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European Innovation Council
News article17 May 20222 min read

First meeting of the iCapital Alumni Network at Urban Future 2022. Innovative cities share best practices and spark innovation across Europe.

Collaboration and innovation to drive progress. Former Awards' winners and runners-up gather in Helsinborg, on June 1, to launch the iCapital Alumni Network. 

The European Capital of Innovation Awards (iCapital) is a prestigious European innovation prize for cities, supported by the European Innovation Council (EIC). The winners and runner-ups serve as role models for other cities to follow. 

In order to master the many urban challenges, innovation has become a critical issue for cities. Innovation is a complex task: it’s interdisciplinary and it requires doing things differently – not really a strength for most city administrations, which often operate in departmental silos. 

However, there is an increasing number of highly successful cities which have learnt to navigate and achieve innovation – the best of them compete for the European Innovation Council’s annual iCapital awards.

It is during Urban Future 2022 and H22 City Expo that the iCapital Alumni Network, with its winners and runner ups, will be meeting for the very first time.

On June 1, the session “Innovation Kick-starter for cities” will include an iCapital panel discussion, which will take a close look at the cities that have found a way to innovate and already do so quite successfully. It will explore how they did it, what needed to be changed, how they ultimately got started, and what role the iCapital competition played in their efforts. 

This gives innovators the opportunity to fully harness the potential of innovation through informal discussion and help to foster the flow of information, knowledge, talent, and best practices among cities.

The session is followed by the iCapital Alumni Network inaugural meeting, in the afternoon, with representatives from the following cities: Paris, Leuven, Amsterdam, Malaga, Vantaa, Umeå, Dortmund, Cascais, Dublin, Helsingborg, Espoo, Cluj-Napoca and Valencia.

Through the iCapital awards, 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 societal wellbeing, while at the same time boosting game-changing innovation.

The 2022 edition of the awards is open for applications until June 30. For more information please check the iCapital page.


Urban Future 2022 @H22 City Expo, Helsingborg, Sweden | June 1-3, 2022

2,000 CityChangers such as city planners, activists, architects, mayors, concerned citizens will gather to the H22 City Expo in Helsinborg to discuss how the world’s cities can be made more sustainable. H22 City Expo is a 35-day international event with over 700 programme features highlighting the role of innovation in shaping the smart and sustainable city of the future.

The European Capital of Innovation Awards (iCapital)

The European Capital of Innovation Awards (iCapital) are supported by the European Innovation Council (EIC) under Horizon Europe. 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 between 50,000 and 249,999 inhabitants.

Purpose of the iCapital Alumni Network

  • Facilitate and promote dialogue exchange, knowledge sharing, and the replication of best practices.
  • Raise the profile of its members as role models for European actors in their areas of expertise.
  • Raise awareness and promote the use of innovation to positively transform society.
  • Identify and better understand needs, opportunities, and mutual benefits for collaboration. Design tailor made strategies.
  • Promote synergies and cross-border collaboration at EU, national, and regional levels.


Publication date
17 May 2022


The European Capital of Innovation Awards

The European Capital of Innovation Awards
The European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency
EISMEA-ICAPITALatec [dot] europa [dot] eu
iCapital Awards 2022