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European Innovation Council
News article19 July 20211 min read

39 applications received for the European Capital of Innovation Awards 2021

Supported by the European Innovation Council under Horizon Europe, the seventh edition of the European Capital of Innovation Awards closed on Thursday 15 July.

The call received 39 applications from across the European Union and Horizon Europe Associated Countries.

Eligible applications will now be evaluated from July through October by a high-level jury of independent experts. The shortlisted applicants will be announced in September, and the winners will be announced at the European Innovation Council Summit in November 2021.

This year’s edition is aimed at rewarding the most innovative city practices in the framework of a developed, multi-faceted, well-functioning city innovation ecosystem that boosts game-changing innovation.

Apart from the main category (The European Capital of Innovation), this year includes a new category The European Rising Innovative City that targets towns and cities with a population of 50.000 and up to 249.999 inhabitants.


Every year, the European Union recognises cities with inclusive innovation ecosystems by awarding the recognition prize European Capital of Innovation Awards (iCapital). The awards identify urban ecosystems that connect citizens, the public sector, academia, and business, and successfully translate their results into improved wellbeing of their citizens, while boosting game-changing innovation.

iCapital is one of the four EIC Prizes granted under Horizon Europe, the EU's research and innovation framework programme.

The prize first took place in 2014. Past winners include Barcelona (2014), Amsterdam (2016), Paris (2017), Athens (2018), Nantes (2019) and Leuven (2020).

In 2021, one winner will be named European Capital of Innovation and will receive a prize of €1.000.000 with another €500.000 awarded to the first ever European Rising Innovative City. Two runner-up cities will be awarded in each category.

The prize is managed by the European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency, and the winners are chosen following an assessment performed by a high-level independent expert jury.


Publication date
19 July 2021