Most innovative EU city can win €500,000 in iCapital competition

3 Sep 2013

The European Union city that is building the best innovation ecosystem that connects citizens, business, academia, and public organisations will receive €500,000 towards scaling up its efforts in a new iCapital competition.

The European Commission (EC) has today begun its search for the first European Capital of Innovation, or iCapital, inviting cities to take part in the competition.

Innovation is central to economic growth and business competitiveness, and is at the heart of the Europe 2020 strategy, the EC said.

Future Human

“Cities are the engines of the European economy. Seven out of 10 Europeans live in an urban area, and these regions generate two-thirds of EU GDP,” said Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science.

“We want to encourage cities to raise their game when it comes to innovation, and create a network of cities that can share their best ideas for the future.”

Cities will be judged on their initiatives and achievements until now, as well as their future ideas to enhance innovative capacity. They will have to demonstrate that they are following a comprehensive strategy that is:

  • Innovative – in terms of concepts, processes and tools.
  • Inspiring – with the aim of attracting talent, funding, investment and citizens’ involvement and engagement.
  • Integrated – demonstrating links with the goals of the Europe 2020 strategy, namely smart, sustainable and inclusive growth across Europe.
  • Interactive – building a community for innovation within the city and with other cities.

The competition is open to cities within any EU member state or country associated with the EU’s research framework programme.

Cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants that have had initiatives running since at least 1 January 2010 are eligible to enter the competition. In countries where there is no city with more than 100,000 inhabitants, the largest city is eligible to apply.

Questions about applications may be emailed to

The application deadline is 3 December 2013, and an independent panel of experts will select the winner in spring 2014, the EC said.

Innovative city image via Shutterstock

Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic