EIT Climate-KIC and EIT Digital launch FedEx-sponsored Climate Impact Challenge

EU Cities invited to apply for seed-funding to implement sustainable mobility solutions


EIT Climate-KIC and EIT Digital have announced an open call for submissions in the first edition of a Sustainable Climate Impact Challenge for Cities. Made possible via a charitable grant from express transportation provider, FedEx, applicants are invited to request seed funding from EIT Digital, to facilitate the implementation of solutions and accelerate the transition of EU cities towards cleaner, greener, and smarter mobility.

City councils, municipalities or local authorities in the EU Member States, Horizon Europe associated countries, the United Kingdom and Switzerland, are all eligible to submit proposals. Together, Climate-KIC and EIT Digital will review submissions and select up to three innovative projects that seek to decarbonise transport in European cities and accelerate the uptake of sustainable mobility solutions. Proposals should specifically align with Europe’s climate agenda, including the EU Mission 100 Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities by 2030”” and will be evaluated based on their potential for impact, learning and replicability.

Seed grants of between $50,000 and $75,000 will be passed on by EIT Digital to support pilot projects or programs of work with start-ups, small businesses or non-governmental organisations that are developing innovative solutions to overcome specific mobility challenges.

“Asking cities to achieve climate neutrality by 2030 demands pushing the boundaries with businesses, supply chains, logistics and infrastructure, finance partners, policy makers and city governments simultaneously – working together to make innovation more effective at scale,” said Kirsten Dunlop, CEO of EIT Climate-KIC. “When global companies like FedEx choose to sponsor initiatives like this, they offer a valuable financial kick-start for cities looking to implement or pilot physical solutions or explore digital innovations that might open up a host of new possibilities.”

Urban areas consume over 65 percent of the world’s energy, accounting for more than 70 percent of CO2 emissions. Measures to reduce such emissions at local level can make all the difference in the pursuit of climate change mitigation and sustainable economic growth. As more European cities pledge to rapidly cut carbon emissions, the decarbonisation of transport plays a crucial role in the transition to a net-zero carbon society. Driving Europe’s climate and digital transitions, EIT Climate-KIC and EIT Digital are uniquely positioned to help cities develop and implement innovative projects shaping the sustainable design of future urban centres.

“Digital technology will play an essential role in decarbonising our cities. Progressive digital solutions will help to make mobility and transport sustainable and improve the quality of life for our citizens. EIT Digital is thrilled to have this support from FedEx and a close collaboration with EIT Climate-KIC, to identify projects in European cities that can serve as an example for global cities of the future,” said Willem Jonker, CEO of EIT Digital.

“FedEx has a long history of collaborating with non-profits and providing funding to projects that help to deliver safer, more accessible, and more sustainable transport. While we remain focused operationally on both safety and sustainability in our network, our charitable giving platform, FedEx Cares, allows us to collaborate with charity organisations and cities seeking to promote sustainable mobility more broadly. This contribution will help to implement projects that will improve the liveability of European cities and allow us to support transport decarbonisation beyond our own business,” said Vinay D’Souza, Senior Vice President Planning and Engineering, FedEx Express Europe.

The transport provider announced its own plan to achieve global carbon-neutral operations in March 2021 including an initial $2bn investment in electrification of its FedEx Express pick up and delivery fleet, upscaling use of renewable energy, and advancing scientific solutions to sequester hard-to-abate carbon emissions – such as those generated by aviation.

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Applications remain open until 13 November 2022