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  1. An institution, body, office or agency established by or based on the Treaty on European Union and the Treaties establishing the European Communities.

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    A microenterprise, a small or medium-sized enterprise (business) as defined in EU Recommendation 2003/361. To qualify as an SME for EU funding, an enterprise must meet certain conditions, including (a) fewer than 250 employees and (b) an annual turnover not exceeding EUR 50 million and/or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding EUR 43 million. These ceilings apply only to the figures for individual companies.

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  1. Governance, partnership: Projects aimed at increasing the application of multilevel and transnational or cross-border governance, designing and testing appropriate governance structures and mechanisms. Also cooperation between public institutions on any theme.

    Innovation capacity and awareness-raising: Actions that increase a person’s or organisation’s capacity for innovation (not innovation as such), and that establish the capacity to diffuse and apply innovation; projects that stimulate innovation in different areas and innovation capacities; strengthening and empowering of innovation networks.

    Institutional cooperation and cooperation networks: Projects working on the improvement of institutional cross-border co-operation and capacities, on renewing and simplifying administrative management through long term cooperation between institutions (e.g. Euregion), on establishing and sharing regional knowledge and intercultural understanding and cohesion. It also deals with cooperations between universities, health care facilities, schools and sports organisations, as well as with management and capacity building.

    Activities focussing on agricultural products, organic farming, horticulture, as well as forest management and wood products; furthermore the development of the food sector, food chains, organic food production, and seafood products and any topics related to animals and fishing.

    Agriculture and fisheries and forestry: Projects focussing on agricultural products (i.e. fruits, meat, olives, etc.), organic farming, horticulture, as well as forest management and wood products. Also the development of the agro-food sector, food chains, organic food production, and seafood products. Any topics related to animals (i.e. health, management) and fishing (i.e. sustainable fishery, aquaculture).

    Soil and air quality: Projects that deal with any topic against soil and air pollution, except water pollution, for example, reduction of soil and air contamination, pollution-management systems, but also prevention and eradication of soil erosion, new ways of improving air quality (also indoors) and soil/air knowledge in general.

    Climate change and biodiversity projects assisting mitigation and adaption to climate change and environmental impacts of climate change. Development of low carbon technologies and strategies, reduction of CO2 emissions from all sectors. Promotion of biodiversity, new instruments to enhance biodiversity and natural protection.

    Soil and air quality projects that deal with any topic against soil and air pollution, except water pollution, for example, reduction of soil and air contamination, pollution-management systems, but also prevention and eradication of soil erosion, new ways of improving air quality (also indoors) and soil/air knowledge in general.

    Water management projects about management and distribution of drinking water, integrated sustainable water management, monitoring systems for water supply and improving drinking water quality; also water treatment (wastewater), in particular, innovative technologies to improve wastewater, treatments in the purification of industrial and domestic wastewater and water reuse policies. Waterways, lakes and rivers: This deals with any topics on waterways, lakes and rivers, from improving water quality, protecting and developing of ecosystems or sustainable wetland management.

    Activities that protect, promote and enhance cultural and natural heritage, increase the attractiveness through preservation and valorisation of common cultural and natural heritage in a sustainable manner, and improve and develop cultural and natural heritage objects, services and products. Cultural heritage management, art and culture, (maritime) heritage routes, access to cultural and natural heritage. Also all topics on cultural services such as festivals, concerts, art workshops.

    Cultural heritage and arts projects that protect, promote and enhance cultural and natural heritage, increase the attractiveness through preservation and valorisation of common cultural and natural heritage in a sustainable manner, and improve and develop cultural and natural heritage objects, services and products. Cultural heritage management, art and culture, (maritime) heritage routes, access to cultural and natural heritage. Also all topics on cultural services such as festivals, concerts, art workshops.

    Tourism projects dealing with the promotion of natural assets, and the protection and development of natural heritage, as well as increasing the touristic attractiveness through the better use of natural, cultural and historical heritage. Also projects about improved tourist services/products, development of ecotourism models, tourism development strategies.

    Sustainable management of natural resources projects focussing on the protection, promotion and valorization, and sustainable management and conservation of natural areas (habitats, geo parks, protected areas, etc.). Also projects focussing on preserving and enhancing cultural and natural heritage and landscape, as well as protecting the marine environment.

    Projects on waste management (innovative services and strategies), ecological waste treatment, treatment techniques/systems; waste disposal and recycling (improvement of recycling, innovative recycling technologies, recovery of organic waste, repair & re-use centres and networks); also prevention of pollution and pollution control (ecological and circular economy, marine littering, etc.).

