The European Commission is inviting cities, private companies and non-governmental organisations active in urban development, to become founding partners of the European Innovation Partnership through an Invitation for Commitments which will close in mid-June.
The European Commission is looking for partners to take forward its European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities, with the promise of funding from the Horizon 20/20 initiative for pilot urban projects and the opportunity for partners to help shape the initiative.
Philipp Barth, Policy Officer in the Smart Cities and Sustainability Unit in the Directorate General for Communications Network, Content & Technology, says the Partnership is different because it is looking to scale up smart solutions across European cities and to move away from the fragmented approach of individual success stories and those networks which focus only on particular aspects of smart cities.
We want to go a little bit further to create a network across three sectors: energy; urban mobility and transport; and ICT but rather than just having workshops and distilling best practices, we are looking through our open invitation for commitments for each potential partner to describe what it is planning to do or has done in terms of smart cities, says Barth. And on the basis of those concrete commitments, we will then try to cluster those partners into working groups so that there will be more opportunities for collaboration from the supply and demand side and for the launch of projects for procuring jointly and concretely working together.
There is no direct funding available under the Invitation for Commitments but there is funding of 200 million euros under the Horizon 20/20 programme for 2014-15. Future funding commitments are also being discussed by the Commission with private and public banks including the European Investment Bank.
Horizon 20/20, which is a framework programme for research and innovation, has a focus area on smart cities and communities and that programme has yearly calls for proposals which are funded, says Barth.
In terms of joining the European Innovation Partnership, partners can come from the public or private sector, including being European subsidiaries of non-EU companies and they should apply online through the Partnership website before June 15.
The Partnership is a joint initiative of three Directorates General (DGs): as well as Communications Networks, Content and Technology, the DGs for Energy and Transport are developing the initiative. The Commission has published Strategic and Operational Implementation Plans for the Partnership with the collaboration of a High Level Group, which brings together city representatives from London, Almere, Warsaw and Barcelona; city and industry associations such as the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) and EUROCITIES; and private sector companies such as Schneider Electric, Volkswagen, Siemens, Orange and Nokia.
Source: Cities Today
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