Navigation path

The European Capital of Innovation Award – iCapital


The 2016 contest is on!

After the success of the first edition of the European Capital of Innovation Award in 2014, the European Commission has launched a second, even more ambitious, edition to celebrate the European city which is building the best “innovation ecosystem”- connecting citizens, public organizations, academia, and business - with a view to helping the city scale up its efforts in this field.


 Contact us

Read more


 Contest rules PDF icon 247 KB

 Application guide PDF icon 232 KB

Presentation  PDF icon 349 KB

 Apply now - factsheet PDF icon 116 KB

Poster  PDF icon 2.0 MB

 Horizon 2020 Work Programme PDF icon 1.4MB

Applicant cities will be judged by an independent panel of experts on how on-going and future initiatives create the right environment to innovate. Three prizes will be awarded:

  • The European Capital of Innovation 2016:
€950 000
  • 2nd ranked city:
€100 000
  • 3rd ranked city:
€50 000

Contestants will be able to submit their entries until 18 November 2015 (17:00 – Brussels time).

Cities will be judged on the basis of initiatives they have already taken since 1 January 2012, as well as their ideas to enhance innovative capacity in the future. The three winners will be announced in early 2016.

Read the press release - Commission seeks the next European Capital of Innovation (09/07/2015)
Watch the speech of Commissioner Moedas on the importance on cities and the European Capital of Innovation Award

Who can apply?

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.

Read the contest rules (PDF icon 247 KB)

How to apply

You can apply in 6 easy steps via our web-based submission system.
Read the Application guide (PDF icon 232 KB) for more details.


The first European Capital of Innovation Award

Photo from the award ceremony Xavier Trias (on the left), Mayor of Barcelona, receiving the Award from European Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn

58 cities from all over Europe applied to become the first European Capital of Innovation. The winning city, Barcelona (Spain), was chosen by a panel of independent experts in a close competition with Grenoble (France) and Groningen (The Netherlands) and awarded during the Innovation Convention in March 2014.

The prize went to Barcelona "for introducing the use of new technologies to bring the city closer to citizens". The €500,000 prize is being used to scale up and expand Barcelona's efforts on innovation.

Read the press release : Barcelona is "iCapital" of Europe

EN (Other available languages: FR DE ES NL )



Supporting cities to improve their innovation strategies

The European Commission has partnered up with the European Centre for Government Transformation (a joint initiative between Accenture, The Lisbon Council and The College of Europe) to support the work of four cities which were finalists in the first European Capital of Innovation competition (Barcelona, Groningen, Paris and Espoo). Four ‘case studies’ were developed. For more information, click here:


Back to Top