The European Capital of Innovation Award - iCapital

The prize recognising the most innovative cities in Europe — those pushing the boundaries of innovation, and changing people's everyday lives for the better

European Capital of Innovation Award 2018

The new edition of iCapital will be launched at the EU Covenant of Mayors Ceremony on 22 February 2018.

Watch the event live, or follow iCapital on Twitter using the hashtag #iCapitalAwards.


Paris is the European Capital of Innovation for 2017

The European Commission awarded the 2017 iCapital prize of €1 000 000 to Paris for its inclusive and far-reaching innovation strategy.

Over the last decade, Paris has built more than 100 000 square meters of incubators, and hosts now the world's largest start-up campus. In addition, the city spends 5% of its budget on projects proposed and implemented by citizens. Thanks to this strategy, citizens and innovators from the private, non-profit and academic sectors have made Paris become a true FabCity.

The award, granted under the EU's research and innovation programme Horizon 2020, also recognised Tel Aviv and Tallinn as runners-up, and were both awarded €100 000. In previous years, Amsterdam (2014) and Barcelona (2016) were named European Capital of Innovation.

Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, announced the results at the Lisbon Web Summit in November 2017. The Awarding took place on the main stage of the worlds' largest annual tech conference, in front of 15,000 people. Commissioner Moedas said: "Cities are not defined by their size and population, but by the breadth of their vision and the power bestowed upon their citizens. Some cities are not afraid to experiment. They are not afraid to involve their citizens in developing and testing out new ideas. These are the cities that empower their citizens. Today we are here to acknowledge these cities."

After the Award Ceremony, all finalist cities participated in Panel Sessions on experimentation and citizens engagement and smart and resilient future cities, moderated by Jean-David Malo, Director of the Open Innovation Directorate of DG for Research, Science and Innovation. All finalist cities were awarded the iCapital trophy.


About the competition

What cities can apply?

The contest was open to cities:

  • With over 100 000 inhabitants (in countries where there is no city with more than 100 000 inhabitants, the largest city is eligible to apply)
  • From an EU Member State or a country associated to Horizon 2020, the EU's research and innovation programme.

Award criteria

Applicant cities will be judged on the innovative solutions to their relevant societal challenges, which they started after 1st January 2017. Cities will in particular have to prove how they created the local conditions to innovate, 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 the local ecosystem through the implementation of innovative practices

Jury and Prizes

Applications will be judged by a panel of independent and highly-qualified experts from across Europe, appointed under Horizon 2020 rules.

Three cities will be awarded a prize. The winner of the first prize – the European Capital of Innovation 2018 – will receive €1 000 000. Two runners-up cities will receive €100 000 each.

Previous Winners

In 2017, 32 cities applied for the iCapital Award, of which 10 were shortlisted as candidates. Read more about the past editions of the prize.