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Research and innovation
News article22 February 2018BrusselsDirectorate-General for Research and Innovation2 min read

Do you want to be the next "European Capital of Innovation"?

Today, Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, opened the 2018 European Capital of Innovation contest at the EU Covenant of Mayors Ceremony in the European Parliament.

The contest – also known as iCapital – is a prize to reward the cities and mayors who have built the most inclusive and dynamic innovation ecosystems, for the benefits of citizens and business.

The winning city will be nominated the European Capital of Innovation 2018 and awarded a prize of €1 million to further promote and enhance its innovative actions. This year's edition will also reward the subsequent five   ranked cities, named runners-up, who will each receive €100 000 to scale up their innovation activities.

Commissioner Moedas said:

With the European Capital of Innovation 2018, we want to reward the cities that are growing and nurturing their local innovation ecosystems; that are inviting citizens to participate and co-create how their city is governed; that are attracting talent, resources, funding for business; and that are role models for other cities, and for the rest of the world.

An independent high-level jury will assess how cities are pushing the boundaries of innovation, by looking at the following criteria:

- Experimenting by testing and promoting innovative solutions to their societal challenges;

- Engaging citizens at all scopes of innovation, from designing policy to its day to day implementation and use;

- Expanding its innovation capacity by becoming a desired destination for prospective entrepreneurs and a role model for other cities;

- Empowering citizens with tangible and measurable results of innovation.

The contest is open to cities with a minimum of 100 000 inhabitants from EU Member States, and countries associated to Horizon 2020. Applications can be submitted until 21 June 2018. The winners will be announced in the fall, followed by an award ceremony later in the year.


The European Capital of Innovation award is an EU action established under Horizon 2020, the EU's research and innovation programme. The award honours the capacity of cities of bringing together all actors needed for innovation. It acknowledges cities as unique actors in advancing innovation and significantly contributing to greater resiliency, sustainability and quality of live.

Barcelona won the first competition in 2014, for its use of new technologies to bring the city closer to people, fostering economic growth and the welfare of its citizens. Amsterdam won in 2016 for creating an innovation ecosystem with four dimensions smart, start-ups, liveability and digital social innovation. Last year Paris was named European Capital of Innovation 2017 for its exponential growth of the start-up community and numerous initiatives that offer its citizens to actively co-create the city.



Publication date
22 February 2018
Directorate-General for Research and Innovation