Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : The European Capital of Innovation Award (iCapital)

Topic identifier: H2020-European-i-Capital-Prize-2018
Publication date: 22 February 2018

Types of action: RPr Recognition Prize
Opening date:
22 February 2018
Deadline: 21 June 2018 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Societal Challenges
Work Programme Year: H2020-2018-2020
Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

With their capacity to connect people, places, public and private actors, cities can substantially enhance innovation in Europe and improve the quality of citizens’ lives. New approaches to undertake and deploy innovative practices are gaining support, marking the shift from traditional top-down schemes to stronger bottom-up practices, where citizens are increasingly co-shaping public policies in an open, transparent way.


The traditional city innovation ecosystem is opening up to new models of innovation engaging citizens. An increasing number of cities are acting as test-beds for innovation and run citizens-driven initiatives to find solutions for their relevant societal challenges.

The public domain is particularly challenged with finding effective ways to ensure the mainstreaming of these practices into the ordinary urban development process. Successful practices are particularly crucial to enhance the city's capacity to attract new resources, funds and talents, and become role models for other cities.

Expected Impact:

A European prize to the most innovative city ecosystem. The award will raise the profile of the city teams that have developed and implemented innovative policies; enhance citizens' role in finding local solutions and participating in the decision-making process; facilitate the city attractiveness towards investors, industry, top class talents and entrepreneurial individuals; help the city open up connections with others and cooperate with them, thus inspiring and helping identify best practices to be replicated across Europe.

Cross-cutting Priorities:

Socio-economic science and humanities
Open Innovation

Topic conditions and documents

1. Eligible countries: Described in the Rules for Contest.

2. Eligibility and exclusion criteria: Described in the Rules for Contest.  

  1. The candidate cities must be established in an EU Member State or in Associated Country and have a population above 100,000 inhabitants[[For the purpose of this competition a 'city' is an urban area over 100,000 inhabitants understood as an administrative unit governed by a city council or another form of democratically elected body, according to the latest Eurostat figures (for countries not covered by Eurostat, the European Commission may perform specific checks when assessing the eligibility criteria)]].

  2. Winners of former European Capital of Innovation contests are not eligible. This does not apply to runners-up.

Proposal page limits and layout: Please refer to the application template.

3. Evaluation and award criteria and procedure: Described in the Rules for Contest.

For each yearly competition in 2018, 2019 and 2020, six prizes will be awarded after closure of the yearly contest, to the contestants who in the opinion of the jury best address the following cumulative criteria:

  1. Experimenting – innovative concepts, processes, tools, and governance models proving the city's commitment to act as a test-bed for innovative practices, and ensuring the mainstreaming of these practices into the ordinary urban development process.

  2. Engaging – increasing opportunities for a broader range of citizens and ensuring a seamless uptake of their ideas.

  3. Expanding – outlining the city's potential to attract new talent, resources, funding, investments, and to become a role model for other cities.

  4. Empowering – concrete and measurable added value directly connected to the implementation of innovative practices.

In particular, one city will be selected every year in 2018, 2019 and 2020 as the overall yearly winner: this city will be awarded the title of European Capital of Innovation for that year and will receive EUR 1.000.000. Moreover, based on the above cumulative award criteria, five cities will be selected as runners-up in each yearly competition, receiving EUR 100.000 each. Further details on the evaluation criteria, thresholds, weighting for award criteria as well as promotional activities (including producing a video of the city's achievements) will be specified in the rules for this contest published at the launch of each yearly contest (i.e. in 2018, 2019 and 2020).

4. Indicative time for evaluation and award of prizes:

Deadline for submitting entries: 21 June 2018 (17:00 CET)

Hearings in Brussels for the finalist cities: September 2018 (tbc)

Award Ceremony: November 2017 (tbc)

5. Application template:

This application template serves as an example. The template to be filled in is available after entering the submission tool. 

Follow the Application guide to open the submission tool and submit your application. 

Members of consortium are not required to conclude a consortium agreement as ... [Insert text to duly justify this exception]

6. Additional documents:

Introduction WP 2018-20
Europe in a changing world - inclusive, innovative and reflective societies WP 2018-20


Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Regulation of Establishment
Legal basis: Euratom Horizon 2020 Regulation of Establishment

Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation

Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Specific Programme


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General reference: 

You can also contact the iCapital Awards team: