European Commission seeks "Capital of Innovation"
The European Commission has launched the search for the first European Capital of Innovation, or iCapital. The prize aims to promote innovation, which is central to the Europe 2020 strategy for economic growth and competiveness. The winner will be the city judged to be building the best “innovation ecosystem”, connecting citizens, places, public organisations, academia, and business. Given that 68% of the EU population now lives in urban areas, it is these areas that will contribute the most to making Europe more innovative. Cities will be judged both on initiatives and achievements until now, as well as their future ideas to enhance innovative capacity. They will have to demonstrate that they are following a comprehensive strategy that is innovative, inspiring, integrated and interactive. An independent panel of experts will select the winner in spring 2014, with the city chosen receiving €500 000 towards scaling up its efforts. The contest is open to cities in any EU Member State or country associated to the EU's research framework programme. The award is for cities with over 100 000 inhabitants and for initiatives that have been running since at least 1 January 2010. In countries where there is no city with more than 100 000 inhabitants, the largest city is eligible to apply. The deadline for applications is 3rd December 2013. Candidate cities can visit the iCapital award website for information and rules and conditions. Questions about applications can also be sent to: email@example.com. Original press release can be found here
The EU further funds innovation through the research and innovation and regional policies, including smart and sustainable urban development. The next EU research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020, will run from 2014 to 2020. It will concentrate more than ever on funding the whole 'innovation chain', from scientific breakthrough to close-to-market development. Future EU regional funding will also focus more on research and innovation, for instance building research infrastructure.