    Labour market and employment: creating employment opportunities and/or optimising jobs, academic (un)employment and job mobility, workforce attraction and improvement of employment conditions for different groups.

    SME and entrepreneurship: strengthening SME capacities, boosting entrepreneurial activities in different sectors and for different groups, supporting social entrepreneurship, creating business support/advisory systems for start-ups/spin-offs/incubators, improving the competitiveness of SMEs, and promoting new business processes.

    Community integration and common identity projects that build identity, create a more cohesive society, promote positive relations through an increased provision of shared spaces and services.

    Demographic change and immigration is about projects tackling major societal challenges like demographic change in different areas and migration, in particular, aging society (active aging, best agers, silver economy strategies) and related new public services (adaptation of key services and infrastructure), social and spatial segregation, and brain drain. Also all topics on migration (policy tools, strategic planning, integration).

    All projects where ICT has a significant role, including tailor-made ICT solutions in different fields, as well as digital innovation hubs, open data, Internet of Things; ICT access and connecting (remote) areas with digital infrastructure and services; services and applications for citizens (e-health, e-government, e-learning, e-inclusion, etc.); services and applications for companies (e-commerce, networking, digital transformation, etc.).

    This is about the mitigation and management of risks and disasters, and the anticipation and response capacity towards the actors regarding specific risks and management of natural disasters, for example, prevention of flood and drought hazards, forest fire, strong weather conditions, etc.. It is also about risk assessment and safety.

    Education and training projects on expanding educational opportunities, reducing barriers in the field of education, improving higher education and lifelong learning, training and labour mobility, educational networks, higher vocational education, common learning programmes.

    Topics on energy management, energy-saving methods, evaluating energy efficiency measurements, energy rehabilitation/efficiency in buildings / public infrastructure, promotion of energy efficiency, cooperation among experienced energy efficiency firms, institutions and local administrations, co-generation.

    Projects focussing on wind, solar, biomass, hydroelectric, geothermal and other renewable energy, increasing the production of sustainable renewable energy and improving research capacities in biomass. Also projects focussing on storage and management of renewable energy, new technologies, sustainable regional bioenergy policies and financial Instruments for investments on renewable energy.

    Social projects concerning people with disabilities and excluded groups; enhancement of the capacity of children, young people, women and elderly; creation of infrastructure to improve access for disabled people, integration of socially vulnerable people; innovate in the care of victims of gender violence, social inclusion of women, etc.

    This deals with the development of health and social services and improved accessibility and efficiency for different groups (elderly, children, etc.). It is also about new healthcare models and medical diagnosis and treatments (dementia, cancer, diabetes, etc.), hospitals, care management, and rare diseases, as well as improving wellbeing and promoting sports.

    Projects about (organised) crime, efficient and secure borders, such as enhancing the effectiveness of the police in the prevention of drug crimes, the development of safety services, or tackling security and organised crime issues.

    Activities related to:

    • Transport and mobility covering all sorts of transport (incl. urban transport) and mobility.
    • Improving transport connections dealing with traffic and/or transport connections, rehabiliation/modernisation, better connectivity, improving accessibility/connections, but also public transport.
    • Multimodal transport and logistics and freight transport focusing on using different means of transport, developing multimodal connections, optimising intermodal transport chains; offering multimodal logistics solutions and providing access to clean, efficient and multimodal transport corridors and hubs; establishing cooperation among logistic centres and developing multimodal mobility strategies.

    Activities related to:

    • urban development, such as planning and design of cities and urban areas, urban renewal, urban-rural links (climate, sustainable mobility, water efficiency, participation, sustainable land use, smart cities, public urban areas, regeneration)
    • regional planning and development, such as the implementation of regional development policies/instruments and programmes, sustainable land use management plans, integrated regional action plans, spatial planning, and marine protected area management.
    • rural and peripheral development, referring to remote, sparsely populated areas, rural community development, and rural economics, in particular access to remote areas and policies for rural areas.
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Call key data

Call for Innovation Transfer Networks

Funding Program




20.03.2024 15:00

Estimated EU contribution per project

max. € 550,000.00

Link to the call

Link to the submission

Call content

short description

URBACT networks foster the exchange of experience and good practice across cities, building urban stakeholders’ capacity to develop efficient solutions. URBACT Innovation Transfer Networks (ITN) provide a framework for cities to adapt and prepare for the transfer of projects developed and implemented under the Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) initiative. In contrary to other types of URBACT networks, Innovation Transfer Networks will be formed along the topics of Urban Innovative Action projects that were implemented from 2016 to 2023. Cities that have implemented an UIA project will act as Lead Partners by default.

