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EXPAND - enhancing co-creation in JPI Urban Europe through widening Member State and stakeholder participation

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - EXPAND (EXPAND - enhancing co-creation in JPI Urban Europe through widening Member State and stakeholder participation)

Reporting period: 2018-03-01 to 2019-02-28

EXPAND has supported the implementation of the JPI Urban Europe Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA) especially by (1) mobilising Widening countries and (2) involving cities and civil society and (3) developing and piloting innovative concepts and methods that go beyond state of the art.

Since state of the art activities to support urban transformation to sustainable and liveable futures show that a broad commitment and co-creation among a diverse set of actors is required, the identified challenge to be tackled by EXPAND is widening in terms of member countries and their commitments, but also in terms of stakeholder involvement in different kinds of activities. The development and implementation of new instruments and framework conditions was necessary to ensure a stronger involvement, stimulate co-creation and help to align European, national and local research and innovation actions.

Specifically, the work performed in EXPAND has answered to a clear requirement to leave business-as-usual and embark on more innovative approaches, by launching cutting edge pilots and testing on programme management, communication approaches, networking activities, integrated alignment actions, new instruments for urban research and innovation support, and evaluation. The conceptual reference frame that was developed under this approach is the AGORA – JPI Urban Europe Stakeholder Involvement Platform.
EXPAND has successfully met its objectives. Early on in the project, meeting its first objective, JPI UE ‘expanded’ its network by welcoming Latvia as official new member. Strategic discussions with other Widening Countries have continued and resulted in observer status, participation in new activities within the JPI as well as the follow-up EXPAND II.

The second objective was strengthening capacities for SRIA implementation in line with the activities of the Management Board. During the project, with the AGORA a robust model for stakeholder involvement was developed which includes different formats to allow both discussions and exchange on broad strategic and dedicated thematic topics.

Another objective was to develop an internationalization strategy to prioritize and focus future outreach activities with the aim to position JPI UE as the gateway to urban research and innovation in Europe. An internationalization framework and strategy was developed, and the establishment of relations and new international activities is ongoing.

Within EXPAND it was also aimed to develop communication and dissemination concepts and approaches to address specific target groups. The communication and dissemination strategy was updated and implemented. In addition to the JPI’s regular communication and dissemination activities, the website was transformed, the webinar series “Urban Lunch Talks” was launched, and two JPI UE Policy Conferences were organized in Brussels.

Another aim is to develop new instruments and concepts for realizing transdisciplinary research, overcoming the implementation gap by connecting science and policy, and supporting co-creation initiatives. To this end, a new instrument has been set up aimed at innovative and implementation-oriented projects: Making Cities Work. Furthermore, sessions on urban living labs were organised, resulting in a paper on ‘Urban data labs – recommendations for Urban Europe’.
EXPAND also aimed to provide a platform for European capacity building and programme management, with specific attention to support WC to improve research and innovation performance and increase participation. In order to achieve the first objective a workshop series of in total three workshops was organized and for each event, specific attention was paid to participation and knowledge sharing from WC.

Following from to the conceptual framework for the JPI UE alignment strategy developed within BOOST (EXPAND’s predecessor), EXPAND aimed to investigate different forms of alignment for urban policies, programmes, institutions and research infrastructures. To take the step from theory to practice, the Joint Solutions Framework has been created to promote joint solutions among different stakeholder types. As structural funds directly address regions and cities it was aimed to identify the synergetic potential of connecting ESIF to JPI UE. To this end, a format was developed for analysing the national context and preparing national workshops with regions, national programmes and municipalities. Additionally, capacity building and transnational cooperation of research organisations was supported, among others, through a summer school on smart and sustainable cities in Newcastle, networking activities of the Urban Europe Research Alliance and a mapping of urban research infrastructures in Europe.
The AGORA was set up and continues to grow. This platform is a space in which urban actors meet and discuss current themes and priorities of sustainable urban development. AGORA events offer room for all stakeholder groups to express their needs, exchange about their experiences and define joint actions. During EXPAND, it was instrumental in developing the JPI UE SRIA 2.0 through the AGORA Public Consultation and the AGORA Strategic Dialogue in Bucharest. Many other workshops and platform events were organized, which have gained a growing interest from stakeholders throughout Europe.

Besides the wider scope of the AGORA, particular emphasis was given to the requirements and urban situations of WC. Missions to selected WC were performed to identify potentials and conditions for joining the JPI UE network.

For the full implementation of the SRIA a new set of instruments is needed. The ‘Making Cities Work’ call was launched, where municipalities, businesses, researchers, civil society and other stakeholders were invited to build transnational consortia to create challenge-driven innovation projects for European urban areas that have the potential to result in commercially successful services and products. In order to achieve this, cities and other problem owners were invited to express their R&I needs for designing the call topics.

JPI UE has the ambition to provide scientific evidence for urban policy and decision makers. This evidence is mainly provided by funded research projects. At the same time innovative dissemination and communication measures are needed to make such results easily accessible and applicable for policy and decision makers. EXPAND contributed to develop and test such formats, through webinars, coaching of projects or support to develop policy briefs.

JPI UE supported the European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities Action Cluster “Integrated urban planning” with the particular focus on “scaling up and replication of smart city plans”. Furthermore, The Urban Agenda for the EU is one of the main references for driving sustainable urban development. During the preparatory process of the Pact of Amsterdam, a reference was made to the importance of the JPI UE and its scientific work and innovative solutions developed in view of using them to promote and exchange evidence-based proposals for urban policy. With the portfolio of projects now in place and results available, concrete contributions from JPI UE to the Urban Agenda and the Partnerships are possible. In support of this a mapping was performed of JPI UE projects to the UAEU partnerships and a cooperation with some of the partnerships started.
Urban Environmental Resilience