NetZeroCities: 20M€ to support EU Cities to achieve ‘climate neutrality’

NetZeroCities supports Europe and in particular European cities to drastically cut down greenhouse gas emissions through climate action to achieve ‘climate neutrality’, one of the biggest challenges our societies face today. The OC2 opened on September 5th and will close on November 6th at 17.00 CET.

About the NetZeroCities project

NetZeroCities is part of the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme in support of  European Union’s Green Deal. NetZeroCities has been designed to help cities overcome the current structural, institutional and cultural barriers they face in order to achieve climate neutrality by 2030. NetZeroCities supports the EU’s Mission of “100 Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities by 2030” newly-launched as part of the Horizon Europe programme. The project works as a service-oriented platform supported by world-class practitioners. It helps European cities by providing them with the support and solutions they need to achieve their Net Zero goal in a socially inclusive way.

New and existing tools, resources and expertise are developed and promoted into a one-stop platform accessible to all cities through an online portal. Dedicated services are designed to support cities that are part of the EU’s Mission “100 Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities by 2030”. In addition, NetZeroCities supports a series of Pilots to help drive rapid learning about how to achieve climate neutrality at city scale, and will run a Twinning programme to enable peer-learning.

NetZeroCities 2nd Open Call Details

The aim of the selected cohort of Pilot Cities is to explore and test pathways to accelerated change towards 2030 climate neutrality goals — relevant to a city’s key emission domains — and to generate accelerated learning that can inform subsequent replication and scaling efforts in all other EU cities.

Cities will aim to achieve breakthroughs in overcoming entrenched barriers in emissions reduction, driving towards “tipping points” in deploying a range of solutions relevant to the local context, and enabling accelerated mutual and peer learning both locally and across Europe.

The NZC Pilot Cities Programme will support piloting activities aiming at a larger scale to deploy and scale systemic solutions, exploiting R&I outcomes, and combining social, cultural, technological, nature-based, regulatory, and financial innovation, and new business and governance models to underpin the climate transition.

The selection of Pilot Cities to join the existing portfolio will result in multiple pilot-activity-types, each of which generates a different test of change and proves diverse types of pathways – as such, a cohort of diverse pilots.


Only local authorities or city administrations selected to be part of EU Mission for climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030 (Mission Cities) are eligible to apply to, and receive funding under, this Call.

A group of Mission Cities (national or trans-national) may apply together in a consortium, however one of the Mission Cities will have to be designated as the consortium leader for all administrative and process-related purposes.

Other organisations could also participate as members of a consortium led by a Mission City. These organisations could be, for example: research institutions, universities, SMEs, NGOs, associations, citizen groups or other relevant stakeholders involved in the implementation of the climate ambitions of a Mission City participating in the consortium.


The NZC Pilot Cities Programme will identify European cities or districts to test and implement innovative approaches, exploiting and building upon existing and past R&I outcomes/solutions towards rapid decarbonisation over a two-year pilot programme, working across thematic areas and functional silos in support of transforming systems.

  • Pioneering activities to support climate-neutrality.
  • Systemic, science-based innovative initiatives that strengthen cities’ use of scientific research.
  • Activities to support climate-neutrality to establish new knowledge and build capacity and capabilities of city government and associated local actors.
  • Activities aiming to build more collaborative communities


The sole entry point for all application submissions to the Pilot Cities Call is https://netzerocities.eu/pilot-cities-programme/. Applications must be submitted in English and before the official deadline: 6th November, 17:00 CET.


The total available budget under this call is between a minimum of 12 million and a maximum 20 million Euros (EUR). The funding will be allocated across three subgrant envelopes as follows:

  • 500,000 – 600,000 EUR: proposals with a minimum of one city/district plus at least one additional consortium partner (NB: the additional consortium partner may be another eligible Mission city/district).
  • 1,000,000 EUR: proposals with a minimum of two cities/districts, plus any additional consortium partners.
  • 1,500,000 EUR: proposals with a minimum of three cities/districts plus any additional consortium partners.

Funding for the selected projects will be made available in tranches subject to progress monitoring and risk mitigation, with foreseen 50% of prefinancing, followed by 40% within 30 days of the approval of the first reporting milestone and up to 10% of final balancing payment within 30 days from the approval of the final reports. The final amounts are subject to satisfactory reporting and total declared costs submitted by the projects.


NetZeroCities Open Call Timeline


For further questions and clarifications, you may check and address the following ways:

  1. Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]
  2. Guidelines for applicants [LINK]
  3. Proposal template [LINK]

Call Launch & Technical info

Eligibility Assessment & Submission

How can SPLORO support your organisation with cascade funding grants?

We want to help you make these type of calls more accessible for your organisation. That is why we have designed a series of services to maximise your opportunities of receiving cascade funding grants:

  • Identification and analysis of funding opportunities: our team monitors all open calls and make a first check on the eligibility of your organization.
  • Proposals writing and submission management: we support you to land that idea that you have in mind and adapt it to the requirements of the call. In addition, we carry out the management and upload on the different platforms of all the necessary documentation to ensure that your project is eligible for the call.
  • Access to international network: if you have not identified a partner yet, or simply don’t know who to start this adventure with, in consortium projects we take care of finding the partner for your project.
  • Project management support: our service does not end with uploading the documentation, we help you throughout the full life cycle of the project, providing you management support and ensuring that you receive 100% of the grant you have won.

If you want to discover all the Cascade Funding opportunities we have created a dedicated webpage that maps out all available calls. We invite you to check it out and see what is on offer! We also have a free-subscription newsletter to be up to date with all the calls opening.

If you need assistance in the proposal writing preparation, finding the right partners for the call or even having a double-check on what you are currently preparing, do not hesitate to contact us

If you are, on the other hand, managing a cascade grant and want us to promote your call and do a review of this nature, feel free to contact, we can definitely address the topic and help with dissemination within our networks.

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