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European Innovation Council
News article5 September 20232 min read

European Capital of Innovation Awards (iCapital) 2023: find out who the 12 semi-finalists are!

12 cities from 10 countries have advanced to the semi-final stage of the ninth edition of the iCapital Awards. The cities aim to become the 2023 European Capital of Innovation or the European Rising Innovative City.

Supported by the European Innovation Council (EIC) under Horizon Europe, the prize recognises the role cities play in shaping  the local innovation ecosystem and promote game-changing innovation.

The 2023 semi-finalists selected by two high-level juries of independent experts are (in alphabetical order):

The European Capital of Innovation category

  • Başakşehir (Türkiye) 
  • Istanbul (Türkiye) 
  • Kyiv (Ukraine) 
  • Lisboa (Portugal) 
  • Lviv (Ukraine) 
  • Warszawa (Poland) 

The European Rising Innovative city category

  • Brugge (Belgium)
  • Cork (Ireland)
  • Leiden (The Netherlands)
  • Linköping (Sweden)
  • Linz (Austria)
  • Padova (Italy)

What happens next?

Each city will be invited to a private hearing with the jury members held remotely in September and October 2023. The hearings follow strict rules that allow each city to present the submitted application and answer potential jury questions related to the award criteria.

The jury members will then select three finalist cities for each category.  On 27 November 2023, one winner and two runners-up per category will be announced at the awards ceremony in Marseille, France, the 2022 iCapital winner (Métropole Aix-Marseille-Provence).

Apart from the prestigious recognition, the European Capital of Innovation category winner will receive a prize of €1 million while the two runners-up of this category will get €100 000 each.

Moreover, the winner of the European Rising Innovative City category will be awarded €500 000 with two runner-up cities receiving €50 000 each.

All finalists will be invited to join the European Innovation Council Forum working group (EIC Prizes Alumni Network) composed of previous finalists of iCapital Awards.


Supported by the European Innovation Council (EIC) under Horizon Europe, this is the ninth 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), Dortmund (2021), and Aix-Marseille Provence Metropole (2022) as European Capitals of Innovation. Past winners in the Rising Innovative city category include Vantaa (2021) and Haarlem (2022).

iCapital is one of the five EIC Prizes granted under Horizon Europe, the EU's research and innovation framework programme. The prize is open to cities from all EU member states and countries associated to Horizon Europe and it is managed by the European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency. The winners are chosen following an assessment performed by two high-level juries of independent experts.


Publication date
5 September 2023