Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Pre-announcement: Driving Urban Transition (DUT) partnership 2024

Apply for funding to address key urban challenges facing cities in the transition to a more sustainable economy.

Projects must include an applicant based at a UK research organisation eligible for UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) funding.

UK funding is only available for topics under the ‘15-minute city’ thematic area.

This funding opportunity has been co-created with the Driving Urban Transitions (DUT) partnership, which is co-funded with Horizon Europe.

Funding is available for three years.

This is a pre-announcement and the information may change. The funding opportunity will open on 2 September 2024. More information will be available on this page then.

Who can apply

The UK element of the transnational project must include an applicant who is based at a UK research organisation eligible for UKRI funding. UK applicants can be based at any organisation eligible for ESRC funding throughout the duration of the grant.

Check if you are eligible for research and innovation funding.

UK applicants can be at any academic career stage, but the project team must have a level of skills, knowledge and experience that is appropriate to the proposed project.

UK components may be submitted jointly by more than one UK applicant. In such cases, one person must be regarded as the UK National Contact Point (UK project lead) and take the lead responsibility for the conduct of the UK project component and the observance of ESRC and UKRI’s terms and conditions. Correspondence regarding the application and grant will be addressed to the UK National Contact Point (UK project lead) only and, in the case of any offer letter, to their research office.

Additional applicants making a significant contribution to the conduct of the project should be identified as co-applicants (project co-leads).

Business, third sector or government body co-applicants based in the UK can also be included on proposals as a project co-lead. Read about including project co-leads from business, third sector or government bodies for details of eligible organisations and costs. Co-applicants from these organisations cannot be the UK National Contact Point (UK project lead), meaning they can only be a co-applicant on a proposal involving another UK organisation that is eligible to be a UK National Contact Point (UK project lead) and are unable to be a main applicant.

ESRC’s international project co-lead policy does not apply to this funding opportunity.

Check full eligibility requirements in the UKRI budget and rules of eligibility document (UK annex) (PDF, 2MB) and on the DUT call 2024 website.

Project teams

Project teams must include partners from at least three different countries who are participating in the funding opportunity. At least two of these must be countries that are EU member states or associated to Horizon Europe.

Read further information on which countries and funding agencies are participating in this opportunity on the DUT website.

Individuals can only be involved as the lead for their organisation in two applications to this opportunity and may only be the main applicant for a consortium once.

All project teams must include at least one urban government authority. This can be in a funded or unfunded capacity.

What we're looking for

The DUT partnership focuses on three critical urban sectors (and their interrelationships) which are laid out in its roadmap as Transition Pathways.

The Transition Pathways are used as the framework for this funding opportunity. There are several topics defined under each pathway.

Since urban transition issues are intrinsically interconnected, proposals that address topics from more than one Transition Pathway are encouraged. However, each proposal needs to choose one topic in a Transition Pathway that is closest to their subject as a guide. The proposal will be evaluated against the scope of its main Transition Pathway. Crosscutting characteristics will be considered in the assessment.

UK funding will only be available for UK-led components of proposals that address the topics within the 15-minute City Transition Pathway (15mC TP).

15-minute City

Mobility provides city dwellers with essential opportunities to organise and satisfy their daily needs. However, at the same time, the mobility sector is responsible for several challenges to sustainability, such as high levels of greenhouse gas emissions, air and noise pollution, which are significantly worse in urban areas. In this context, the 15mC TP Pathway in DUT promotes concepts, evidence and interventions that support urban mobility transitions.

To make our cities more liveable, inclusive and climate-neutral, the focus is set on 15-minute neighbourhoods that recognise different urban contexts. The focus lies on knowledge creation, transferability and implementation. Multiple, diverging pathways are necessary for reaching sustainable mobility and transport in different contexts, applying place-sensitive approaches.

This funding opportunity aims to motivate efforts to extend beyond typical scenarios, encouraging projects that enhance experimentation and practical application. It seeks to address challenging obstacles in implementing the 15-minute City concept, and related fields of policy for urban mobility transitions.

It underscores the need to acknowledge diverse starting points for cities and adaptability among various social groups. It emphasises the significance of considering lifestyles, inclusiveness, social cohesion and social justice within the proposed ideas and proposals.

The 15mC TP topics in this funding opportunity are focused on innovations for inclusive and youth-centric mobility systems, system innovation and proximity policies for sustainable city-regions as well as evidence for the urban mobility transition through data and indicators for effective decision-making, which specifically encourages approaches across the three Transition Pathways.

The themes in the 15-mC TP are:

  • sustainable urban mobility
  • people-centred urban planning
  • smart logistics

The three topics within this pathway are:

  • 15mC topic one: advancing urban mobility: innovations for inclusive and youth-centric mobility systems
  • 15mC topic two: reconsidering urban mobility systems: towards system innovation and proximity policies for sustainable city regions
  • 15mC topic three: evidence for the urban mobility transition – data and indicators for effective decision-making

Read more about the transition pathways on the DUT website.

