UIA holds its first webinar with a focus on innovation
On 2 February, the UIA hosted the first of a series of webinars to support applicants in the second Call for Proposals focussing on the criterion of innovation.
Urban Innovative actions provides urban areas throughout Europe with resources to test new and unproven solutions to address urban challenges. By participating in the UIA, urban authorities take up the challenge of proposing a solution that has never been tested before in the European Union. Therefore the innovativeness of the solution proposed is the main Selection Criteria for UIA projects. It accounts for 40 % of the weighting when the proposals are assessed by the UIA Panel of External Experts. But as seen in the first Call for Proposals it can also prove to be the most difficult element to present.
During the Webinar, the UIA Permanent Secretariat introduced the main requirements of the UIA Initiative in terms of innovation. Building on the experience of the first Call for Proposals and especially on the selected projects, the main typologies of innovative projects (revolutionary and evolutionary innovation) were presented. A definition of an innovative solution was explained as a new product, service and/or process which have never been tested before in Europe and are able to add value in the specific policy field. Consequently participants where reminded that:
The innovation must be at EU level (never been tested before in Europe) and not relative to the local, regional or national context (totally new for a specific context but already tested and implemented somewhere else in Europe)
The actions can be a new product, service and/or process. In several cases, it can be a combination of all of these three typologies (a totally new product, generated through an innovative process that will provide a new service to a specific target group).
When proposing a complex set of actions, then the innovation must be central and not a peripheral element (i.e. a mobile app)
The projects should be those of a certain risk that would not have been funded under other European mainstream programmes. In this perspective they should not be projects proposing normal local/municipal activities and must include solutions that go beyond the present state-of-the-art and business-as-usual
Further information was provided on methodologies and techniques for benchmarking innovative solutions, an important exercise required from participants when filling in their application form.