Leuven, the current iCapital title holder

The European Capital of Innovation Awards contest opens today

The European Capital of Innovation Awards contest opens today

This time, there will be two possibilities to win

Most of you are already familiar with the European Innovation Capital Award (iCapital) - an annual recognition prize awarded to the European cities that best promote innovation in their communities. Now, the moment has come to learn the details of the next edition of the contest, which is set to open later today, 18 March 2021. The first surprise is more than pleasant, as this time there will be two awarded cities, an Innovation Capital and a Rising Innovative City.

Enhanced opportunities to support innovation in cities

According to the website of the contest, “the seventh edition will recognise the cities’ contribution to developing local innovation ecosystems for the benefit of innovators and the wellbeing of their citizens.” The awards are aimed at “rewarding the most innovative city practices in the framework of a developed, multi-faceted, well-functioning city innovation ecosystem that boosts game-changing innovation.”

In 2021, the European Capital of Innovation Awards will feature two categories:

  • The European Capital of Innovation category addresses cities with a population of minimum 250 000 inhabitants and rewards the winner with EUR 1 000 000 and the two runners-up with EUR 100 000 each.
  • The European Rising Innovative City category targets towns and cities with a population of 50 000 and up to 249 999 inhabitants. It will reward the winner with EUR 500 000 and the two runners-up with EUR 50 000 each.

The applications will be assessed by a jury, who will decide on how the city implements innovative solutions. They need to prove that they have successfully created conditions for innovation by:

  • Experimenting innovative concepts, processes, tools, and governance models as a test-bed for innovation
  • Escalating and accelerating the growth of highly innovative start-ups and SMEs
  • Shaping the local innovation ecosystem through Ecosystem building actions that foster synergies among different innovation system players ranging from public sector, industry, civil society, to citizens and academia
  • Expanding the city's attractiveness to become a role model for other cities
  • Demonstrating the long-term strategic city innovative vision.

More information about the rules and regulations of the contest is available on the new Funding and Tender portal. The application form can already be seen here. The deadline for submission is 15 July 2021, 17:00 (CET), while the winners and the runners-up will be known in the last quarter of the year.

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