The European Capital of Innovation 2019

The city of Nantes is the European Capital of Innovation for 2019.

Commissioner Moedas revealed the winner during the "European Research and Innovation days" event in Brussels.

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.

European Capitals of Innovation 2016-2018
BrochureJune 2019Research and Innovation

European Capitals of Innovation 2016-2018

Overview of some of the unique solutions from the Award winners and runners-up and also how some have used the prize money to take innovation to new levels

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. 


For more information please contact us at

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.

DownloadZIP - 2.2 MB


The timetable for the 2019 edition of the competition

  • 20 February 2019

    Contest opens

  • 6 June 2019

    Deadline for applications

  • 24-26 September 2019

    Winner and runners-up announced

Past competitions

iCapital 2018

iCapital 2018

Full details of the 2018 iCapital contest, the winner and runners-up

iCapital 2017

iCapital 2017

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

iCapital 2016

iCapital 2016

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

iCapital 2014

iCapital 2014

Details of the 2014 iCapital contest