Urban Innovative Actions (UIA): size doesn’t matter – smartness is the key

UIA CALL
05/11/2018
Analysis of the first three UIA calls and tips for the recently open 4th call (deadline 31st January)

The 3rd call of the Urban Innovative Actions announced its results during the European Week of Regions and Cities: in total, 22 cities were awarded with the funding to develop its projects. The topics of the 3rd call have been Climate Change Adapt, Air Quality, Housing, and Jobs & Skill (this one was also in the 1st call).

Some quick conclusions on the 3rd call have been:

  • A reduction in the number of applicants: from 378 applications in the first call we move to 184 applications in the 3rd call.
  • Subsequently, the rate of approval has moved from a dramatic 4,76% in the first call to a more reasonable 11,95%

The improvement in the success rate is a good new for all the cities, but also for the future of the UIA programme. 

Call

Submitted bids

Awarded bids

% success rate

1st call

378

18

4,76%

2nd call

215

16

7,44%

3rd call

184

22

11,96%

Total

 

56

(55 active + 1 withdrawn)

 

Table 1 Evolution of the success rate of Urban Innovative Actions in the first three calls

If we look in depth into data, we see some interesting trends:

Small cities vs big cities

In the analysis of the 1st call we identified a strong presence of large cities, with 7 cities of more than 1 million inhabitants awarded (23 cities in the UE have more than 1 million inhabitants), while only 2 cities with less than 100.000 habitants were awarded in the call.

The evolution in the 2nd and 3rd call is clear, with stronger presence of small municipalities. Small cities are a good space for testing solutions (labs) that can be applied in larger cities, fighting with the handicap of its technical capacity in competitive calls against the big cities. Some of the big cities are the “usual suspects” in European programmes.

CALL

< 100.000 hab

<500.000 hab

< 1.000.000 hab

> 1.000.000 hab

TOTAL

1ST CALL

2

5

4

7

18

2ND CALL

6

9

1

0

16

3RD CALL

5

7

5

5

22

Table 2 Small cities gain positions against big competitors

Geographical coverage and UIA programme dissemination

Cities in 18 out of the 28 EU Member States have been awarded in one of the three UIA calls. This means that 10 countries have not benefited yet of any of the 56 approved projects in the three UIA calls. These 10 countries are: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Ireland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland and Slovakia. This is a challenging issue for DG REGIO, owner of the ERDF funds.

Besides, Germany which can be considered as a “Nation of Cities” have been awarded with just one of the 56 approved projects. In the 3rd call, German cities only submitted three proposals: the first EU nation in number of inhabitants was on 12 position in number of applications. On the other hand, four countries are the recipients of more than half of the awarded cities: Spain, France, Belgium and Netherlands sum a 53,6% of the approved projects in the three UIA calls.

It is clear that dissemination of the UIA programme should be fixed, considering the results of the first calls. Added to the case of Germany, Italy submitted up to 59 proposals to the 3rd call and just one of them have been funded, meaning an ugly 1,68% of success rate, and Greece submitted 14 proposals with a result of 0% of success rate. Some efforts have been already done by the UIA Secretariat, reaching the Eastern Countries, but distance to the UIA-Secretariat, meaning access to more dissemination, is still a factor for success: 15 out of the 56 approved projects belong to cities at less than 300 km by car of the Secretariat.

Additionally, four cities (Barcelona, Paris, Antwerp and Ghent) have been awarded in two of the three calls.

The 3rd call: just some figures

22 projects have been awarded in the 3rd call, with near 12% of success rate (184 applications were submitted to the call).

 

City

Country

Theme

1

Vantaan

Finland

Jobs & Skills

2

Valmiera / Vantspils

Latvia

Jobs & Skills

3

Eindhoven

Netherlands

Jobs & Skills

4

Cuenca

Spain

Jobs & Skills

5

Cluj Napoca

Romania

Jobs & Skills

6

Aveiro

Portugal

Jobs & Skills

7

Mataró

Spain

Housing

8

Lyon

France

Housing

9

Ghent

Belgium

Housing

10

Budapest

Hungary

Housing

11

Brussels

Belgium

Housing

12

Portici

Italy

Air Quality

13

Ostrava

Czech Republic

Air Quality

14

Helsinki

Finland

Air Quality

15

Breda

Netherlands

Air Quality

16

Marseille

France

Air Quality

17

Paris

France

Adaptation to Climate Change

18

Seville

Spain

Adaptation to Climate Change

19

Riba Roja de Turia

Spain

Adaptation to Climate Change

20

Manchester

United Kingdom

Adaptation to Climate Change

21

Barcelona

Spain

Adaptation to Climate Change

22

Amsterdam

Netherlands

Adaptation to Climate Change

Table 3 List of Cities awarded in the 3rd call of UIA

 

The evaluation has provided good results for cities in Eastern Europe, with 4 projects funded (Cluj-Napoca, Ostrava, Budapest and Valmiera / Vantspils) and a good success rate of 50%, well above of the average of the call.

As mentioned, results are not good for Italy nor for Greece, while Germany has provided only three proposals. On the other hand, Dutch and Finish obtain a very good performance.

Country

Climate Change Adapt

Air Quality

Housing

Jobs & Skills

Funded

Total Submitted

Success Rate

Spain

3

 

1

1

5

40

12,50%

Netherlands

1

1

 

1

3

8

37,50%

France

1

1

1

 

3

15

20,00%

Belgium

   

2

 

2

9

22,22%

Finland

 

1

 

1

2

3

66,67%

Czech Republic

 

1

   

1

1

100,00%

Hungary

   

1

 

1

4

25,00%

Italy

 

1

   

1

59

1,68%

Latvia

     

1

1

1

100%

Romania

     

1

1

6

16,67%

United Kingdom

1

     

1

4

25,00%

Portugal

 

 

 

1

1

7

14,29%

Greece

 

 

 

 

 

14

0%

Austria

 

 

 

 

 

2

0%

Croatia

 

 

 

 

 

2

0%

Sweden

 

 

 

 

 

2

0%

Bulgaria

 

 

 

 

 

1

0%

Cyprus

 

 

 

 

 

1

0%

Denmark

 

 

 

 

 

1

0%

Poland

 

 

 

 

 

1

0%

Funded proposals

6

5

5

6

22

 

 

Total submitted

43

35

40

66

184

 

 

Success rate

13,95%

14,29%

12,5%

9,09%

11,95%

 

 

Table 4: Numbers of the 3rd call of UIA - Urban Innovative Actions

The key messages for the 4th call

The 4th call of UIA is already open, since 11th October, and will close on 31st January 2019. The four topics for this call are:

  • Digital transition
  • Urban poverty
  • Sustainable use of land
  • Urban security

We at ZABALA supported one successful proposal in the first call (Jobs & Skills), provided advice and review to one successful proposal in the second call (Urban Mobility), and have supported one of the recently approved projects in the third call (Climate Change Adapt).

Our first key message for applicants to the UIA calls is always “INNOVATION OR DIE”, whatever the topic. Urban Innovative Actions programme self-defines as a “LAB” for “TESTING” solutions. Size of the city is not a critical issue (UIA funds proposals of cities or agglomerations of more than 50.000 inhabitants), but the access to good knowledge on the call is a key factor for succeeding.

And the second key message: the most difficult element in proposal preparation is not how to write the proposal: the most difficult element is to co-ordinate the stakeholders in the local consortium, and also to break the inter-departmental barriers of the local authorities.

Good luck to all the cities competing for nice UIA projects!

 

 

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