What type of project does UIA Initiative finance?
The main objective of UIA is to provide urban authorities throughout Europe with space and resources to experiment new innovative answers to interconnected and complex local challenges. Through this new Initiative, urban authorities have the possibility to test how new and unproven solutions work in practice and how they respond to the complexity of real life.
Urban authorities should seize the opportunity offered by the UIA Initiative to move from “normal projects” (that could be financed through “traditional” sources of funding, including a mainstream ERDF Programme) and take the risk to turn ambitious and creative ideas into prototypes that can be tested in real urban settings.
UIA supports projects that are innovative, of good quality, involving key stakeholders, with measurable results and transferable to other urban authorities across Europe.
More information on the type of projects supported as well as on the selection criteria is provided in the UIA Guidance (sections 1.3 and 3.2)
Who are the eligible beneficiaries of the UIA Initiative?
The following authorities may apply for support to undertake Urban Innovative Actions:
- Any urban authority of a local administrative unit defined according to the degree of urbanisation as city, town or suburb comprising at least 50 000 inhabitants
- Any association or grouping of urban authorities of local administrative units defined according to the degree of urbanisation as city, town or suburb where the total population is at least 50 000 inhabitants; this can include cross-border associations or groupings, associations or groupings in different regions and/or Member States
Only the eligible beneficiaries listed here can apply in the framework of a Call for Proposals for UIA projects. All Urban Authorities shall be located in an EU Member State.
More information on the eligible beneficiaries is provided in the UIA Guidance (section 1.4).
How can other urban actors (different from the beneficiaries) be involved in an UIA project?
Urban Authorities applying in the framework of the UIA Initiative are invited to involve key stakeholders in the design and the implementation of the proposed project. Agencies, organisations, private sector partners, associations, research institutions, NGOs, etc. can be involved as Delivery Partners or included in the wider group of stakeholders.
Delivery Partners and other actors included in the wider group of stakeholders can not submit an Application Form within the frame of a Call for Proposals for UIA projects.
More information on the partnership for UIA projects is provided in the UIA Guidance (section 2.1)
What is the co-financing rate for UIA projects and when will I receive funding?
The UIA Initiative follows the "total costs" principle. The project receives ERDF co-financing up to 80% of the eligible costs. Every ERDF beneficiary needs to secure public or private contribution to complete its budget (20% at least) either from its own resources or from other sources (regional or national government for example). However, it is encouraged that the majority of contributions come from public sources.
The UIA payment scheme is mainly based on the principle of advance ERDF payment.
More information about funding and payments can be found in the UIA Guidance (section 1.7)
What are the urban challenges that urban authorities can address in the framework of an UIA project?
The topics that urban authorities can address in the framework of the UIA Initiative are closely aligned to those defined in the framework of the EU Urban Agenda.
Each Call for Proposals for UIA project will be open to a limited number of topics. These are defined by the Commission on an annual basis. The topics selected for each Call are presented in detail in the UIA website as well as in the Terms of Reference of the Call.
How can urban authorities apply?
Application Forms for UIA projects shall be submitted during the eligible time period defined in the Call for Proposals. These calls are expected to occur on an annual basis between 2015 and 2020.
The submission of the Application Form and annexes is 100% paperless through the use of UIA’s Electronic Exchange Platform (EEP). The link to access the EEP, together with the Terms of Reference of each Call for Proposals will be available on the UIA website once the call for proposals is open.
Within the deadline fixed in the Terms of Reference, urban authorities shall submit through EEP an Application Form and a signed Confirmation Sheet.
An urban authority (or association/grouping of urban authorities) can submit only one project proposal in the framework of each Call for Proposals.
It is strongly recommended that applicants fill in the Application Form in clear English, although it may also be submitted in any of the official EU languages.
Detailed information on the application process is provided in the UIA Guidance (section 3.1). A working document of the Application Form will soon be available on the UIA website once the call for proposals will be open.
How are UIA projects selected for funding?
Following submission, each application is subject to a selection process organised along 3 main steps.
Upon closure of a call, an assessment is carried out by the Permanent Secretariat as to the compliance of the received Application Forms and their annexes with the formal eligibility and admissibility criteria.
Eligible and admissible applications will be subject to a Strategic Assessment carried out by a Panel of External Experts. The Strategic Assessment accounts for 80% of the weighting given to the overall project assessment.
Applications that have reached a certain threshold in the Strategic Assessment will go forward to an Operational Assessment carried out by the Permanent Secretariat. The Operational Assessment accounts for 20% of the weighting given to the overall project assessment.
After the Operational Assessment, a Selection Committee comprised of the Entrusted Entity and the Commission will meet to make the final selection. The Commission provides the final agreement as to which projects are selected.
Detailed information on the selection process (including details on the eligibility/admissibility and assessment criteria) is provided in the UIA Guidance (section 3.2)
Who is in charge of the management of the UIA Initiative?
UIA is an Initiative of the Commission. The Region Nord-Pas de Calais has been designated as Entrusted Entity for the implementation of the Initiative and a Permanent Secretariat has been set up for its management.
Where can applicants get assistance?
The PS staff will be ready to assist applicants with any technical questions they may have during the Call for Proposals. All contact details can be found here of the UIA website.
For each Call for Proposals, the PS will also organise 4 Applicants Seminars in cities located in the north, south, east and west of Europe. Dates and venues of the Applicants Seminars can be found in the section Events of the UIA website.
During project implementation, the PS will obviously follow-up with projects and advise on project management. However, project will benefit from additional support through a dedicated UIA Expert for which the Initiative will cover the costs.
UIA Experts will provide projects with:
- Advice and guidance on the substance of the action, especially regarding the innovative content
- Assistance in the development of documentation and outputs that will capture and disseminate lessons learnt, good practice, etc. to the wide audience
- Support to ensure that the action remains on track and is in line with the agreed proposal
More information about UIA Experts can be found in the UIA Guidance (section 1.6)