Call objectives

Innovation Transfer Networks have two principal objectives:

  • The first is to improve the capacity of cities to manage sustainable urban policies, and more specifically, to strengthen the design of integrated planning solutions. ITNs are expected to support an organised process of exchange and learning among peers, with a view to improving the analysis of challenges, enhancing innovative approaches and supporting improved local policies and planning.
  • The second objective is to cascade the innovations developed by UIA cities that will be acting as Lead Partners of the Innovation Transfer Networks. The focus of these networks is to support the adaptation of the original innovation project and to prepare for its reuse, in a format that reflects the new local context. The full implementation of this may take longer than the lifetime of the network, and the eventual output may differ markedly from the original. This reflects the fact that the transfer journey, although a shared experience, is ultimately a unique one for each transfer partner.

Innovation Transfer networks will have a total duration of 24 months which will be organised around 3 distinct stages with related milestones:

  • Stage 1 – Understand: the first 6 months will be dedicated to the developing a deep and shared understanding of the UIA project that includes visits of Lead Partner and Lead Expert to the network partners for the production of a Transferability Study.
  • Stage 2 – Adapt: the following 12 months will be dedicated to exchange and learning activities focusing on the adaptation of the UIA project to different city contexts. By breaking down the UIA project into different modules and by establishing the conditions for transfer at local level, partners will co-create their first draft Investment Plan. For the Lead Partner this will be the time for a first version of the Continuity plan focusing on improvement and sustainability of the UIA project.
  • Stage 3 – Preparing for Re-use: in the final 6 months partners will review their plans and improve them by exploring funding options for future implementation. This period will also see the production of a Network Final report reflecting the results and future prospects.

All networks will have a minimum set of standard activities and benefiting from bespoke support from network experts. Networks are expected to organise at least 5 core network meetings (in-person) as well as the additional (customised) set of exchange and learning activities (in-person and/ or online) developed during the stage 1 based on the Transferability study. Each Transferability Study will provide a detailed framework for the UIA project transfer with a unique network roadmap. This will feed the transfer process and the development of Investment/ Continuity plans at local level.

Capturing learning and sharing key lessons with wider community of practitioners is essential for ourjoint URBACT mission. In this regard, 4 Quarterly network Journals and at least 3 network articles for network target audiences are expected to be produced during the life-span of the network. In addition, reaching relevant decision makers (including funders) is key for ensuring proper implementation of policies on the ground. In this regard, all networks will have the opportunity to produce respective Communication plans guiding the networks towards their policy advocacy ambitions.

A menu of tailor-made capacity building activities exclusively designed for ITN partners shall strengthen the capacities for the design and implementation of innovative solutions. The programme-led knowledge and communication activities will accompany the networks throughout their URBACT journey in their quest for recognition by making their results visible.

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Expected effects and impacts

  • Enhancing the city’s profile as a lead player in the network’s policy area
  • Gathering suggestions for improvement to their UIA model from the network’s peer review activities
  • Sustaining the practice and reviewing it considering the cross-cutting principles of Green transition, Digital Transition and Gender equality

Expected results

URBACT supports networks in any thematic issues on better cooperation governance. The UIA projects over the last programming period (2014-2020) span 14 topics:

  • Air quality
  • Circular Economy
  • Climate Adaptation
  • Culture & Cultural Heritage
  • Demographic change
  • Digital Transition
  • Energy Transition
  • Housing
  • Integration of migrants and refugees
  • Jobs & skills in the local economy
  • Sustainable use of land and nature-based solutions
  • Urban mobility
  • Urban poverty
  • Urban security

The Call for Innovation Transfer Networks is open to all of them, without any thematic weighting or ring-fencing. Nevertheless, projects need to explain how their proposal links to the Cohesion Policy Objectives in their application form.

The activities in URBACT networks are always structured around 3 Work Packages (WPs):

  • WP1 — Network Management
    • The activities to be developed under Work Package 1 aim to ensure the sound management and coordination of the network concerning both the overall project management and all aspects of administrative and financial management. These also include organisation of responsibilities between the partners by building a strong collaborative relationship and ensuring the effective communication flows within the network and external audience.
  • WP2 — Network Level (Transnational) Activities
    • Work Package 2 is about the transnational exchange and learning (E&L) activities, which form the core of all URBACT networks. The lessons learnt during the transnational activities will inspire partners to adapt this knowledge at local level, develop skills relating to innovative practices and co-design a robust Investment/ Continuity plan with peers
  • WP3 — Local Level Activities
    • Local level activities within the URBACT network are centred on the URBACT Local Groups (ULGs), established in each participating city. The ULG aims to have an impact on local governance and practices by enabling save space for the innovation in city administrations. It promotes the environment for active involvement of local stakeholders in co-creation and production of Investment/ Continuity Plans

