Barcelona (Spain), Grenoble (France) and Groningen (Netherlands) are the three finalists for the first European Capital of Innovation award, or iCapital The winner of the €500000 prize will be announced at the closing ceremony of the Innovation Convention 2014, Europe’s premier innovation event which will take place in Brussels on 10 and 11 March.
Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, said: “I want to thank all those cities that entered the iCapital competition. The high level of all proposals shows the tremendous work done at the local level to drive innovation in Europe. I am certain that these measures will contribute to growth and jobs in the EU.”
The three finalists were selected from a shortlist of six contestants by an independent panel of experts on the basis of their main achievements and policies building the best “innovation ecosystem”. Barcelona has been highlighted “for introducing the use of new technologies to bring the city closer to citizens”, Grenoble for “investing in scientific and technological breakthroughs through established local synergies” and Groningen “for the use of new concepts, tools and processes to develop a user-centred smart energy ecosystem”.
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.