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through partnerships between municipalities

and industries’, as set down by the

Commission. According to the EU institution, the

goals of innovation actions are to support

innovation activities through ‘open disruptive

innovation; innovation procurement; prizes; pilot

actions; integration and demonstration

activities; increased collaboration between

universities, researchers and entrepreneurs’.

Furthermore, the actions ‘identify high potential

SMEs, start-ups, innovators, market-oriented

researchers and spin-offs’ and ‘tailor support

for them as part of the Innovation Radar’.

The Commission encouraged applicants to

address low energy districts, integrated

infrastructures and sustainable urban mobility,

and announced that 19 proposals had been

submitted to this particular call, leading to five

projects receiving an evaluation score above the

applicable threshold.

To find out more about GrowSmarter, Portal

spoke to Gustaf Landahl, project co-ordinator

and climate and environmental strategist at the

City of Stockholm. One of the aspects that the

Commission has been championing in Horizon

2020 is the simplification of rules and

procedures as well as reducing the time to

grant. As he is a successful applicant, Portal

began by asking Landahl how he found the

process to secure funding.

“The applications for getting grants from the

EU have become more and more complicated

every time. Having applied for funding since

the mid-1990s, the first applications were

quite simple and we were able to secure €6-

7m in funding. Under Horizon 2020, I wrote

170 pages of ‘ten-point font size’ text –

substantially more. More and more information

is now required.

“Yet putting together a research consortium

remains the same. It is important to have a


ities around the world need to become smart if they are

to adjust and respond to a rising population and a

continued strain on the environment and its natural

resources. In order to combat these challenges, the cities of

Stockholm, Cologne and Barcelona have joined forces to work

together on these issues.

Funded by Horizon 2020, the GrowSmarter project seeks to bring

together cities and industry to realise smart solutions across the three

pivotal sectors of energy, infrastructure and transport. GrowSmarter is

receiving nearly €25m from the European Commission to explore and

demonstrate 12 smart solutions in these three so-called ‘lighthouse

cities’, before further rolling out such solutions, adjusted to local

conventions, to other major urban environments across Europe. The

project has a total budget of just under €34.5m and runs between 2015

and 2020.

The GrowSmarter project was chosen from over 19 submissions to

receive support from the European Commission’s ‘Smart cities and

communities’ Horizon 2020 funding call. This Societal Challenges call

ran from December 2013 to April 2014 and included two other topics

focusing on transparent data collection, allowing comparability and

replication of solution, and establishing public procurement networks on

smart city solutions. The call’s total budget was €92.3m.


The GrowSmarter project is an ‘innovation action’ and helps to

accomplish the scope of ‘identifying, developing and deploying replicable,

balanced and cohesive solutions in the energy, transport and ICT actions


H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L


S O C I E TA L C H A L L E N G E S : E N E R G Y

Smartening up the city


spoke to co-ordinator

Gustaf Landahl

about realising smart innovations

in infrastructure, transport and energy across the major cities of Europe in the

Horizon 2020-backed GrowSmarter project

Gustaf Landahl

The Swedish

capital Stockholm is

one of the cities

involved in the

GrowSmarter project

© Magnus Johansson