URBACT III has an EU-wide budget of €96 million and is a European Territorial Cooperation programme jointly financed by the EU (through ERDF) and Member States. URBACT is primarily a capacity building programme through exchange of experience for cities.
URBACT III will act as a European exchange and learning programme promoting sustainable urban development. It will enable European cities to work together to develop solutions to urban challenges and share good practices, lessons and solutions with all stakeholders involved in urban policy throughout Europe. The programme will cover all of the 28 Member States of the European Union as well as the two partner countries of Norway and Switzerland.
URBACT III will facilitate the sharing of knowledge and good practice between cities and other levels of government to promote integrated sustainable development and improve the effectiveness of regional and cohesion policy. In doing this URBACT III will contribute to the Europe 2020 goals by providing a mechanism for stakeholders involved in developing and implementing urban policy to develop their knowledge and skills.
The new knowledge and skills acquired from participation in the URBACT III programme will contribute to stronger and more vibrant European cities and help tackle a range of emerging urban issues linked to smart, sustainable and inclusive growth (the three Europe 2020 priorities). The intervention rate would be 70% in Tyne & Wear and Northumberland and 85% in County Durham and Tees Valley due to their transition status.
Urban Innovation Actions (UIA) has an EU-wide budget of €371 million and tests new approaches to the challenges faced by cities, through pilot projects. The aim is to generate knowledge of what works and what does not, why, and what should be done differently. Projects will be selected through calls for proposals with an ERDF contribution not exceeding €5 million per project, a co-financing rate of maximum 80 per cent and project duration of three years maximum.
The focus must be experimental and genuinely new (in the EU) i.e. different from a regular ERDF supported urban development project. Applicants should show they have done research and that similar actions have not been funded in a previous round. UIA can be used however to test ideas taken from around the globe (i.e. US/Asia) or perhaps to adapt or add risk to existing ideas and approaches already found within an EU city.
The topics of the calls will be defined annually by the Commission. The day to day management of UIA is delegated to the Nord-Pas de Calais Region, France.