Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) is an Initiative of the European Union that provides urban areas throughout Europe with resources to test new and unproven solutions to address urban challenges. Based on article 8 of ERDF, the Initiative has a total ERDF budget of EUR 372 million for 2014-2020.
Approximately 359 million people – 72% of the total EU population – live in cities, towns and suburbs. Urban areas face multiple and interconnected challenges related to employment, migration, demography, water and soil pollution… But, they are also engines of new ideas and solutions, dynamic places where changes happen on a larger scale and at a fast pace.
To answer the increasingly complex challenges they face, urban authorities need to go beyond traditional policies and services - they need to be bold and innovative.
Although research on urban issues is well developed, potential solutions are not always put into practice because urban authorities are reluctant to use their money to test new, unproven and hence risky ideas.
Urban Innovative Actions offers urban authorities with the possibility to take a risk and experiment the most innovative and creative solutions.
The main objective of UIA is to provide urban areas throughout Europe with resources to test innovative solutions to the main urban challenges, and see how these work in practice and respond to the complexity of real life.
Who do they support?
Are you an urban authority of more than 50 000 inhabitants, or a grouping of urban authorities with a total population of a least 50 000 inhabitants, located in one of the 28 EU Member States?
Do you have a bold idea that has never been implemented before to tackle a challenge you are facing, but need support to implement it?
Do you think that your idea can generate a real positive change for your citizens?
Then, the UIA Initiative can help you!
The beneficiaries of the UIA Initiative are urban authorities. However, given the complexity of the urban challenges, they can’t act alone. In order to design and implement effective and innovative solutions, urban authorities need to involve all the key stakeholders that can bring expertise and knowledge on the specific policy issue to be addressed. These include agencies, organisations, private sector, research institutions, NGOs… Bold projects need them all.
What type of support for urban authorities?
UIA can provide you with two levels of support:
First of all, providing funding for your projects: UIA co-finances 80% of your project’s activities. In total, UIA can provide you with up to EUR 5 million ERDF to implement your innovative project
But also capturing and sharing the knowledge that your project will generate: UIA wants to see how potential solutions work in practice. As in a scientific experiment, UIA is interested in understanding what worked in the implementation of your project and what did not work. So draw lessons, capture the knowledge and share it with other urban policy-makers and practitioners across Europe.
What kind of projects does UIA fund?
UIA funds projects that are:
Innovative: be bold, creative and propose a project that has never been implemented anywhere else in Europe. Demonstrate that your idea is experimental and not part of your normal activities.
Participative: involve the key stakeholders that will bring expertise and knowledge to your project, both during the design and the implementation phase of a project.
Of good quality: define realistic ambitions, coherent activities and effective management. A logically interlinked work plan, a coherent and proportionate budget as well as effective management arrangements will make things happen.
Measurable: how will you describe the change you want to see in your local situation if the project is successful? How would you measure this change? Defining clear results that can be measured and quantified is key.
Transferable: address an urban challenge that can be relevant to other urban authorities in Europe, draw lessons on your experiment and share them with a wider audience of policy makers and practitioners.