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The European Capital of Innovation ‘iCapital’ Award - FAQs



  • Which cities are eligible to apply for this award?

    All cities above 100 000 inhabitants in the EU Member States or in Associated Countries to Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. For the purposes of this competition a "city" is understood to be an urban area, excluding metropolitan areas, larger urban zones and conurbations, and is understood as an administrative unit governed by a city council or another form of democratically elected body. In countries where there is no city with more than 100 000 inhabitants, the largest city is eligible to apply.

  • What do you mean by metropolitan area?

    A metropolitan area, sometimes referred to as a metro area or metro, is a region consisting of a densely populated urban core and its less-populated surrounding territories. It usually comprises multiple jurisdictions and municipalities: neighborhoods, townships, cities, exurbs, counties, and even states.

  • What do you mean by larger urban zones?

    The larger urban zone is an approximation of the functional urban area extending beyond the core city. The core city is defined by its administrative and/or political boundaries.

  • What do you mean by conurbation?

    A conurbation is a region comprising a number of cities, large towns, and other urban areas that, through population growth and physical expansion, have merged to form one continuous urban and industrially developed area. In most cases, a conurbation is a polycentric urban agglomeration, in which transportation has developed to link areas to create a single urban labour market or travel-to-work area.

  • What do you mean by 'innovation ecosystem'?

    The application must focus on the vision of a city as a place of systemic innovation. Innovation as a system links the citizens (People) with the built environment (Place) and public organizations and policy-makers (Public) through business (Private) - creating an interactive city-wide innovation ecosystem. As an interconnected systemic whole, all the players are interdependent on each other and changes in one part affect other parts too.

  • In the contest documents you refer to different terms like strategy, initiative, and achievements. What is the difference?

    The applications will have to present the city strategy to build up an innovation ecosystem. Such a strategy could be made up of several different initiatives. It is up to the applicants to focus on the most relevant initiatives in supporting their strategy. In any case, applicants always have to include facts and figures related to concrete achievements.

  • You ask to provide concrete achievements to support the application. What does it mean?

    Concrete evidence could be any supporting paper, fact, figure, web link and other tools that present clear relevance to the specific criterion and provides clear indication of any achievement in the specific field, e.g. number of people reached through a dissemination campaign etc.

  • We would like to apply with 2 initiatives, which we are running in 2 different departments of our city government. Can we submit 2 applications?

    No, the award is aimed at rewarding the most innovative city as a developed, multi-faceted, well-functioning innovation eco-system as a whole. Hence the submitted initiatives should show a holistic approach to fostering innovation in Europe.

  • What documents of proof should I upload?

    Three slots are marked with a red dot in Step 5 of the application, which means those documents are mandatory. Besides the 'Application form Part B' the two further documents to be uploaded are: the proof that you are the mayor or a legally authorized representative of the applicant city; and that the initiative subject of your application has not started before 1 January 2012. In addition, you can upload in a fourth box any relevant documents to support your application (e.g. budget plans; creation of local partnerships; involvement of population and/or stakeholders...).

  • What is the size of the documents that I can upload?

    For Part B you must use exclusively PDFs (portable document format) up to a limit of 20Mbytes per file. The page limit is 31 (i.e. 30 pages + one page for instructions). For all other documents, including optional ones, the size limit is 10MB.


  • I am a city official and I have a general delegation to act on behalf of the mayor in affairs covering the subject of my application. Do I need another specific delegation to apply on mayor's behalf for this contest?

    No, the general delegation to act is sufficient for the purpose of this award and can be uploaded as requested above.

  • We are a private company which received a delegation from the mayor to carry out a specific activity, and this activity would become the object of the city application. Can we apply on his/her behalf to this competition?

    No, the delegation would not refer to external stakeholders: it only applies to members of the city administration expressly designated by the mayor.

  • Our initiative has been successfully running since 1 January 2012 but was stopped for a few months then re-launched. Can we apply?

    Break periods in the activity of your initiative do not disqualify you if you can prove that the initiative was initially launched on 1 January 2012 and is currently on-going.

  • In November 2011 we adopted a legal act, according to which our innovative programme would be launched after January 2012. Are we still eligible? What documents should we submit?

    In order to be eligible an initiative must be on-going and should not have started before 1 January 2012, regardless of when the relevant act was adopted (which can be earlier). However, if such an act does not mention the actual starting date of the initiative, you should prove this by uploading further relevant documents.

  • The initiative we launched 3 years ago has already received a regional award from my country. Does this disqualify us?

    No, it does not. The eligibility criterion refers only to prizes of a monetary nature which were received from EU Institutions. Please follow the link below for a list of all EU Institutions.


  • The initiative we are running has already received support from structural funds. Does this disqualify us?

    No, it does not. The eligibility criterion refers only to prizes of a monetary nature which were received from EU Institutions. Please follow the link below for a list of all EU Institutions.

  • What is the difference between the two criteria 'integrated' and 'interactive'?

    The city strategy should not only focus on one of the four Ps - People, Place, Public, and Private: it should rather address all of them as parts of the whole innovation ecosystem. Applicants must explain if and how this happens under the 'integrated' criterion. Being a system means that changes in one part affect other parts too. The way this happens, i.e. the way these 4Ps interact, should be described under the 'interactive' criterion. Our evaluation will particularly assess the level of citizens’ involvement and engagement.


  • One of the criteria requires outlining our plans to deliver the expected impact of current initiatives by 31 December 2017. Is the city budget plan a relevant proof?

    Yes, a budget plan would be accepted as long as it takes into account the continuation of our initiative. You are also strongly encouraged to further explain your commitment and provide all useful information for a better evaluation of your proposal.

  • When I open the application software I am asked to provide an acronym and a summary of 2000 characters (including single spaces). What does it need to entail?

    The acronym and summary section mainly serves the purpose of helping the software to archive and search for your application. It is an automatic step when creating an application. The summary which will be relevant for your evaluation has to be included in the submission forms. When you open the submission forms you will first be asked to fill in an abstract (3000 characters available including single spaces).

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