Shortlist for European Capital of Innovation unveiled

Turin earned a place on the shortlist for its work in promoting start-ups. [Maëlick/Flickr]

Milan and Turin are among the nine cities that have made it to the final stage of the competition to be named European Capital of Innovation. EURACTIV Italy reports.

The European Commission first launched the initiative back in 2014, with the aim of recognising urban centres that promote innovation, growth and development.

Eligible cities are those that belong to a member state or a country that participates in the EU’s innovation programme, Horizon 2020, and have over 100,000 inhabitants.

Participants have to present proposals that centre upon the development of “innovative ecosystems” that show a significant impact on the city and its inhabitants’ lives.

The first edition was won by the Spanish city of Barcelona.

>>Read: Smart cities and urban laboratories

For this year’s edition, the Commission received 36 applications, which it has now narrowed down to a shortlist of just nine. Amsterdam, Berlin, Eindhoven, Glasgow, Milan, Oxford, Paris, Turin and Vienna all hope to be awarded the title after another round of deliberation.

Milan distinguished itself by its offering of alternative means of providing public services, whilst Turin won a place in the final nine by supporting start-ups and providing new market opportunities.

The winning city will be awarded a grant of €950,000, while those that place second and third will receive €100,000 and €50,000, respectively. The names of the top three cities will be announced in April.

Horizon 2020 is the largest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available over seven years – in addition to the private investment that this money will attract. It promises more breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by taking ideas from the lab to the market.

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