Each work package has its own aim. Work package 1 focuses on network management and coordination and is crucial to ensure the correct functioning of the network. Work Package 2 and Work Package 3 are intertwined and shall feed each other - a continuous flow of knowledge between the transnational and the local level activities should therefore exist, for effective results. Communication and dissemination activities are spread throughout all Work Packages. Each work package outlines activities that shall take place in order to achieve the desired outcomes. Regardless of uniqueness of network work programmes all networks shall follow the same framework for shaping the network activities.

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Eligibility Criteria

Regions / countries for funding

EU Member States
Moldova (Moldova), Albania (Shqipëria), Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosna i Hercegovina / Босна и Херцеговина), Montenegro (Црна Гора), North Macedonia (Северна Македонија), Norway (Norge), Serbia (Srbija/Сpбија), Switzerland (Schweiz/Suisse/Svizzera), Ukraine (Україна)

eligible entities

Public Body (national, regional and local; incl. EGTCs)

Mandatory partnership


Project Partnership

Transnational partnerships are cornerstones of all URBACT Networks. The rules defined below apply to all partnerships involved in Innovation Transfer Network proposals.

  • Only cities having delivered a UIA project can be Lead Partner of an Innovation Transfer Network. Therefore, only cities from the 27 EU Member States can be Lead Partners of Innovation Transfer Networks.
  • The candidate Lead Partner can be candidate Lead Partner in one URBACT proposal only under this call.
  • The list of UIA cities which have expressed their interest to lead an Innovation Transfer Network can be consulted here:

In addition to the Lead Partner, the partnership to be proposed must include from 4 to 6 Transfer partners from eligible countries. Therefore, a network will include from 5 to 7 city partners in total.

Partnerships must respect the following rules:

  • A partnership may include 1 “non-city partner” maximum
  • A beneficiary (city and non-city partners) cannot be a partner in more than two approved Innovation Transfer Networks at the same time;
  • A partnership can not include two cities from the same Member/Partner State
  • A candidate city can be candidate Lead Partner of one Innovation Transfer Network proposal only but can also be a Project Partner in another network at the same time.

A balance of cities from Less Developed and Transition EU regions is necessary as follows:

  • a minimum of 3 partners from Less Developed and Transition EU Regions where the total number of partners is 5 to 6.
  • a minimum of 4 partners from Less Developed and Transition EU Regions where the total number of partners is 7.
  • No exception to this rule is possible.

To complete the partnerships, partners can come from all types of EU regions as well as from Norway, Switzerland or IPA countries.

  • Each partnership can include 1 partner maximum from Norway, Switzerland or IPA countries.

In terms of assessment, it is recommended to build a diverse partnership, including cities from all types of EU regions, also from more developed regions.

The map showing the categorisation of EU Regions for 2021-2027 can be found here. The full list of regions eligible for funding from the ERDF and the ESF Plus and of Member States eligible for funding from the Cohesion Fund for the period 2021-2027 is available at this link here. It is also encouraged to include in the partnership, cities which have not been yet funded as Urban Innovative Action and/or are newcomers to URBACT.

other eligibility criteria


The beneficiary type “city” refers to the public local authority representing:

  • Cities, municipalities, towns;
  • Local agencies defined as public or semi-public organisations set up by a city, partially or fully owned by the city authority, responsible for the design and implementation of specific policies (economic development, energy supply, health services, transport, etc.)
  • Infra-municipal tiers of government such as city districts and boroughs in cases where they are represented by a politico-administrative institution having competences for policy-making and implementation in the policy area covered by the URBACT network concerned in which they are willing to get involved;
  • Metropolitan authorities and organised agglomerations in cases where they are represented by a politico-administrative institution having delegated competences for policy-making and implementation in the policy area covered by the URBACT network concerned.

There is no limit of population size for cities wishing to participate in URBACT activities. URBACT specifically supports urban authorities from the neighbourhood to functional urban area leveldepending on the topic covered and the impact that can be made. This includes urban-rural linkages and cross-border functional urban areas.

In addition to city partners, Innovation Transfer Networks can also include a limited number of other eligible beneficiaries (non-city partners). In the case of ITNs, the list of other eligible beneficiaries is defined as follows:

  • Provincial, regional and national authorities, as far as urban issues are concerned;
  • Universities and research centres, as far as urban issues are concerned;
  • Managing Authorities of Cohesion Policy and EU Solidarity Funds.

