Funded under Horizon 2020, the EU research and innovation programme, this annual prize recognises cities with the most inclusive and dynamic innovation ecosystems. Also known as iCapital, it acknowledges their achievements in connecting citizens, public sector, academia, and businesses in order to deliver societal benefits for all. The 2019 contest was launched in Athens, the city that won the Prize in 2018.
Commissioner Moedas said:
The European Capital of Innovation Awards are as much about using the most innovative ideas and tools, as about creating opportunities for citizens to participate and decide how their city is run. Past winners are true role models that inspire other cities all over the world. I look forward to seeing many applications from cities that are using ground-breaking solutions to solve their most pressing challenges and to improve lives of their inhabitants.
The winning city will follow in the footsteps of past winners – Barcelona, Amsterdam, Paris and Athens. It will receive €1 million to scale-up its innovative actions and promote them in Europe and the world. The contest will also reward five runners-up with €100 000 each to enhance their innovation activities.
The contest is open to cities with a minimum of 100 000 inhabitants from EU Member States and countries associated to Horizon 2020. A high-level jury of independent experts will evaluate how cities are pushing the boundaries of innovation by looking at the following criteria:
Experimenting by testing and promoting innovative solutions to their societal challenges;
Engaging citizens to participate to innovation, including designing policy and participate to its day-to-day implementation and use;
Expanding its innovation capacity by becoming a desired destination for prospective entrepreneurs and a role model for other cities;
Empowering citizens with tangible and measurable results of innovation.
The European Capital of Innovation contest is run and funded under Horizon 2020, the EU's research and innovation programme. The award honours the capacity of cities of bringing together all actors needed for innovation. It acknowledges cities as unique actors in advancing innovation and significantly contributing to greater resiliency, sustainability and quality of life.
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. Paris was named European Capital of Innovation in 2017 for its support in growing the local start-up community and the initiatives it offer its citizens to actively co-create the city. In 2018, Athens won the title as example of a city that, despite facing many challenges, used innovation to help the local community bring about change and open up to the world.