Good Practice
Congratulations to Amsterdam, Turin and Paris — European Cities of Innovation 2016

The European Commission has just concluded the second edition of its European City of Innovation award (iCapital). The award was set up to celebrate the European city that is building the best “innovation ecosystem”- connecting citizens, public organisations, academia, and business – with a view to helping the city scale up its efforts. Part of the Horizon 2020 project funding, the first prize is in the order of €950 000; the first runner up gets €100 000 and the second runner up gets €50 000.

There were nine shortlisted this year:

  • Amsterdam (NL) – for embracing a bottom-up approach based on smart growth, startups, livability and digital social innovation
  • Berlin (DE) – for performing as an urban living lab where innovative Information and Communication Technology solutions can be tested
  • Eindhoven (NL) – for combining digital technology with creativity in its world-leading urban smart lighting strategy
  • Glasgow (UK) – for its replicable innovation model based on partnerships across industry, science and communities
  • Milano (IT) – for enhancing social inclusion and alternative models in the delivery of public services to create more opportunities for employment
  • Oxford (UK) – for its vision to openly share the wealth of knowledge within its world-class innovation ecosystem
  • Paris (FR) – for its strategy based on open innovation, connectivity and ingenuity aiming at becoming a world hub for start-up
  • Torino (IT) – for its open innovation models supporting social innovation start-ups and creating new market opportunities for urban innovations
  • Vienna (AT) – for its innovation and ICT strategies based on a citizen-centred approach and long-term developments in economy, education, research and technology

Amsterdam was declared winner for its “holistic vision of innovation related to four areas of urban life: governance, economics, social inclusion, and quality of life.” Turin and Paris were selected as runners-up.

The EC says it created this award because “more than 70% of Europeans live in an urban area, and these regions generate two-thirds of the EU’s GDP. Cities are the drivers of the economy and contribute the most to making Europe more innovative. The European Commission has created the European Capital of Innovation award to acknowledge the role of cities as places of systemic innovation, with a capacity to connect people, places, public and private actors.”

Markku Markkula, President of the European Committee of the Regions, said: “This Award is all about speeding up change: we must encourage cities and regions to tackle burning societal challenges by jumping on the innovation train and spreading bottom-up experiences. I am proud to see that 12 European Committee of the Regions’ members represent these nine finalists. We need pioneering cities and regions like the winner, Amsterdam, to lead the way.”

36 cities from 12 countries applied to this year’s competition: the winner and the finalists were selected by a jury of independent experts on the basis of new initiatives launched since 1 January 2012 and on the cities’ ideas for developing innovation capacity in the future. Last year the award went to Barcelona for “introducing the use of new technologies to bring the city closer to citizens”.

The award is open to cities with over 100,000 inhabitants from EU Member States and countries associated to Horizon 2020. Details of how to apply for next year are here and there’s more detail in full on the website.

And congratulations to Amsterdam for being the 2016 city of innovation. You can watch their winning video entry on the website, which is quite cool!