The 2017 European Capital of Innovation competitoon was launched in March of 2017. The purpose of the contest is to further innovative ideas for improving the urban quality of life and involving citizens in community life.
The competition was open to cities with over 100,000 inhabitants from EU Member States, and countries associated with Horizon 2020, the EU research and innovation program.
Thirty-two eligible cities from 17 countries applied to this year’s competition to succeed Barcelona and Amsterdam, winners of the 2014 and 2016 European Capital of Innovation awards.
On August 29, 2017, it was announced that ten cities have reached the final stage of the European Capital of Innovation Award 2017.
Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: “Every new edition of the European Capital of Innovation showcases more inspiring and innovative ideas from across Europe. The tough competition this year proved how vibrant our local innovation ecosystems are. The journey so far has been very exciting, and the best is yet to come. I am looking forward to announcing the winners in November and further cooperating with them.”
The ten finalists are:
- Aarhus (DK) – for giving citizens more responsibilities in creating social welfare and creating physical labs for innovation.
- Berlin (DE) – for its shared approach to governance, allowing the city boroughs to experiment in several domains, from social innovation to logistics and green supply chains.
- Copenhagen (DK) – for its “Transformative Living Lab” approach, which encourages citizens and entrepreneurs to take part in a network of experimental laboratories.
- Helsinki (FI) – for its world-class education and IT culture that fosters innovative collaborations among citizens and institutions to jointly tackle urban challenges such as air quality, maritime technology and health-tech.
- Nice (FR) – for its Smart City strategy that offers citizens to engage via the city Innovation Centre in decisions on climate change, healthy ageing, environmental risk and security innovation.
- Paris (FR) – for its mission to turn into a “FabCity” hosting the largest start-up campus in the world, which encourages innovative projects by citizens and entrepreneurs.
- Tallinn (EE) – for becoming a model of a true “eCity” by digitalising all the city services.
- Tampere (FI) – for its “Grow.Smart.Together” urban development program, where citizens, universities and businesses are involved in creating smart urban solutions fostering new jobs in the city.
- Tel Aviv (IL) – for its impressive hi-tech sector programmes and city policies, leading to the highest concentration of accelerator programs in Europe.
- Toulouse (FR) – for its Open Metropolis strategy, a participatory governance model allowing citizens and business organisations to co-design major urban local initiatives.
The European Capital of Innovation 2017 award—and a prize of €1 million to scale-up innovation activities—will go to the city presenting the best innovation ecosystem, with two runners-up to receive a prize of €100 000 each. The winners will be announced on November 7, 2017 at the Lisbon Web Summit.
The winning city must prove how they improved the quality of life in the locality by experimenting with innovative concepts, processes, tools, and governance models as a test-bed for innovation, engaging citizens in the innovation process and ensuring the uptake of their ideas, expanding the city’s attractiveness to become a role model for other cities and empowering the local ecosystem through the implementation of innovative practices.
Photo of Barcelona via Adobe Stock.