The UK research part of the project must be social science led (at least 50% within ESRC’s remit). However, we strongly encourage the inclusion of arts and humanities and engineering and physical science researchers in projects.

UK components must be predominantly research based, meaning the UK applicants should be conducting research that meets the wider project objectives, which could take a research or innovation approach.

Funding available

We aim to support five to seven projects. Up to £2,100,000 is available from UKRI for UK applicants within this funding opportunity. The full economic cost of the UK part of the project can be up to £400,000. ESRC, AHRC and EPSRC will typically fund 80% of the full economic cost.

Funding is available for additional eligible UK collaborators, including other research entities such as not for profit or public sector organisations. See the who can apply section. The inclusion of such collaborators is not mandatory for the UK but is strongly encouraged.

Please ensure you have read section five, project implementation in the funding opportunity text published on the DUT website to understand all the costs you need to include in your budget related to DUT programme activities that successful projects must engage with. For example, mandatory project events and support for the DUT knowledge hubs.

How to apply

You can find full information on the submission process on the DUT website when the funding opportunity launches on 2 September 2024.

We recommend you start your application early and that you check any eligibility queries with the UK contact points.

Your host organisation will also be able to provide advice and guidance.


The DUT partnership must receive the pre-proposal application by 14 November 2024 at midday UK time.

The deadline for full stage proposals is 24 April 2025.

You will not be able to apply after this time. Please leave enough time for your proposal to pass through your organisation’s submission route before this date.

You should ensure you are aware of and follow any internal institutional deadlines that may be in place.


Your application must also include the following attachments:

  • UK expenditure and additional information form, which will be available on this page under supporting documents when the funding opportunity launches on 2 September 2024

How we will assess your application

For this funding opportunity, a two-stage procedure will be adopted.

In the first stage, consortia are invited to submit pre-proposals.

A pre-proposal includes a description of the partners, concise project description of no more than 13 pages, and budget indications with limited details fulfilling national and regional requirements.

The pre-proposals declared to be eligible according to the transnational and national and regional criteria will be assessed by an expert panel. The panel will consist of recognised international experts in relevant fields, academics as well as practitioners and innovators, who can assess the scientific as well as the innovative and practical value of the pre-proposals. The funding agencies will appoint the panel. No external reviewers will be part of the assessment at this stage.

The expert panel will assess the pre-proposals using the evaluation criteria. At least three expert panel members will assess each pre-proposal. The expert panel will meet to discuss all pre-proposals, to produce an assessment report for each pre-proposal and ranking lists to advise the funding agencies responsible for the selection of pre-proposals.

Full proposals deemed eligible according to the transnational and national and regional criteria will be assessed by an international expert panel, as in the first stage.

At least four independent experts will evaluate each full proposal.

The expert panel will meet to discuss all proposals, to produce an assessment report for each full proposal and ranking lists of full proposals to be considered for funding by the funding agencies.

Evaluation criteria:

  • excellence – intellectual merit
  • impact and user engagement (societal and broader impacts of project results)
  • quality and efficiency of project implementation

Contact details

Get help with developing your proposal

For help and advice on costings and writing your proposal please contact your research office in the first instance, allowing sufficient time for your organisation’s submission process.

UK national contact point, for UK specific enquiries

General enquiries


Research or innovation queries within the remit of a single UK funder

Emily Bultitude and James Phillips, AHRC


Ajinkya Rao, EPSRC


Kim Fuggle and Ben Miller, ESRC


General enquiries for Driving Urban Transitions (DUT)


Please note that we are unable to provide additional funding opportunity information in advance of the full opportunity being published.

Additional info


The UK funders will host a webinar to specifically provide further information on the UK eligibility requirements.

More information on this will be updated in the future.

There will be two DUT organised information sessions:

  • 10 September 2024
  • 9 October 2024

More information about the DUT sessions, including timings and registration, will be made available on the DUT 2024 web page.


To facilitate the process of forming research consortia, the partnership is offering a matchmaking tool which is available on the DUT website.

See the DUT matchmaking tool.

This tool can be used by projects looking for partners and partners looking for projects.

ESRC data infrastructure

ESRC supports a range of data infrastructure. Where relevant, we encourage applicants to consider whether the use of these resources could add value to the project. Find information on finding and using ESRC datasets which are available across the UK.

Supporting documents

UKRI budget and rules of eligibility document (UK annex) (PDF, 2MB).

These two documents will be published when the funding opportunity fully launches on 2 September 2024:

  • UK expenditure and additional information form
  • equality impact assessment form

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