• Five scoping studies commissioned by ESRC on research priorities in cities-related social science: ‘Civil Society, Inequality and Exclusion’ (Diana Mitlin), ‘Economics and Finance’ (Henry Overman), ‘Governance and Government in an Age of Austerity’ (Michael Parkinson), ‘Urban Informatics and Big Data’ (Mike Batty) and ‘Urban Resilience’ (Jon Coaffee).
• ‘Developing and Narrating the ESRC Urban Transformations programme: Research Priorities and the City’: following consultation with a select panel of experts, this report for the ESRC recommended that research funding should prioritise cities research that was interdisciplinary, working across urban professional interests, multi-scalar, internationally comparative and future oriented.
• First ESRC Urban Transformations Research Call opened: four successful projects were announced in 2015, focusing in particular in governance and structural change in the UK and elsewhere.
• Scoping workshops on international urban research: these were held with potential funding partners in India, South Africa, Brazil and China
• Formal announcement of the first ESRC-funded programmes included in the Urban Transformations portfolio: this included a total of 23 projects on different elements of urban research.
• Scoping of an interdisciplinary call on the ‘grand challenge’ of Urban Living: Urban Transformation consultancy was commissioned by the seven Research Councils and Innovate UK.
• ESRC and National Natural Science Foundation (NNSF) of China Newton Call for Collaborative Research – Urban Transformations in China opened: three projects were subsequently awarded ESRC funding.
• ESRC-National Research Foundation Newton Call for Collaborative Research: Urban Transformations in South Africa opened: four projects were subsequently launched with ESRC funding in early 2016.
• Healthy Urban Living and the Social Science of the Food-Water-Energy Nexus – UK-Brazil Calls for Collaborative Research: four projects received funding, beginning in early 2016: four projects received funding, beginning in early 2016.
• ESRC Urban Transformations and Foresight Future of Cities Knowledge Exchange Fellowship: Nicola Headlam was appointed, holding the post until May 2017 before being seconded to the Northern Powerhouse as a strategy lead. The post supported coordination within the Urban Transformations portfolio and also with the Foresight Future of Cities programme.
• RCUK-Innovate UK Urban Living Partnership Call for Pilot Phrase opened: following scoping with stakeholders including Urban Transformations coordinator Michael Keith, five projects were announced in May 2016.
• JPI Urban ERA-NET Cofund Smart Urban Futures Call (ENSUF) opened: the projects were announced in December 2016, including eight ESRC-funded projects incorporated into the Urban Transformations portfolio.
• ESRC Future Cities Catapult Mid-Career Fellowship announced: the selected candidate, Paul Cowie, works with Urban Transformations and the Future Cities Catapult to strengthen urban partnerships among government, academic and business stakeholders in the UK.
• ‘Urban Governance and Its Discontents’: this conference, jointly organised with the Oxford Programme for the Future of Cities, was held in Oxford in February and brought together a wide range of urban thinkers and practitioners from the UK and internationally.
• ‘Bridging European Urban Transformations’: Memorandum of Understanding signed between Urban Transformations and the Brussels Centre for Urban Studies (BCUS) at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) for a series of workshops, ‘Bridging European Urban Transformations’. Between November 2016 and February 2018, four events exploring smart cities, urban living labs, migration and the urban commons are held in Brussels with portfolio researchers and European partners.
• Urban Living Partnerships: five funded projects from the RCUK-Innovate UK call are launched, based in Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Newcastle and Gateshead, and York.
• Habitat III: Urban Transformations engaged in a range of activities during the Habitat III conference in Quito, Ecuador, in October. This includes organising a side event, ‘Transforming Research into Practices and Policies: Dialogues on Implementation and Evaluation of the New Urban Agenda’.
• JPI Urban Sustainable Global Initiative (SUGI)/Food-Water-Energy (FEW) Nexus Call opened: the funding decisions were announced in late 2017, including seven ESRC-funded programmes incorporated into the Urban Transformations portfolio.
• ‘The Urban Lens: Research Ecosystem, Innovation and Interdisciplinary research – The Urban Living Global Challenge: A Prospectus’: this report, by Michael Keith and Nicola Headlam, presented the opportunities of extending the Urban Living Grand Challenge internationally in the light of GCRF funding.
• ‘Migration and Urban Transformation: Boundaries in an Age of Resentment’: Urban Transformations hosts a series of seminars in Oxford between January and March, showcasing a range of talks around cities, migration and belonging.
• The Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR)-ESRC Newton Call for Collaborative Research on Urban Transformations in India opened: In April 2018, five new projects are announced with ESRC funding.
• ‘Comparative International Urban and Living Labs – The Urban Living Global Challenge: A Prospectus’: this comprehensive survey of the global landscape of urban and living labs, commissioned by the seven Research Councils and Innovate UK to inform the development of the Urban Living programme, was authored by Michael Keith and Nicola Headlam.
• Building Capacity for the Future City in Developing Countries (PEAK Urban): this ambitious programme, led by Urban Transformations coordinator Michael Keith, is launched. This applies many of the key insights around interdisciplinary and global approaches, with collaborations between academics in China, Colombia, India, South Africa and the UK.
• ‘Research and Metropolitan Health in Unequal Cities‘: Urban Transformations co-hosts a seminar in Rio de Janeiro with Brazilian partners, showcasing some of the ESRC-funded research in Brazil. The event also provided the basis for the forthcoming volume Urban Transformations and Public Health in the Emergent City, to be published in 2020 with Manchester University Press (MUP).
• JPI Urban Europe and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) Sustainable and Liveable Cities and Urban Areas Call opened: the projects were subsequently announced in 2019, including six ESRC-funded projects now included in the Urban Transformations portfolio.
• ‘Cities in Transition: Unequal Innovation in African Cities’: Urban Transformations hosted a workshop in Cape Town, South Africa, presenting some of the research of ESRC-funded projects in African cities. Many contributions will subsequently feature in a forthcoming volume to be published in 2020 with MUP.
• ‘The Good City: Urban Transformation, Comparison and Value’: this three-day event brought together researchers from the portfolio with other prominent academics and practitioners to explore some of the key challenges in cities across the world. The conference provided many researchers within the Urban Transformations portfolio to present the findings of their research.
• ‘City Futures and Contemporary Urban Research’: Urban Transformations co-hosts an event in Beijing with the Kaifeng Foundation, featuring Urban Transformations project researchers focusing on China.
• JPI Urban Europe Urban Migration Call opened: this call was announced in December and will include projects from UK partners on urban migration research.
• JPI Urban Europe ERA-NET Cofund Urban Accessibility and Connectivity (ENUAC) Call opened: this call was announced in December for proposals for research on urban mobility and connectivity, and will include UK stakeholders.
• ‘Urban Futures and the Future of Interdisciplinary Urban Research’: two-day event was held in January.
• ‘Urban Transformations and Public Health in the Emergent City’: this is the first in a series of books from leading urbanists in the fields of mobility, sanitation, gender-based violence and health. The texts are based on ESRC-funded research and presentations in previous Urban Transformations events, and will be published in partnership with Manchester University Press (MUP) in August 2020.
• ‘African cities and collaborative futures: Urban platforms and metropolitan logistics’: this is the second in a series of books from leading urbanists who share the findings of their ESRC-funded research in Africa. The book is due to be launched towards the end of 2020 by MUP.