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European Capital of Innovation Awards 2021 semi-finalists announced

European Capital of Innovation Awards 2021 semi-finalists announced

16 cities from 10 countries have made it to the semi-final stage

On 2 September, the European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency revealed that 16 cities have reached the semi-final stage of the European Capital of Innovation Awards (iCapital) 2021. This year, cities from across the EU and Horizon Europe Associated Countries have had the chance to apply for awards from two distinct categories: The European Capital of Innovation and The European Rising Innovative City.

While the European Capital of Innovation category is well-known, it is the first time that cities have had the chance to apply for The European Rising Innovative City award. The new category targets towns and cities that have a population of 50,000-249,9999 inhabitants. Both prizes are used to recognise and award cities for their most innovative practices.

Which cities have made it to the semi-final stage?

European cities had the opportunity to submit applications from 18 March until 15 July. During this period, the call for applications received submissions from 39 applicants. Out of these 39, 16 cities from 10 countries have made it to the semi-final stage of the seventh iCapital edition. The jury has selected the following semi-finalists:

The European Capital of Innovation category:

  • Ankara (Turkey)
  • Bruxelles (Belgium)
  • Dublin (Ireland)
  • Dortmund (Germany)
  • Istanbul (Turkey)
  • Izmir (Turkey)
  • Malaga (Spain)
  • Vilnius (Lithuania)

The European Rising Innovative City category:

  • Braga (Portugal)
  • Cascais (Portugal)
  • Castellón de la Plana (Spain)
  • Haarlem (Netherlands)
  • Leeuwarden (Netherlands)
  • Ludwigsburg (Germany)
  • Trondheim (Norway)
  • Vantaa (Finland)

Winners and runners-up announced in November

In October, each of the 16 semi-finalists will have to attend a private hearing with jury members. There, they will present their submitted applications and answer questions. Following this, the jury will select 3 finalists in both categories. These finalists (1 winner and 2 runners-up) will be revealed at the European Innovation Council Summit on 24-25 November.

The winner of the European Capital of Innovation category will receive a monetary prize of EUR 1 million, with the two runners-up being awarded EUR 100,000 each. Similarly, the first-ever winner of the European Rising Innovative City category will receive EUR 500,000, with the two runner-up cities receiving EUR 50,000 each.

The winners of the six previous iCapital editions are Barcelona (2014), Amsterdam (2016), Paris (2017), Athens (2018), Nantes (2019), and Leuven (2020).

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