bridge the implementation gap in urban sustainable development. There is a disconnection between the knowledge that exists in the research community and the use of this knowledge in practice. Furthermore there is a disconnection between the different ‘silos’ in which both cities and researchers often approach urban problems. The complex urban setting requires a more holistic and systemic approach to achieve sustainable urban development and to investigate ways of understanding and managing this complexity. Bridging this implementation gap will require co-creative, transdisciplinary, interdisciplinary, and cross-sectorial research and innovation in order to provide new insights on European urban dynamics and the implementation of urban innovations and best practice across Europe. This will be done by testing, analysing and optimising innovative urban ideas and strategies to answer the economic, social, cultural and environmental needs of citizens in a sustainable way.
The activities of the ERA-NET Smart Urban Futures are split into the following five distinct work packages. Below is given a summary of the work done in each work package:

- WP1: Coordination & Consortium Management

NWO as coordinator has worked closely together with the consortium on the tasks that were due during the second reporting period, kept the overall planning, kept good relations with the EC, and took care of the transfer of payments to consortium partners after the second pre-financing instalment was transferred to NWO by the European Commission. The deliverables have been submitted, and the report was submitted in time.

- WP2: Preparation, Launch and Operative Management of Co-Funded Call

The lead of this workpackage is FFG. The main tasks have been performed over the first reporting period. During this second reporting period the work performed within this WP was the managing of contracts between project partners; funding agencies were kept updated on the progress. Furthermore a lessons learned report on the call evaluation process has been established in cooperation with FORMAS.

- WP3: Evaluation and Proposal Selection for Co-Funded Call

The lead of this workpackage is FORMAS. The work in this work package had been performed during the first reporting period. During the second reporting the lessons learned report on the call evaluation process has been established in cooperation with FFG.

- WP4: Follow-up & Monitoring of Projects

This work package is led by UEFISCDI. The development of the monitoring tool has been shifted to JPI Urban Europe level because it is not only relevant for ENSUF, but for JPI Urban Europe as a whole. Over the past two years workshops have been held (within ENSCC and CSA EXPAND) to develop indicators for this monitoring tool. Currently the tool is under development at FFG. This tool of course respects appropriate and secure use of material, and data will be shared according to the application of common standards, following the guidelines on data management in Horizon2020. The work performed by UEFISCDI during this reporting period is to be active as a task force member on the development of the monitoring tool, and to collect all necessary data on the ENSUF programme as input for the monitoring tool. Already during the first reporting period policy officers of participating funding agencies were assigned as observer to one of the 15 ENSUF projects. Within the second reporting period, the observers have read the progress reports of the projects and submitted an observer report to UEFISCDI and the coordinator. These reports have – combined with the progress reports – lead to the report on deliverable 4.1 on the progress of the ENSUF projects.

- WP5: Communication, Exploitation, Dissemination

This work package is led by VINNOVA. During the second reporting period the ENSUF kick-off event was organised in May 31, 2017 back-to-back with the JPI Urban Europe policy conference and the JPI Urban Europe stakeholder cities day organised on May 29 and 30 taking place in Brussels. For this event posters were printed for all ENSUF events and ENSUF projects were included in the projects catalogue issued in time for the events. Results from ENSUF projects have been regularly uploaded at the JPI Urban Europe website, and ENSUF project partners have been invited to activities organised by JPI Urban Europe, including the Urban Transition Pathway Symposium in October 2018. The ENSUF project “Urban Manufacture” has been featured in a video produced by JPI Urban Europe video team and the coordinator from the same project was invited to speak at the kick-off of another JPI Urban Europe call taking place in Brussels in February 2019. The ENSUF mid-term event is organised back-to-back with the kick-off of the JPI Urban Europe Sustainable and Liveable Cities and Urban Areas projects. This actual event took place in May 2019, and thus not in this reporting period. Furthermore the Deliverable 5.1 includes the full communication and dissemination plan and has been updated within this second reporting period.
The ENSUF call has produced 15 projects which are currently working together with researchers, business and practitioners towards more sustainable and liveable urban areas. Furthermore the ENSUF call has successfully build on the experience of the agencies within JPI Urban Europe on how to set-up and fund transdisciplinary and co-creative research. The yearly projects meeting organised by JPI Urban Europe, and the Agora stakeholder platform are an additional facility for the ENSUF projects to share knowledge, best practices, and to connect with relevant stakeholders and actors in order to position their research beyond their own research project community. The exploitable results within the ENSUF programme are the results of the 15 funded projects. Whenever scientifically relevant data is generated, the projects are obliged to publish this – and if possible – through open access. Most projects have a project website were the information is easily to be found.