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The European capital of innovation


Barcelona, Espoo, Grenoble, Groningen, Malaga and Paris are the six cities shortlisted for the first European Capital of Innovation award, or iCapital. An independent panel of experts has agreed on the six finalists for the €500000 prize. The money will go to the city building the best “innovation ecosystem” – connecting citizens, public organisations, academia, and business – with a view to helping the city scale up its efforts in this field. The winning city will be announced at the Innovation Convention 2014, Europe s premier innovation event which will take place in Brussels on 10 and 11 March.

The iCapital Award was launched to encourage cities to stimulate innovation and create a network of cities which can share their best ideas for the future. Cities were judged on the basis of initiatives they have already taken, as well as their future ideas to enhance innovative capacity. Finalists are listed below along with their main achievements:

BARCELONA, Spain for introducing the use of new technologies to bring the city closer to citizens;

ESPOO, Finland for the creation of strategic partnerships uniting science, business and creativity;

GRENOBLE, France for investing in scientific and technological breakthroughs through synergies between research, education and industry;

GRONINGEN, Netherlands for the use of new concepts, tools and processes to develop a user-centred smart energy ecosystem;

MALAGA, Spain for a new urban regeneration model where people and creative industries cooperate and spur growth;

PARIS, France for opening up municipally-owned property to experimental innovative solutions, driven by all types of businesses.


Innovation is central to economic growth and business competitiveness, and is at the heart of the EU’s Europe 2020 strategy. Two thirds of the EU population now lives in urban areas. These areas therefore have a key role to play in making Europe more innovative.

Source Press of the Commission