The European Commission has launched the eighth edition of the European Innovation Capital (iCapital) awards, which recognise the role cities play in shaping local innovation ecosystems and promoting innovation. Applications can be submitted until 30 June.

The iCapital 2022 awards, which are supported by the European Innovation Council in the framework of Horizon Europe, will award a total of six prizes in two categories: European Capital of Innovation and Most Innovative European City, both aimed at cities in EU Member States and countries associated to Horizon Europe.

The first category is open to cities with a minimum of 250,000 inhabitants and the second category is open to municipalities with a population of between 50,000 and 249,999 inhabitants. Entries will remain open until 30 June 2022 at 17:00 (CET).

Assessment criteria

The city that wins the title of European Capital of Innovation will receive one million euros to ensure that its good practices in innovation are shared and multiplied. The two runners-up will receive €100,000 each to support their innovative activities.

In the Most Innovative European City category, the winner will be rewarded with €500,000, while the two runners-up will receive €50,000 each to expand their innovation ecosystem. Two juries composed of high-level independent experts will assess how cities are pushing the boundaries of innovation in terms of five main aspects.

Experimentation to turn urban space into a testbed for innovative practices; scaling and acceleration for the growth of start-ups and SMEs; building ecosystems and fostering synergies between the public sector, industry, academia and society at large; expanding the city’s innovation capacity to become a role model for other cities; and innovative vision for city transformation and the development of a sustainable innovation ecosystem will be positively assessed.