Driving Urban Transitions Call for Proposals

Call illustration

The purpose of this call for proposals is to support transnational research and/or innovation projects addressing urban challenges to help cities in their transition towards a more sustainable economy and functioning. The challenges are grouped into three themes called ‘Transition Pathways: Positive Energy Districtsthe 15-minute City and Circular Urban Economies.

It is the second call of the European Partnership Driving Urban Transitions (DUT) which is co-funded by the European Commission under Horizon Europe.

The projects selected will be funded directly by national/regional funding agencies from the following countries (to be confirmed!):

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada / Quebec 
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Rep.
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Switzerland
  • Sweden
  • Turkey 

Transnational consortia & stakeholder involvement

Each proposal must involve, at least, three partners from three countries on this list and that are eligible for funding by their respective national/regional funding agency. The added value of transnational collaboration should be clearly stated.

The DUT Call 2023 is opened to a wide range of scientific disciplines and welcomes interdisciplinary approaches. It intends to support a large range of activities, from research to innovation and implementation.

It also asks applicants to engage explicitly with stakeholders (companies, public authorities, NGOs …) in the projects and to consider users’ needs in the identification of the project goals. Projects are expected to take a transdisciplinary and preferably co-creative approach from the early project formulation stages.

The DUT Partnership is supported by the EC and co-funded under the Horizon Europe co-funded Partnership scheme (Topic HORIZON-CL5-2021-D2-01-16) under grant agreement N° 101069506.

On a global level, the DUT Partnership’s Call 2023 is part of the Mission Innovation (MI) call series, i.e. MICall23. As such, some of the call topics are directly prepared in collaboration with MI missions, and all topics of the call are open for applications that directly and/or indirectly contribute to the work of MI missions.

Call phases

International phase: The international call is performed in 2 stages: submission of a pre-proposal followed by an invite to submit a full proposal.

  • Stage 1: Submission of a pre-proposal, a project consortium chooses one call module for the pre-proposal. If the pre-proposal is selected, the project consortium is invited to submit a full proposal. 
  • Stage 2: Submission of a full proposal, only if the pre-proposal is invited to participate in stage 2.

National/regional phase: All the partners from the projects selected in Stage 2 of the International Phase must apply for the national phase directly with their relevant funding agency.

Call topics

The DUT Partnership focuses on three critical urban sectors (and their interrelationships) which are laid out in the DUT Roadmap as Transition Pathways (TP).

For the DUT Partnership to maximise impact for European and global policies, these three Transition Pathways (TP) are to be considered in an integrated manner and with a firm commitment to urban, regional and city authority capacity building in terms of ambitious policymaking and implementation. 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 DUT Partnership will offer a framework for innovation, demonstration and preparation of larger-scale translation of solutions and approaches into local urban settings.

This second call aims to create or reinforce a portfolio of R&I projects that address issues and challenges identified in one of the three TPs. Proposals addressing subjects from across different TPs can be submitted and are welcome, though it is not mandatory. All projects are asked to choose a main TP and may indicate which other TP(s) are involved, if any.

Positive Energy Districts Pathway (PED)

Now, more than ever, energy resilience and locally produced energy are gaining significant momentum. We aim to explore ways to ensure that nobody is left behind, focusing not only on the stability of our energy system but also on addressing energy poverty. This entails finding innovative investment models and incentives to foster collaboration among public authorities, real estate entities, financing institutions, utilities, and homeowners, enabling the implementation and realization of Positive Energy Districts.

PED topic 1: Energy Resilience and Energy Poverty

PED topic 2: Urban Regeneration and Refurbishment

PED topic 3: Enabling Systems for Local Energy Transitions: Collaboration and Sustainable Investment

15-minute City Pathway (15minC)

In urban areas, the issue of car-centred planning and resulting car dependency continues to persist. The question remains: how can we open up more leeway to lower existing car dependency, prepare evidence to change and identify exemplary cases of integrated policies that actively work against it, incentivising individuals and ensuring that no one is left behind? Given the recent demonstrations of the concept of 15-minute cities, it becomes imperative to explore methods for actively involving people in the transition process, raising awareness, and promoting incentives for the use of more sustainable modes of transportation

15mC topic 1: Integrated Policies and Evidence to Reduce Car-dependency 

15mC topic 2: Mobility and Planning Policies for Proximity-oriented Developments

15mC topic 3: Empower People for Urban Mobility Transitions

Circular Urban Economies Pathway (CUE)

We need to understand how we utilize the existing building stock both by recycling or reusing its materials in new constructions, and by refurbishing and renovating buildings to minimize its energy loss during heating. Furthermore, our human-created borders should not limit the flows and resources we rely on in our cities. How can we enhance the connections between urban and rural areas to facilitate the flow of food, water, and waste? Additionally, in this year’s call, we seek to explore intentional planning and design approaches that integrate nature back into the existing building stock of our cities.

CUE topic 1: The Built Environment as a Resource Base

CUE topic 2: Knowledge and optimisation of resources flows between urban and rural areas

CUE topic 3: Planning and Designing urban areas with Nature: Towards a Regenerative Urbanism

What call topics can receive funding from the participating Funding Agencies?

As not all Funding Agency provide funding for all of the three Transition Pathways and call topics, please have a look at the following TOPICS CHART to see the topics funded by the participating Funding Agencies. 

Call calendar

Stage 1 opens (pre-proposal submission)1 September 2023

Info day #1 – info session  (online)12 September 2023

Info day #2 – project pitches (online)10 October 2023

Stage 1 closing (pre-proposal submission deadline)21 November 2023, 13:00 CET

Eligibility checkDecember 2023

Meeting of Expert Panel to assess pre-proposalsFebruary 2024

Stage 2 opening (invite applicants to submit full proposals)March 2024

Stage 2 closing (deadline submission of full proposals)30 April 2024, 13:00 CET

Eligibility checkMay 2024

Meeting of Expert Panel to assess full proposalsJune 2024

Funding decisions announcedJuly 2024

Start of the projectsSeptember 2024 – January 2025

Projects’ kick-off meeting2025 (tbd)


Register at the DUT Matchmaking Platform for events and matchmaking:


  • Draft Call Text: DUT Call 2023  (includes national/regional annexes)
  • Final Call Text – Coming soon
  • Funding agencies
  • Submission Guidelines – Coming soon
  • Pre-proposal template – Coming soon
  • Full proposal template – Coming soon
  • FAQ – Coming soon

Contact information

DUT Call Secretariat: call@dutpartnership.eu

  • Elena Simion (U E  F I S C D I – Executive Agency for Higher Education, Research, Development and Innovation Funding)
  • Nicolas Paulien and Pascal Bain (ANR – Agence Nationale de la Recherche)
  • Maria Rachele Nocera (MUR – Ministero dell’Università e della Ricerca)

Contact points of participating funding agencies:

For questions regarding specific funding agencies’ rules and additional forms please check “Annex A: Specific Funding Agencies’ Budgets and Rules of Eligibility” first. Additional information can be obtained by contacting the indicated national contact persons at the participating funding agencies.


Application date
Humanities : Anthropology & Ethnology, Architecture and urbanism, Arts and Art history, History, Digital humanities and big data, Philosophy, Theology and religion
Social sciences
Citizen Sciences
Other : Biology, Chemistry, Computer science, Physics, mathematics and engineering