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The European Capital of Innovation ‘iCapital’ Award

Thank you for your interest in the European Capital of Innovation contest!

Photo from the award ceremony58 applicant cities from all over Europe submitted their proposals to become the first European Capital of Innovation and gain the EUR 500 000 prize. The winning city, Barcelona (Spain), was awarded during the Innovation Convention in March 2014.

The European Commission has looked at outstanding achievements of cities in building up an innovation ecosystem, i.e. a system which links the citizens (People) with a built environment (Place) and public organizations and policy-makers (Public) through business (Private). The iCapital prize was awarded to Barcelona "for introducing the use of new technologies to bring the city closer to citizens". Barcelona was chosen by a panel of independent experts in a close competition with Grenoble (France) and Groningen (The Netherlands). The €500,000 iCapital prize will be 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 )


» Who could apply?

The contest was open to cities from European Member States and Countries associated to the EU's research Framework Programme (Israel, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Turkey, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Faroe Islands) which had over 100.000 inhabitants at the time of submitting this application.

For the purpose of this Award, 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.

We seek out innovative initiatives which are already running initiatives which have not started before 1 January 2010, and are expected to continue, which have been delivering significant improvements in the whole innovation ecosystem. Application should be submitted by the city's mayor or members of the city administration expressly designated by the mayor.

Download the contest rules  PDF icon 353 KB to get more information on the eligibility and evaluation criteria.

Frequently asked questions

» How to apply?

You could apply in 6 easy steps via our web-based submission system. The application was created to be as simple and fast as possible. In order to create your application you will need to create a user ID in the European Commission Authentication Service (ECAS) or use your already existing ECAS ID.

The steps to get this user ID and to apply are explained in detail in the application guide  PDF icon 396 KB .

Frequently asked questions

» Why has the EU launched this Prize?

With this Award the European Commission wants to acknowledge the role of cities as place of systemic innovation, with their capacity to connect people, places, public and private actors which are mutually reinforcing. We are looking for cities which can enable, inspire and nurture innovation by encouraging, engaging and empowering talented innovators from different walks of life: professionals, policy-makers and entrepreneurs as well.

The monetary prize of EUR 500 000 will help scaling up the winner's initiative, thus rewarding excellence and innovation which has the potential to be replicated in other European contexts.


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