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European Innovation Council
News article3 March 2022

European Capital of Innovation Awards: 2022 edition kicks off

The Commission launched today the eighth edition of the European Capital of Innovation Awards (iCapital).The Awards recognise the role cities play in shaping the local innovation ecosytems and promote innovation.

 

The European Capital of Innovation Awards (iCapital) are supported by the European Innovation Council (EIC) under Horizon Europe. The contest will award six prizes in total for the two categories: the European Capital of Innovation and the Rising Innovative City.

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth said:

Cities are drivers of change across Europe. With their capacity to bring together the players of the local innovation ecosystem, they can accelerate the growth of start-ups and innovators and, at the same time, bring systemic transformation to achieve climate neutrality. The 2022 European Capital of Innovation Awards are now open for submissions and we are looking for the most innovative European cities that share this vision.

The city winning the 2022 European Capital of Innovation title will receive €1 million to ensure that its best innovative practices are shared and multiplied. Moreover, the first two runners-up of this category will be rewarded with €100 000 each to support their innovation activities.

In the Rising Innovative City category, the winner will be rewarded with €500 000 and will be accompanied by two runners-up that will receive €50 000 each to scale up their innovation ecosystem.

The competition is open to cities with a minimum of 50 000 inhabitants from EU Member States and countries associated to Horizon Europe. Two high-level juries of independent experts will evaluate how the applicant cities are pushing the boundaries of innovation by looking at the following criteria:

  • Experimenting to make the city a test-bed for innovative practices;
  • Escalating and accelerating the growth of start-ups and SMEs;
  • Ecosystem building and fostering of synergies among the public sector, industry, academia and the general public;
  • Expanding the city’s innovation capacity to become a role model for other cities;
  • City innovative vision that positively transforms the city and develops a sustainable innovation ecosystem.

Further details and exceptions can be consulted in the rules of contest.

The contest is open for applications until 30 June 2022 (17:00:00 CET).

Background

Supported by the European Innovation Council (EIC) under Horizon Europe, this is the eighth edition of the prestigious European Capital of Innovation Awards also known as iCapital.

Through iCapital, the European Union recognises cities with inclusive innovation ecosystems. The prize identifies cities that connect the general public with academia, businesses and the public sector to successfully translate results into improved wellbeing of the society, while at the same time boosting game-changing innovation.

The prize first took place in 2014. Past winners include Barcelona (2014), Amsterdam (2016), Paris (2017), Athens (2018), Nantes (2019), Leuven (2020) and Dortmund (2021) as European Capitals of Innovation. In 2021, Vantaa was awarded the Rising Innovative city title through a new category introduced to reward the innovative practices implemented by smaller cities with a population of more than 50 000 and up to 249 999 inhabitants.

iCapital is one of the four EIC Prizes granted under Horizon Europe, the EU's research and innovation framework programme. The prize is managed by the European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency, and the winners are chosen following an assessment performed by two high-level juries of independent experts.

Details

Publication date
3 March 2022

Contacts

European Capital of Innovation Awards 2022

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European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency
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