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Call: Demonstrating innovative nature-based solutions in cities

Acronym H2020
Type of Fund Action programme
Description of programme
"Horizon 2020"
Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme with nearly 80 billion € of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020). Apart from classic research projects, Horizon 2020 also funds innovation projects and pilot-projects in different fields.
The programme is divided into three different sections:
  1. Excellent Science
  2. Industrial Leadership
  3. Societal Challenges
Link Link to Programme
Description of programme
"Cross-cutting Activities"

This work programme part contains the following cross-cutting calls:

  • Industry 2020 in the Circular Economy,
  • Internet of Things, and
  • Smart and Sustainable Cities.
Demonstrating innovative nature-based solutions in cities
Description of call
"Demonstrating innovative nature-based solutions in cities"

Mass urbanisation presents one of the most urgent challenges of the 21st century. Rapidly developing and changing industrial activities, uncontrolled urban sprawl, large, concentrated and often culturally diverse populations have created numerous complex social and health problems. Cities and urban communities have to cope with challenges related poor air quality, heat island effects, increased flood risks, increased frequency/severity of extreme events (floods, droughts, storms, heat waves, etc.), derelict industrial sites, disfunctioning urban areas, increased criminality, social exclusion, inequalities, marginalisation, poverty and degraded urban environments. These challenges have serious impacts on human health, quality of life, well-being and security of citizens, particularly among the less privileged social classes. Cities accounting for 72% of the European population are major contributors to climate change consuming 75% of global energy and emitting 80% of greenhouse gas generated by human activity. Growing urban populations, pollution and economic activities also place water resources under severe stress, exacerbating demand whilst affecting the quality and quantity of supply. Climate change mitigation and adaptation and the sustainable management of water resources are therefore key challenges for the cities in Europe and beyond. There is convincing but fragmented evidence that nature-based solutions can significantly enhance the climate and water resilience of cities. Furthermore nature-based solutions, by reshaping the built environment, can enhance the inclusivity, equitability and liveability of the cities, regenerate deprived districts, improve mental and physical health and quality of life for the citizens, reduce urban violence, and decrease social tensions through better social cohesion particularly for the most vulnerable groups e.g. children, elderly and people of low socioeconomic status. The challenge is therefore to provide a robust, EU-wide evidence base and develop a European reference framework on nature-based solutions for regional and local city authorities, communities, enterprises and other stakeholders about the benefits, co-benefits, cost-effectiveness and economic viability of these solutions to enhance on the one hand climate and water resilience in cities and on the other hand to address inclusive urban regeneration in cities and thus promote their large scale deployment and the creation of a global market. 

Link Link to Call
Thematic Focus Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, Research & Innovation, Technology Transfer & Exchange, Urban development, Climate, Climate Change, Environment & Biodiversity
Funding area EU Member States
Candidate Countries
Iceland / Ísland
Norway / Norge
Switzerland / Schweiz / Suisse / Svizzera
Origin of Applicant EU Member States

Albania / Shqipëria
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Iceland / Ísland
Montenegro / Crna Gora/Црна Гора
North Macedonia / Северна Македонија
Norway / Norge
Serbia / Сpбија
Switzerland / Schweiz / Suisse / Svizzera
Turkey / Türkiye
Ukraine / Україна Oukraïna
Eligible applicants Federal State / Region / City / Municipality / Local Authority
Project Partner Yes
Recurring Call No
Further info

Each project shall involve at least 2 'front-runner' cities and 3 'follower' cities, as defined in the topic text, from different Member States and/or Associated Countries, due to the nature and objectives of the action and in order to maximise benefits at EU level

Financial details

As illustrated by proposals responding to the call for ideas, the Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of at least EUR 10 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Contact Details

Policy Analyst

Link to the National Contact Point Finder.

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