In order to be eligible, non-city partners must be public authorities or Equivalent Public Bodies. 

The URBACT IV programme area consists of:

  • The 27 EU Member States
  • Partner States Norway and Switzerland. Partners from Norway and Switzerland cannot make use of ERDF allocations. Partners from Switzerland can be co-financed at 50% by a national fund. Partners from Norway may participate in Innovation Transfer Networks with Norwegian national funds covering up to 50% of the costs. 
  • The Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia. Partners from IPA countries can participate in operations using IPA funding, without receiving ERDF co-financing.
  • Other countries. Partners from other countries, anywhere in the world, can participate with their own funding.

Note regarding participation of cities from Ukraine and Moldova: Following extension of the geographical area of the URBACT IV programme, in force as from 15th December 2023, it will be possible for cities from Ukraine and Moldova to be involved in the Innovation Transfer Networks. A specific process will be launched in the coming months, once Innovation Transfer Networks are approved, to include interested Ukrainian and Moldovan cities in the partnerships. Networks welcoming partners from these countries will receive additional dedicated budget.

Additional information


Administration & Governance, Institutional Capacity & Cooperation, 
Air Quality, Biodiversity & Environment, Climate & Climate Change, Water quality & management, 
Arts & Culture, Cultural Heritage, Tourism, 
Circular Economy, Natural Resources, 
Competitiveness of Enterprises, Employment/Labour Market, SME & entrepreneurship, 
Demographic Change, European Citizenship, Migration, 
Digitalisation, Digital Society, ICT, 
Disaster Prevention, Resilience, Risk Management, 
Education & Training, Children & Youth, Media, 
Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy , 
Equal Rights, Human Rights, People with Disabilities, Social Inclusion, 
Health, Social Services, Sports, 
Justice, Safety & Security, 
Mobility & Transport, 
Rural & Urban Development/Planning

Relevance for EU Macro-Region

EUSAIR - EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region, EUSALP - EU Strategy for the Alpine Space, EUSBSR - EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, EUSDR - EU Strategy for the Danube Region

UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs)

project duration

24 months

Additional Information

Projects applying to this Call for Proposals are required to follow a structured application procedure and will be subject to a selection process.

The submission of the Application package is paper-free. The application is submitted through the online system SYNERGIE-CTE. Detailed information on how to create and submitApplications through the online system SYNERGIE-CTE is provided in the Practical guide to SYNERGIE application.

To submit a network proposal, applicants shall complete the following steps:

  • Complete and submit their Application through SYNERGIE-CTE in English. Only applications submitted using SYNERGIE-CTE will be accepted. 
  • Send the application package composed of the scan of the signed PDF document of the Application generated through SYNERGIE-CTE and all additional requested documents (a list of additional documents is provided below) by email to The e-mail shall be received by the URBACT Joint Secretariat no later than 21st March 2024, 15:00 CET.

Applicants must send by email all of the following documents:

  • Scanned signed PDF version of the submitted Application generated through SYNERGIE-CTE. It must be duly signed by the Project Coordinator in the Lead Partner city;
  • Letters of commitment in English for ALL partners included in the partnership (one letter for the Lead Partner plus one letter for each Project Partner) using the templates provided in annexes 2 and 3 of this Call for Proposals. Letters of Commitment shall be signed by an elected representative of the partner institution;23
  • Letters of intent (template to use provided in annex 4), duly filled in and signed by the 3 proposed Lead Experts;
  • CV of the Project Coordinator at the Lead Partner;
  • CV of the 3 proposed Lead Experts.

The ERDF’s co-financing rate for an Innovation Transfer Network is calculated at network level on the basis of the different co-financing rates for each partner

  • Partners from “more developed regions” are co-financed up to 65% by ERDF.
  • Partners from “transition regions” are co-financed up to 70% by ERDF.
  • Partners from “less developed regions” are co-financed up to 80% by ERDF.
  • Switzerland is a Partner State of the URBACT programme. Partners from Switzerland are co-financed up to 50% by a Swiss national fund.
  • Norway is a partner state of the URBACT programme. Partners from Norway may participate in Action Planning Networks with Norwegian national funds covering up to 50% of the costs.
  • Partners from IPA countries are co-financed by up to 95% by IPA Funds.
  • Partners from other countries may participate in Innovation Transfer Networks at their own cost for this call.


URBACT National Points

European Urban Initiative (EUI) Permanent Secretariat
+33 (0)3 61 76 59 34

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