Driving urban transitions to a sustainable future partnership

The Partnership Driving urban transitions to a sustainable future (DUT) is the proposal for an urban partnership under Horizon Europe, which is currently under development led by JPI Urban EuropeERRIN has been invited to participate and actively shape this new partnership.

In order to tackle pressing societal challenges, a transformation of our urban systems is required. Achieving urban sustainability is, however, not only a matter of individual sectoral solutions, but equally a matter of how these solutions integrate into the urban system and how they affect each other. Urban areas are therefore places where all these issues are interrelated, and can be addressed in an effective way, making use of innovation and experimentation.

The DUT Partnership will timely contribute to the implementation and localisation the Green Deal, the Agenda 2030, as well as the Leipzig Charter and the Urban Agenda for the EU (UAEU).


The DUT partnership will cover three main sectoral areas – namely the energy transition, circular economy and sustainable urban land use as well as inclusive urban mobility and connectivity, each of them an essential area to tackle green transformation in an integrated manner.

To address these domains and the challenges identified within each sectoral concern, the partnership will foster challenge-driven R&I and technological development through cross cutting areas such as governance, digital platforms, and innovative financing. This will allow to shape thematic innovation ecosystems that take the particularities of the respective domain into account. Evidence will be created with and for city administrations, municipalities, business and society, aiming at all kinds of innovation and capacity building needed to transform our neighbourhoods and urban areas. The partnership will offer a framework for innovation, demonstration and preparing larger scale implementation of solutions. 


As the DUT Partnership is shaping, some key questions and issues have emerged which ERRIN has emphasised together with POLIS and ICLEI.

Who can participate and benefit from the partnership?

In order to achieve its objective, the partnership must support all ecosystem actors at local level (i.e. public administrations, private sector actors, stakeholder organisations, in addition to academic actors) as well as provide funding to concrete measures that support innovation, co-creation and demonstration.

The Member States supporting the DUT Partnership are represented by funding agencies that are used to fund predominantly research in the area of urban development. This means that the funders are not necessarily able to support all ecosystem actors at local level. Also, the type of activities that can be supported can be limited into specific measures such as fundamental research. This hampers the ability for the partnership to deliver the mission and objectives currently set for it, ultimately meaning that the local administrations might not be able to benefit from the partnership.  

Focus of the partnership

The DUT Partnership is the only European Partnership with a strong integrated and holistic approach to green transformation placing local and regional dimension in its centre and making it an opportunity for local and regional actors.

The integrated and place-based approach is the selling point of the partnership. Thus, the focus of the partnership should be within the interplay of the three thematic priority areas as well as the enablers that enhance the green transition. The partnership should also be a tool for supporting the City Mission and linked to the five enablers identified in the City Mission concept. At the same time synergies and complementarities between existing instruments and other partnerships needs to be further defined.

Governance of the partnership

European partnerships should have an open and inclusive governance model that also involves local and regional actors. This would include a clear role in defining the partnership, as well as designing the calls for proposal, and other activities in framework of the partnership.

It is crucial to learn and rely on existing initiatives and partnerships (Urban Agenda Partnerships, Covenant of Mayors, EIP on Smart cities…) as well as to involve the key actors and networks in the design and governance of the partnership. One way to achieve this is to set up a new governance model for European partnerships where regional and local authorities are also involved.


The draft proposal for the partnership will be ready end of February 2020.

The elaboration of the implementation concept will take place in October 2020, with a public consultation in February/March 2020 and stakeholder dialogues in April/May 2020.

A policy conference will be organised in October/November 2020.


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