European countries are faced with a huge challenge to increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to achieve their ambitious climate protection goals. The characteristics of urban morphology and the growing trend toward urbanisation give cities enormous leverage in this respect. Smart cities use innovative technology and an integrated approach to provide high energy efficiency, sustainability and quality of life. They therefore play a prominent part in the european Strategic energy Technology (SeT) Plan as fundamental building blocks of tomorrow’s low-carbon energy system. concerted research efforts and innovation are required to achieve this paradigm shift in urban energy management and pave the way into the Smart cities era.

The research questions involved in transforming cities into Smart cities are highly complex and can only be solved by taking an interdisciplinary, transnational approach. The european energy research alliance (eera) provides an ideal framework for this joint effort by pooling high-level energy research expertise and infrastructure across europe. The eera Joint Programme on Smart cities focuses on enhanced energy efficiency and the large-scale integration of renewable energies, enabled through smart energy management at city level. This collaborative approach is anticipated to provide added value for europe by boosting energy expertise and positioning europe at the forefront of international Smart cities research.