Fusing modernity and tradition, the city of Marseille is the core of the metropolis, Source: Unsplash

Aix-Marseille-Provence wins the European Innovation Capital award for 2022

Aix-Marseille-Provence wins the European Innovation Capital award for 2022

The contest that measures the creative achievements of European cities also had a more human dimension, with recognition going to 6 women innovators

Yesterday, the European Innovation Council (EIC) awarded its annual prizes distinguishing the pioneering spirit of European cities. The big winner was Aix-Marseille-Provence, the second-largest French metropolis, which grabbed the European Innovation Capital award. Another big prize, the European Rising Innovative City, went to Haarlem (The Netherlands).

This year, the EIC also created a more social dimension in its award field by granting the EU Prize for Women Innovators to six women from the Old Continent. Three of them were distinguished as Rising Innovators under the age of 35, as a way to honour the European Year of Youth.

The winning cities and their innovative drive

The prizes were given during the EIC’s two-day summit, taking place until today. Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, who handed out the distinctions stated: “The iCapital finalist cities are catalysts of flourishing innovation ecosystems across Europe. I am impressed to see that cities are the playground for innovation, testing various approaches, services and products for a better, more sustainable and digital urban future.”

The awards recognise the cities' long-term efforts to create an environment that enables and embraces innovation. The iCapital winner receives a cash prize of 1 million euros, and the European Rising Innovative City gets 500,000 euros.

In the case of the French metropolis, created in 2016 and comprising a conglomeration of 92 municipalities, the prize was seen as a nod of support towards its ambition to create a new type of forward-thinking Mediterranean city. For example, part of this is the Euroméditerranée, the largest urban renewal project in Europe, yet one located in one of its poorest districts and aiming to bridge social gaps through sustainable innovation and technology.

Haarlem, on the other hand, was praised for its ambitious climate objectives. The Dutch city aims to procure 100% circular in 2030, 100% Natural gas free in 2040, 100% climate neutral in 2050, and to achieve EU Green Deal goals, plus different social and economic challenges. Until 2030, the city wants to build 10,000 homes in pleasant, green neighbourhoods.



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