Frequently Asked Questions
What is the ICC call for Expressions of Interest or EOI?
ICC is a competitive challenge, open to eligible cities inside the EU. To take part in the ICC, cities must fill in and submit an Expression of Interest (EOI). Applications will be reviewed by an expert team of evaluators who will score EOIs based on pre-defined evaluation criteria.
How can I apply for the ICC?
Applications to ICC can only be made by completing and submitting the ICC Expression of Interest form online. To access the online platform you will need to register on the homepage at the Apply section. You can also find a copy of the EOI form to download and prepare your application. However all answers and annexes will need to be submitted through the online form.
Will the deadline for applications be postponed because of Covid-19?
Given the difficult situation currently faced by European countries with the spread of COVID-19, the deadline for the submission for the ICC Expressions of Interest has been extended to the 29th of May 2020. Accordingly, the deadline for the pre-screening of applications is extended to the 18th of May 2020, and we have added new webinar dates which will be communicated on the website shortly. The situation will continue to be monitored and any further updates will be communicated on our website. For DCC cities, the deadline has been extended until the 22nd of May 2020.
Can I save my EOI and come back to it?
You will be able to save your application at every step of the way and come back to it at a later stage. You will need to log back into your user profile to return to your application. To do so, just click Log in and enter your user details. On your user dashboard click Go to EOI form. You can adjust your application until the 29th of May. Submitting your application for a pre-screening means that your draft application will be temporarily locked until the team has finished pre-screening. You can then resume editing.
When should I request a pre-screening?
The pre-screening option is for fully completed applications only. We look at the completeness of the application as a whole to make sure that it is eligible. If you would like to discuss specific areas of the sections of your application, you are welcome to email the Helpdesk at email@example.com and we will get back to you quickly. Don’t forget to consult the selection criteria in the Guide for applicants as well as the detailed instructions in the EoI word form to get a good understanding of what we look for in each section.
Is there a limit to the number of topics to choose from?
You can select up to four different city goals you would like to focus your EoI and involvement of the ICC in. You can of course focus on 1 or 2 mainly, but we do ask at this stage that you select up to four in section 1 of the EoI, for the purpose of building preliminary thematic networks.
Are there any restrictions regarding the annexes?
Overall, you should attach any documentation which you feel is relevant for your application, demonstrating your interest and ability to take part in the ICC. All annexes must be provided in English in order to ensure the evaluator of your EoI is able to understand them. In addition, please make sure your reference the Annex in the main body of the EoI so that the evaluator knows who to use it in the appraisal process. You can upload up to 22 pages of annexes.
How will I know that my application has been received?
You will receive a confirmation email once you have successfully submitted your EOI. However, this receipt will not be proof that the Expression of Interest is eligible for evaluation.
When and how will applicants receive the results of the EOI?
EOIs which are deemed not eligible will be automatically notified upon the closing of the EOI submission period. Remaining applications will be notified of the final results during the third week of May. Feedback sheets will be provided to all applicants at the end of May at the latest. All decisions are final and cannot be appealed.
How can I delete my account?
To delete your account log into your account. On your user dashboard click My profile. This will take you to your profile page. Click Edit. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click Cancel account.
Budget and expected contributions
What investment of resources is expected from cities participating in the ICC?
The ICC will cover all travel and accommodation costs for the city teams, as well as the costs of allocated experts during the challenge. Cities are expected to allocate resources to managing, implementing and following up on the different activities and goals defined in the framework of the project. This means providing a dedicated local project manager and two advisors from the local ecosystem (approx. 2 days per week per city official). This time and Level of Effort is indicative, and it can also be linked to the implementation of a broader set of activities or projects that are (in)directly linked to the ICC. The ICC should be seen as a driver of activities and efforts which were already being undertaken by your city. The ICC will also cover travel and accommodation expenses for mentor city representatives.
How long will the ICC last?
The Intelligent Cities Challenge has a total duration of 25 months, running from June 2020 to July 2022. Selected cities are expected to remain engaged in the ICC throughout this time.
Is the dedication of two days per week permanent throughout the project or will some weeks be busier than others?
Please note that the 2 days a week is an indicative level of effort suggested by the ICC team. It is in no way mandatory. City officials can organize their time as they see fit. Based on the previous experience of the Digital Cities Challenge, we can say that the workload is flexible, and fairly evenly spread out with some weeks busier than others (before submitting a deliverable or taking part in an event for example). However you wish to organize your time, we do request a regular and active commitment on the part of city officials.
Cities, city consortia & partner search
What types of cities does the ICC call for Expression of Interest target?
