Athens is the European Capital of Innovation 2018

The Greek capital used innovation to overcome the economic and social crisis of its past years. The European Commission recognised Athens' extraordinary efforts and awarded it with the title of the European Capital of Innovation 2018 and a €1 million prize.

The runner-up cities - Aarhus (Denmark), Hamburg (Germany), Leuven (Belgium), Toulouse (France), and Umeå (Sweden) - received €100,000 each. The prize money will be used to scale up local innovation activities and work together with other cities.

What is the European Capital of Innovation (iCapital) Award?

This is an annual cash prize awarded to the European city that is best able to demonstrate its ability to harness innovation to improve the lives of its citizens.

In particular cities that

  • contribute to open and dynamic innovation ecosystems
  • involve citizens in governance and decision-making 
  • use innovation to improve the resiliency and sustainability of their cities

Why is there a prize?

This prize enables European cities to showcase their contribution to developing local innovation ecosystems for the benefit of businesses and the wellbeing of their citizens.

Prize value

€1 million to the city named European Innovation Capital of the year.

€100,000 to each of the five runner-up cities.

The award also recognises a number of finalist cities specially acknowledged for their efforts in promoting innovation.

Who can apply?

A city can apply as long as it  

Award criteria

Cities are judged on how they implement innovative solutions to societal challenges. These solutions can be completed or ongoing, but must have been implemented in the year prior to the opening of the contest or the contest year itself.

Cities will have to show how they created the conditions for innovation by

  • experimenting innovative concepts, processes, tools, and governance models as a test-bed for innovation
  • engaging citizens in the innovation process and ensuring the uptake of their ideas
  • expanding the city's attractiveness to become a role model for other cities
  • empowering citizens by bringing concrete and measurable added value through the implementation of innovative practices

Applications are judged by a panel of independent experts from across Europe.

How to apply

Cities can apply for the contest online. The full details are explained in the following documents. 

Contact

For more information please contact us at rtd-i-capital@ec.europa.eu

To subscribe to the monthly iCapital mailing, drop an email to the above address expressing your interest and allowing to receiving regular information about the contest.

Timeline

  • 22 February 2018

    Contest opens.

  • 21 June 2018

    Deadline for applications.

  • September 2018

    Finalists meet with jury of evaluators.

  • November 2018

    Winner and runners-up announced.

Past competitions

European Capital of Innovation (iCapital) 2017

European Capital of Innovation (iCapital) 2017

Full details of the 2017 iCapital contest, the winner, runners-up and links to all finalists.

European Capital of Innovation (iCapital) 2016

European Capital of Innovation (iCapital) 2016

Full details of the 2016 iCapital contest, the winner, runners-up and links to all finalist videos