Call for proposals for a synthesis essay

The Nordic Programme on Sustainable Urban Development and Smart Cities is a collaborative effort between the Academy of Finland; Formas - a Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development; Forte: the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare; the Swedish Energy Agency; the Research Council of Norway; and NordForsk.

The aim of the Nordic Programme on Sustainable Urban Development and Smart Cities is to promote co-operation between knowledge communities in the Nordic countries in order to enhance opportunities and address challenges relating to sustainable urban development and smart cities. The primary objectives of the programme are to enhance Nordic research collaboration and to fund excellent research with impact within and beyond academia. The programme seeks to develop innovative and interdisciplinary analyses and methods in studies of urban development, smart cities, and the application of essential knowledge for successful implementation.

The programme is now issuing a call for proposals for a synthesis essay that describes the main results of the four projects under the programme. The objective of the synthesis essay is to map significant advances in urban planning processes and reflect on their usefulness to urban planners and citizens.

The synthesis essay should take into account the following:

1. Overarching perspectives of the programme:

  • Integration of different dimensions of urban sustainability in the framework of the UN Sustainable Development Goals
  • Co-production – a means of expanding research activities to bridge gaps between knowledge, understanding, and action

2. Targeted themes of the programme:

  • Challenges to basic human needs (e.g. water, food, renewable energy, waste management, and fossil-free transport systems) and scaling of their integrated solutions
  • Inclusiveness and equal opportunities as preconditions for human well-being and sense of identity
  • Heritage, decision structures, and planning processes
  • Physical, mental and economic barriers, segregation, and urban structures
  • Global change (including climate change) and local urban life
  • The balance of power and shared understanding in urban planning and housing

3. The outcomes of the mid-term reports and their evaluation (the NordForsk administration will provide access to the publications).

Financial framework

Applicants are invited to apply for funding to establish a project with a budget of a maximum of NOK 1.5 million and a duration of up to 11 months. The project will write a synthesis essay describing the key results of the Programme and communicate them to the key stakeholders. The intention is to provide funding for one project under this call.

The NordForsk board will make the funding decision, which will be announced in January 2024.


Kyösti Lempa

Kyösti Lempa