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Commission launches the 2017 European Capital of Innovation contest

23 March 2017

Carlos Moedas, EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, today launched the third edition of the European Capital of Innovation prize. This contest will reward the European city that is building the best 'innovation ecosystem', connecting citizens, public organisations, academia, and business. Watch the Video

The winning European Capital of Innovation will receive €1,000,000 to scale up its innovation activities. The second and third ranked cities will each receive €100,000. Cities have until 21 June 2017 to apply.

Commissioner Carlos Moedas said: "The European Capital of Innovation 2017 will look at how European cities are willing to experiment with innovative citizen-driven initiatives, proving themselves as testing grounds for solutions to their local challenges. With this year's contest we want to highlight how cities can develop new models of innovation that engage their citizens. I am looking forward to finding out how Europe's cities are promoting new relationships based on participation and collaboration".

Applicant cities will have to prove how they create the local conditions to innovate, and will be judged on innovative solutions to the specific societal challenges that they face. The contest is open to cities:

  • with over 100,000 inhabitants (however, in countries where there is no city with more than 100,000 inhabitants, the largest city is eligible to apply)
  • which are in an EU Member State or a country associated to Horizon 2020, the EU research and innovation programme
  • An independent panel of experts will select the winning city in the second half of 2017.


    Through its research and innovation policies, the EU has been promoting outstanding achievements enhancing a smart and sustainable urban development. The European Commission created the European Capital of Innovation award to acknowledge the role of cities as places of systemic innovation, with a capacity to connect people and places, and public and private actors. Barcelona won the first competition in 2014, for its use of new technologies to bring the city closer to people, fostering economic growth and the welfare of its citizens. Amsterdam won in 2016 for creating an innovation ecosystem with four dimensions (smart, start-ups, liveability and digital social innovation) around the traditionally open approach of its citizens.