The ICC call for EOIs seeks to collect applications from EU cities who wish to become ICC EU mentee cities. ICC wishes to work with cities of Intermediate size (i.e. small and medium sized cities), with medium levels of maturity when it comes to the adoption of digital technologies for sustainable development, but which display a high level of potential to achieve transformative change in the short term. The ICC call for EOIs is open to individual municipalities or city governments, or other forms of local governments such as city districts covering several neighbouring cities or municipalities may also apply to the ICC as long as they meet the eligibility criteria. If you have a doubt about whether your local government qualifies to apply to the ICC, write to our helpdesk at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are other organisations, apart from cities, also eligible?
Only local government organisations (e.g. cities) are eligible to apply. Other organisations, such as SMEs or universities for instance, may support your ICC application. They can submit letters of support for your application. They are not formal “applicants”. Neither the lead city applicant, nor other ICC partners will be receiving funding, so the partner-subcontractor distinction does not apply to the ICC. For more information on the eligibility criteria, please refer to the ICC Handbook. If you have a doubt regarding whether a certain type of local government is eligible to apply, please submit the question to the helpdesk at email@example.com.
What are the requirements in terms of the number of inhabitants for a consortium?
As indicated in our guidelines, you must be a city with over 50.000 inhabitants to submit an EOI application as a stand-alone applicant. If you are a city with under 50.000 inhabitants, you may only apply as part of a city consortium. It is recommended that the consortium has over 50.000 inhabitants in total.
What is expected when forming a city consortium?
Cities must identify their partners to create city consortia on their own. The ICC has not established a partner search tool. Cities applying in consortia can choose to apply with partner cities they have an existing cooperation with, or cities that are part of a same structural network (federation of cities). The ICC is looking for consortia of cities that are rather compact, with pre-existing relations, or that have something in common. We expect a clear rationale for why you are applying as a consortia (themes, rejects which you intend to collaboratively work on together).
What is required from city consortia in terms of project management?
For city consortia, your EoI should identify:
- One representative from the lead organisation who will act as the consortium coordinator.
- One local coordinator for each of the participating cities.
- Two representatives from eco-system organisations for each one of the participating cities (so not 2 per consortium but 2 per city)
How many cities need to be part of the consortium?
There is no fixed number on how many cities can constitute a city consortium. We recommend that it should be of a manageable size. We are looking for consortiums that demonstrate capacity and willingness to work together.
What is the difference between a stand-alone application and a city consortium application?
Cities can apply individually (i.e. stand-alone applications) or as member of a group of cities called ICC city consortia (this does not apply to districts which should apply as stand-alone cities) . City consortia can be one of the following:
- A group of cities joining an ad hoc city consortium made up for the purposes of this EoI
- A group of cities located in a single EU region belonging to a formal network or federation of cities (e.g. members of the Andalucía Federation of Municipalities and Provinces).
- A group of cities belonging to a formally constituted common thematic network (e.g. network of coastal cities)
If cities decide to apply as a consortium, only the lead organisation will need to submit an EoI on behalf of all members, listing the names of the individual cities which make up the consortium. The EoI should be submitted using the same on-line submissions system as for stand-alone applications. Applicants must read carefully the instructions for each of the sections of the EoI to be prepared, in order to identify the information to be provided at the consortium level. In addition, consortia will have to provide a joint letter of support signed by the mayors of all of the participating cities; as well as a letter of commitment signed on behalf of the lead organisation. The lead organization of the consortium can be one of the member cities of the consortium, or a third party such as network or federation. The lead organisation will also have to identify and designate a consortium coordinator in charge of overseeing all consortium-level ICC activities.
I am a returning DCC city, previously involved in the Digital Cities Challenge. Is the process the same for me?
No, the process is different. DCC cities are not asked to complete an EOI application, as entrant ICC cities are required to do. They are invited to take part in the ICC via an exclusive email invitation from the European Commission. DCC cities are asked to fill in a short questionnaire regarding their progress in implementing the DCC, priorities, interests and preferred strategic orientations for taking part in the ICC. DCC cities are also asked to attach a letter of Commitments from the City Mayor as well as the Resumes of involved team members.
Experts and ICC language
How will regional specialists be chosen?
Once the ICC participant cities are chosen, the ICC puts together a team of three experts which provide tailored support to the city through the ICC. The city team is free to suggest experts which may be taken into consideration. The general rule of thumb is that the experts are people who speak the native city language. They will be fluent in English too. To the extent possible, the ICC tries to put together teams that are well acquainted with the country and the region they are working with. The ICC mobilises experts with a good level of expertise in relation to the city’s policy goals. At the end of the day, the ICC ensures that the city feels comfortable with its team of experts. An introduction process is organized once the expert are selected.
