Call for competency groups



Nature is our best ally in combating climate change so it’s high time to incorporate it back into our cities. You can make your city more resilient and equitable by tapping into the natural systems and processes that regulate the climate, which nature has developed over a timespan much longer than humans! This approach is called Nature-Based Solutions (NBS).

The European-funded project UPSURGE develops a framework called the ‘EU Regenerative Urban Lighthouse’ that will guide cities on how to incorporate evidence-based natural solutions to achieve optimal outcomes in the regulation of urban air quality conditions and micro-climate; reducing residents’ exposure to environmental stressors. The project will provide fit for problem NBS together with supportive digital and governance solutions for urban space regeneration that will be deployed and tested in 5 real life demo cities: Maribor (Slovenia), Katowice (Poland), Budapest (Hungary), Breda (Netherlands) and Belfast (Northern Ireland).
Implementing NBS that work with an impact requires local problem solvers to come together and work in a co-creation process to co design, co-implement and co-monitor the solutions with focus on local context. For that purpose, we are now establishing Competency Groups.

Are you an expert dealing with air pollution, climate change or nature-based solutions?

Do you want to get involved in development, implementation and assessment of fit for purpose nature-based climate solutions in your city?

Are you interested in collaborating with experts from different fields and other cities across Europe?

Join the UPSURGE Competency Group to provide your consultative expert advice!

What is your role in the Competency Group?

  • Articulate your experience-based knowledge in order to make the UPSURGE work as practical and sustainable as possible
  • Create regional tasks and fit-for-purpose solutions together with other experts (co-creation)
  • Help to shape and facilitate the implementation of innovative ideas for your city
  • Support the verification of NBS models and UPSURGE solutions against the UPSURGE criteria: Eco-sensitisation, social benefits of NBS, Gender-based NBS, NBS economic opportunities, enabling NBS-supporting political capital
  • Explore future actions to shape UPSURGE lighthouse services
  • Present the results to interested stakeholders (e.g. local residents, organizations, city representatives) and obtains feedback from them
  • Participate in regular meetings with the other CG members and in annual joint meeting with the members of the other five Competency Groups from Maribor, Katowice, Budapest, Breda and Belfast.

What are your benefits of participating?

Participating in the EU-funded project can give you the opportunity…

  • to gain new or exchange knowledge in the field of NBS
  • to network with other professionals in their field, which can lead to new collaborations, partnerships, and business opportunities
  • to get new input from the Competency Group members of other participating UPSURGE cities
  • to get recognition and credibility within your field
  • to contribute to address different challenges, which can have a positive impact and can enhance the quality of life in your neighbourhood and city
  • to participate in the decision on how the project resources are spent wisely

What are the requirements for you?

  • Interest in nature-based solutions and sustainable development of your city
  • Interest in open-innovation and co-creation processes
  • Competence in one of the UPSURGE criteria:
    • Eco-sensitisation: Eco-sensitisation refers to the process of raising awareness and promoting understanding of ecological issues and fostering environmentally responsible behaviour. In UPSURGE we will be defining a baseline and monitor the change of citizen’s attitude towards more environmentally sensitive and responsible behaviour.
    • Social benefits of NBS: When effectively communicated, acknowledged, and embraced by citizens, nature-based solutions (NBS) have the potential to deliver several social benefits, including improved health and well-being, enhanced quality of life, and increased social interaction and community engagement. Through the UPSURGE project, we will assess the social acceptance and impact of the demonstrated nature-based solutions (NBS), with a particular focus on addressing social inequities and promoting fair access and opportunities. Our goal is to foster sustainable behaviours that support NBS and contribute to a community that is healthier and happier.
    • Gender-based NBS: Nature-based solutions (NBS) can have implications on gender by promoting equal access to and involvement in decision-making processes related to green spaces, ensuring women’s safety in urban parks, and providing economic opportunities through green jobs, such as sustainable agriculture or eco-tourism. Throughout the project, we will examine how the demonstrated nature-based solutions (NBS) impact gender issues, including addressing gender-based disadvantages, gender-based violence, unequal access to resources, limited representation, and cultural practices that perpetuate discrimination based on gender.
    • NBS economic opportunities: Implementing nature-based solutions (NBS) extends beyond urban greening; they have the potential to generate economic opportunities, such as creating jobs and fostering economic growth. In the UPSURGE project, we will explore these economic opportunities by collaborating with business partners to develop and test innovative business models and financing mechanisms for nature-based solutions (NBS).
    • Enabling NBS-supporting political capital: Enabling NBS-supporting political capital refers to the process of creating favourable political conditions and resources to promote the implementation and advancement of Nature-Based Solutions (NBS). In the UPSURGE project, our objective is to foster political support for nature-based solutions (NBS). We aim to surpass the mere recognition of NBS and their inclusion in strategic objectives by determining how to effectively incorporate NBS into policies with clear, measurable, and quantifiable targets. For example, if there is an urban air pollution mitigation plan with the target to reduce emission over a specific period of time, NBS should be included as a measurable solution to achieve this target.
  • Personal geographic reference to demo location/city
  • English language skills, both written and spoken
  • Willingness to participate in the project on a long-term basis
  • Willingness to travel e.g. visiting other demo cities, joint CG meetings, etc.
  • Participation in:
    • Kick-Off workshop
    • CG-meetings every 6 months
    • Further meetings of sub-working groups on different topics
    • Annual meeting of all five Competency Groups from Maribor, Katowice, Budapest, Breda and Belfast: The participation is not paid, travel costs are covered.
    • Other visits to demo cities or travel activities in the line of the project

To apply for the CG, to fill out the Competency Groups Application Form and email this form to the Process Manager in your UPSURGE city/district!

The application deadline is on 2023/06/30

Download the Application Form here.

Contact details of the process managers of the UPSURGE demo locations:

  • Belfast
    o Process Manager: Alan Wardle
    o E-Mail:
    o Phone: +447825573480
  • BP18 Budapest
    o Process Manager: Korpos Enikő
    o E-Mail:
    o Phone: +361-296-1300 *1231
  • Doornbos-Linie Breda
    o Process Manager: Judith Römer
    o E-Mail:
    o Phone: +31630582500
  • Katowice
    o Process Manager: Lech Marek
    o E-Mail:
    o Phone: +4832-2517751
  • Maribor
    o Process Manager: Matjaž Fras
    o E-Mail:
    o Phone: +38623331300

Further information on the UPSURGE Competency Groups can be found in the Terms of References.

Download the Terms of References here.