The InCITIES project aims to achieve the transformations of HEIs and their surrounding ecosystem centred around on cities’ needs of inclusion, sustainability and resilience. Its specific focus on widening countries (Portugal and Slovakia) will allow to overcome structural, sociocultural, economic, political and institutional barriers. Addressing the European-global challenges of cities, InCITIES has 4 objectives: 1) Map institutional transformation strategies towards research-based sustainable universities including open science and career opportunities. 2) Build a long-term network of participating HEIs and surrounding ecosystems based on integrated knowledge HUBs. 3) Increase scientific, technological and staff capacity by sharing the best pedagogical, research, management and administrative practices in the consortium, and piloting leverages to widening HEIs. 4) Promote digitally driven universities by creating an open and innovative education and training platform in synergy with the project research and innovation agenda on inclusive, sustainable and resilient cities. The 5 methods jointly developed will set the foundation for the consortium role model: 1) Method for a common research map, 2) Capacity building actions based on the Learning by Developing pedagogical model, 3) Capacity building in talent scout and career opportunity strategy (attractiveness of research careers, including open science incentives), 4) Capacity building on equality, diversity and inclusion, 5) Methods to address enablers and barriers to integration of the InCITIES Alliance. From knowledge co-creation to joint production between European HEIs, surrounding ecosystems and citizens’ involvement, integrated actions play a key-role in achieving the consortium objectives. Capacity building actions implemented are a step towards the submission to the European Universities Initiative; it will strengthen the ERA, the EEA, and Europe’s approach to cooperation in R&I.