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European Capital of Innovation prize


With their capacity to connect people, places, public and private actors, urban areas can substantially enhance innovation in Europe. Building on the success of this award first as a pilot and then as a full scale action in 2015, the award will continue in 2017 with a deeply renewed approach.

As in the first editions, it will aim to provide European recognition to those cities that make the most to promote innovation within their communities and thereby improve the quality of their citizens’ lives. The new award will strengthen its bottom-up approach by turning into a scheme to pilot citizens-led initiatives. It will mainly focus on experimentation, i.e. it will reward a city willing to propose itself as test-bed and run citizens-driven initiatives to find solutions for their relevant societal challenges. Impact will be a leading principle along with citizens' involvement.

The winning city will be awarded a prize of EUR 1,000,000. A second and a third prize of EUR 100,000 each will be also provided to the second and the third ranked (runner-ups) to support their networking activities. However, these cities will not hold the Capital of Innovation title.

For the purpose of this award, cities are 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.

The specific rules of the contest will be published in 2017 by the European CommissionOn the Participant Portal but also actively publicised elsewhere to maximise participation. The Commission will directly launch and manage the contest and award the prize based on the judgement of independent experts.

The award will illustrate on a European scale the commitment to innovation at city level, and will serve as model that can inspire and identify best practice to be replicated in other cities. At the city level, the recognition of successful innovation policies will raise the profile of the team and the political leaders that have developed and implemented these policies. The award will also help the city open up connections with other cities willing to learn and check which policies and activities could be transferable. This will allow the city to attract international interest in its activities.

Moreover, the prize will enhance citizens' feeling to contribute to the decision-making process, and will particularly stimulate them to develope new innovation activities, thus facilitating the city attractiveness towards investors, industry, top class researchers as well as talented and entrepreneurial individuals.