More European cities and regions to join forces in search for climate change solutions

BUDAPEST, 25 APRIL – With the Paris Agreement on climate change now ready to be ratified nationally, Europe is stepping up preparations for the implementation of the deal to bring down greenhouse gas emissions. Following the signing of the agreement in New York last week by 174 countries and the European Union, Climate-KIC – the EU’s public-private climate innovation initiative – has announced it is expanding its low-carbon programmes to additional cities and regions across Europe.

Supported by the European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT), Climate-KIC carries the EU’s mandate to deliver large-scale innovation for climate change mitigation and adaptation across the continent, and globally. Climate-KIC already works with a broad coalition of cities, regions and its network of business and academic partners to test and scale-up climate change solutions – and to train local students and entrepreneurs.

The EU initiative is now set to expand its uniquely integrated innovation model to more areas with the launch of calls for organisations from additional regions to participate in its Smart Sustainable Districts (SSD) and Regional Innovation Scheme (RIS) programmes. Climate-KIC already runs low-carbon projects in most EU member states and third countries like Norway and Switzerland. The organisation also runs permanent innovation centres in cities such as London, Berlin and Paris.

Climate-KIC’s announcement comes as innovators from around Europe meet in Budapest, Hungary, for the European Institute of Innovation & Technology’s (EIT) annual InnovEIT innovation summit on 25 and 26 April, which is focused on how Europeans can join forces for innovation to ensure the continent remains competitive globally.

“Around the world, businesses and public organisations are involved in a race against the clock to find solutions to climate change, and to reap the economic benefits that some of the best solutions provide,” said Ian Short, CEO, Climate-KIC, “We’re working to make sure Europe is at the forefront of these developments, which often happen most effectively at regional and city levels. That’s where many of the practical solutions to climate change are being implemented.”

Smart Sustainable Districts (SSD)

Cities present enormous sustainability challenges, and their size and complexity make it difficult to trial solutions flexibly. A lot is at stake, with some 70 per cent of the world’s population living and working in cities, which in turn account for about 80 per cent of the world’s energy consumption.

Climate-KIC’s Smart Sustainable Districts (SSD) programme works closely with highly ambitious districts across Europe to identify innovative solutions to their sustainability and climate change challenges. With wider integration opportunities than at individual building scale and more autonomy than at city level, districts can have significant near-term impact.  The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London is one of those districts, and was one of the first to start working with Climate-KIC to trial innovative sustainability solutions.

Paul Brickell, Executive Director of Regeneration and Community Partnerships commented “We are building on the legacy of the most sustainable games ever to create an environmentally positive, resilient urban district that is fit for the climate and Park communities of the future. Working with leading academic, community and business partners from across Climate-KIC, we have been trialling new technologies and approaches to tackling climate challenges across the areas of resource efficiency, renewable energy and community engagement.”

The London Legacy Development Corporation has been working with partners such as energy giant Engie, Imperial College London, University College London, Technical University Munich and University of Reading and others to to develop integrated solutions with measurable environmental, social and economic benefits. The aim of these collaborations is to enable replication of successful solutions city-wide or in other districts in Europe and around the world.

In the Netherlands, Utrecht’s Centre-West area is another district that is benefiting from the Smart Sustainable Districts programme. Solutions that are being tested in Utrecht include hybrid systems for heating and cooling at district level, local use of local renewable power such as smart solar electric vehicle charging, green spots, cool spots, roof top farming, water retention and efficient and clean personal mobility.

Climate-KIC is seeking additional ambitious city districts looking to deliver global exemplars of smart sustainable districts to join the programme.  Working together we will assess buildings and city infrastructure: transport, utilities, and the built environment with a vision to address energy efficiency and resource consumption with new technologies, products and services. 

Climate-KIC is looking for city districts fitting the following criteria:

  • contain a mix of residential and commercial buildings
  • has a planned programme of new build or refurbishment projects
  • cohesive governance structure or ownership representation

Interested city districts should register their interest at

Regional Innovation Scheme

Climate-KIC is also active at a regional level, and has deployed the EIT’s Regional Innovation Scheme (RIS) to boost the climate innovation engagement by European regions not formally within Climate-KIC’s geographic network. In 2015, Climate-KIC piloted activities in Estonia, Portugal, Romania and Slovenia.

In the Baltics, the Estonian Development Fund and Startup Estonia took part in the Regional Innovation Scheme, allowing Estonians to participate in Climate-KIC programmes such as its ClimateLaunchpad cleantech idea competition and its Pioneers into Practice professional exchange programme.

“Being part of Climate-KIC and the Regional Innovation Scheme has been a fantastic opportunity for Estonian entrepreneurs,” said Marit Sall of StartUp Estonia, “This partnership has opened doors and has allowed us to reach out to some of Europe’s best clean-tech mentors and partners within the Climate-KIC network.“

Annika Lentso, CEO of the Estonian Development Fund said: “Climate-KIC has helped to bring together Estonia’s clean-tech ecosystem and developed a dialogue about creating value to the society by fostering innovative green ventures. Climate-KIC partnership has increased the visibility of our inspiring green entrepreneurs, and we are excited to host and welcome you at the European finals of ClimateLaunchpad happening in Tallinn.”

The Regional Innovation Scheme helps regions kick-start low carbon innovation locally and significantly boost their capacity to implement the highest impact ideas. It also allows regions to access Climate-KIC’s mobility funding to ensure that talent – students, researchers, teaching staff and entrepreneurs have the opportunity to participate in the organisation’s activities around Europe.

Climate-KIC has today (25 April) launched a call to expand the reach of its RIS programme and is working with the European Commission and the European Regions Research and Innovation Network (ERRIN) to make the call known to regions across Europe.

“This call is an exciting opportunity for stakeholders in regions of Europe that have not yet been working with the EIT Community. I strongly encourage partnerships to apply the EIT RIS to participate in EIT activities, boost innovation in Europe and tackle climate change together with Climate-KIC and their network of leading partners,” says Martin Kern, EIT Interim Director.

Climate-KIC is looking for organisations from the private sector, public sector organisations such as regional or city development authorities or research and academic organisations to join its community, and shape its innovation, business creation and professional education portfolios.

Organisations that would like to represent their region can apply at


About Climate-KIC

Climate-KIC is the EU’s largest public private partnership addressing climate change through innovation to build a zero carbon economy.

We address climate change across four priority themes: urban areas, land use, production systems, climate metrics and finance. Education is at the heart of these themes to inspire and empower the next generation of climate leaders.

We run programmes for students, start-ups and innovators across Europe via centres in major cities, convening a community of the best people and organisations.

Our approach starts with improving the way people live in cities. Our focus on industry creates the products required for a better living environment, and we look to optimise land use to produce the food people need.

Climate-KIC is supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the European Union.

Media Contacts

General inquiries

Angela Howarth, Head of Communications, Climate-KIC

+44 (0) 7872 850 084

Smart Sustainable Districts (SSD)


Brian Kilkelly, Climate-KIC

+44 (0) 7714 051216

Regional Innovation Scheme (RIS):


Mike Cherrett EIT RIS, Climate-KIC

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