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For the purpose of this award, a ""city"" is understood to be an urban area, excluding metropolitan areas, larger urban zones and conurbations, and is understood as an administrative unit governed by a city council or another form of democratically elected body. It will be considered as a whole system, including built environment, municipal authorities and citizens, organizations and public structures, as a platform capable of facilitating the growth and development of creativity and innovation in its different meanings.

With their capacity to connect people, places, public and private actors, urban areas can substantially enhance innovation in Europe. This award will aim to provide European level recognition to those cities that make the most to promote innovation within their communities and thereby improve the quality of their citizens’ lives. It will address the challenge of fostering innovation through actions at city level, by acknowledging innovative solutions to build up an innovation ecosystem and ideas to further expand and scale up these initiatives, thereby leveraging and inducing further systemic innovation in cities.

The award will illustrate at the European level the commitment to innovation at the city level and to inspire and share best practice with other cities in Europe and act as innovation ambassadors further afield. At the city level, the first impact will be the recognition of successful innovation policies within a city which raises the profile of the team and the political leaders that have developed and implemented these policies. Secondly, the award will help the city open up connections with other cities that would wish to learn from the city and analyse which policies and activities could be transferable. This will allow the city to attract international interest in its activities. Thirdly, the prize should encourage and contribute to enabling the city to develop new innovation activities made possible only by the access of funding from the prize and by attracting investors, industry, top class researchers as well as talented and entrepreneurial individuals and so strengthening the innovative potential