Commission seeks the next European Capital of Innovation

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Commission seeks the next European Capital of Innovation

Brussels, 9 July 2015

Carlos Moedas, EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, launched today the second edition of the European Capital of Innovation award at the plenary session of the Committee of the Regions.

Won by Barcelona in 2014, this competition rewards the European city which is building the best “innovation ecosystem”, connecting citizens, public organisations, academia, and business. Given that urban areas generate two thirds of the EU's GDP, it is these areas that will contribute the most to making Europe more innovative. The new Capital of Innovation will receive €950 000 to scale up its innovation activities. The second and third cities in the ranking will respectively receive €100 000 and €50 000 for networking activities. The competition is open until 18 November 2015.

Commissioner Moedas said: "With the European Capital of Innovation Award, the European Union is recognising those cities which are making major efforts to promote innovation and improving the quality of their citizens’ lives."

Markku Markkula, President of the Committee of the Regions, said: "We fully support the European Capital of Innovation Award – Europe needs more renewal capital and speeding the implementation of innovative practices. Our cities are the drivers of open innovation – increasingly interlinked with their regions' smart specialisation policy. Innovation ecosystems flourish through the interaction with citizens, universities, industry and public sector. We encourage the cities to grasp this spirit and apply for the award."

Applicant cities will be judged on how on-going and future initiatives create the right environment to innovate. An independent panel of experts will select the winning city and the two runners-up in early 2016.

The contest is open to cities:

  • which have over 100 000 inhabitants (in countries where there is no city with more than 100 000 inhabitants, the largest city is eligible to apply)
  • from EU Member States and countries associated to Horizon 2020, the European research and innovation programme.


Over 70% of the EU population lives in urban areas. Through its research, innovation and regional policies, the EU has been promoting smart and sustainable urban development. The European Commission has created the European Capital of Innovation award to acknowledge the role of cities as places of systemic innovation, with a capacity to connect people, places, public and private actors.

After a successful first edition in 2014, the European Union is launching a second, even more ambitious edition. Barcelona was the first European Capital of Innovation in 2014 "for introducing the use of new technologies to bring the city closer to citizens".

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