What language is required for the ICC?
All interactions in the context of the ICC will take place in English. The individuals who make up your city team should be fluent in English and able to produce deliverables and present presentations during conferences in English. However, all activities taking place locally can be done in the local language. Your assigned expert team will be fluent in your local language and have a good understanding of the national context.
I would like to join the ICC as an expert, what should I do?
The ICC project relies on a vast network of experts for assisting cities throughout the Challenge. Having said that, and given the variety of cities we will be working with, there may be some gaps where additional external experts are needed, beyond what our existing network covers. If you are interested to join as an expert, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include in this email in what EU country/ countries you have work experience and what your language skills are, so we can take this into account. You will then be included in the pool and will be informed if there are any opportunities for you to work with one of the selected cities.
ICC Team Composition
What people would be suitable as advisors from the local ecosystem to make up the local ICC team?
Information on the selection criteria for the selection of the team leader and advisors is available in the Applicant guidelines. The ICC is looking for people who do not belong to the applicant organisation. Instead they should be members of the city ecosystem (people partnering with the city and making the ICC a reality) such as universities, research organizations, chambers of commerce, private sector enterprises (SMEs, start-ups), local clusters. Local ecosystem members are key stakeholders that help drive the process forward.
What is the application process for cities outside of the EU?
Non-EU cities interested in joining the ICC as mentor or mentee should reach out to us directly to express interest (please contact the Helpdesk at email@example.com). More information regarding the engagement process for non-EU cities will be provided in the next two weeks. We encourage you to visit our website regularly for updates.
Can UK cities participate in the ICC?
UK cities that were already part of the DCC, are welcome to join the ICC through the DCC city sign up process - intelligentcitieschallenge.eu/dccapplication. Unfortunately, UK cities are not eligible to apply as ICC EU mentee cities. UK cities may instead apply to join as one of the ten international cities of the ICC.
Letter of support and CVs
Is it required that a city mayor signs the letter of support?
To the extent possible, letters of support should be signed by the City Mayor. Letters of support signed by a high-level responsible official within the municipality may also be accepted in case your city is unable to secure a letter signed by the mayor (e.g. upcoming elections, transition period etc). Overall, the more evidence city’s present of having institutional support and support from elected representatives for their application, the stronger the application will be.
Is there a template for the letter of support?
There is no specific format to follow for the letter of intent from the mayor, you can structure this as you wish, as long as it shows the support from the mayor.
Should the Europass format be used for the CVs?
Applicants may use whichever CV format is preferred including Europass format.
How will you create the mentee and mentor duos?
Mentor cities will be working with a number of cities in the ICC mentee network. Mentor cities can be European or non-European. ICC mentee cities can choose which mentors they work with. Those relationships will be developed on an organic and voluntary basis. At this point in time, applicants are not asked to identify which mentor they want to work with as this network is still in the process of being developed.
What kind of support will be provided by the mentor cities?
Cities receive different forms of support during the duration of the challenge:
- Support from the allocated city experts (experts with experience in your city, in your thematic areas, etc). These experts work only with your city, and accompany you throughout the whole process, preparing for the meetings and drafting the deliverables;
- Support from the ICC mentor cities: these cities at advanced stages in intelligent transformation provide their more general advice and experience in relation to some of the key thematic areas of the ICC during events.
- You will also be engaging with EU mentee city peers throughout the duration of the challenge who will also provide their experience and advice on a less formal basis.
How should mentor cities apply?
If you’re thinking of joining as a mentor city, there is no formal process: you can reach out to us directly through the Helpdesk indicating your interest. The Helpdesk can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can I change the webinar I signed up for?
To change the webinar you have registered for log into your account. On your user dashboard click My profile. This will take you to your profile page. Click Edit to change any of your user details, including password or selecting another webinar you would like to sign up for. Click Save to confirm the change.
Where can I find out more about the ICC?
To find out more about ICC:
- Download the Guide for Applicants from the homepage;
- Contact the helpdesk by using the form below. You are able to submit your questions in 23 EU languages to our helpdesk. Rapid replies will be provided in English within 24 hours (except for weekends and holidays);
- Or sign up for one of our four informative Webinars scheduled to help participants familiarise themselves with the ICC as well as the EOI process. We strongly encourage all interested applicants to take part in at least one of these webinar sessions. You can find the dates and register for a webinar on the homepage.