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European Innovation Council

Third place: Trondheim (Norway)

The Rising Innovative City category - third place: Trondheim (Norway)


Trondheim finds opportunities for Sustainable Value Creation by innovating its approach to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This approach has made the city a UN Centre of Excellence on SDG City Transitions. Using thecity and region as a living lab, Trondheim serves the 56 countries of the UNECE region with innovative methods and solutions since 2019 while continuing to experiment, escalate, build ecosystems and expand at home.

Trondheim is constantly experimenting with innovative concepts, processes, tools, and governance models, proving the city commitment to act as a test-bed for innovative practices paving the way to implementing the UN SDGs in an agile and tangible way: combining innovative services and solutions for the citizens with investments in system innovation, whilst creating a multi-helix and partnerships for the global goals. Therefore, they have created the Norwegian Network of Excellence on SDG City Transitions where the city is leading the world’s first National UN U4SSC Implementation Program.

The municipality accelerates the growth of innovative start-ups and SMEs by establishing an innovation friendly framework, creating an environment that stimulates growth and scaling, private and public investments, resources and talents. It does so by driving innovation demand through efficient innovative public procurement.

Trondheim acts as the local innovation ecosystem facilitator by fostering synergies among different innovation ecosystem players, such as public, industry, civil society, citizens, and academia, which is contributing to the development of an innovation ecosystem within our city, and thus acting as a living test lab.

Using the SDGs as a shared operating system, the city invests in building blocks to drive the societal innovation needed to sustain innovation over time and at scale. In this regard, the municipality has created the University City 3.0 to integrate and co-create between academia and city. Moreover, through its activities, the city connected the needs of the citizens to business opportunities through the Tech Port and the Innovation District.

With the EU Horizon 2020 Lighthouse Project - Positive City Exchange,Trondheim acts as a role model and a Lighthouse for other cities in Norway and beyond.