The European Commission has awarded the 2017 European Capital of Innovation (iCapital) prize of €1m to the French capital Paris.
The iCapital award, granted under the EU’s research and innovation programme Horizon 2020, recognises Paris for its inclusive innovation strategy.
Tallinn, Estonia, and Tel Aviv, Israel, were selected as runners-up and both received €100,000. The prize money will be used to scale up and further expand the cities’ innovation efforts.
Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas announced the results, saying: “Cities are not defined by their size and population, but by the breadth of their vision and the power bestowed upon their citizens. Some cities are not afraid to experiment. They are not afraid to involve their citizens in developing and testing out new ideas. These are the cities that empower their citizens. Today we are here to acknowledge these cities.”
Over the last decade, Paris has built more than 100,000 square metres of incubators and now hosts the world’s largest start-up campus. In addition, the city spends 5% of its budget on projects proposed and implemented by citizens.
Thanks to this strategy, citizens and innovators from the private, non-profit and academic sectors have made Paris a true ‘FabCity’.
Tallinn has been awarded for its initiative to act as a testing ground for potential breakthrough technologies.
The Estonian capital fostered the use of self-driving cars, parcel delivery robots and ride-sharing, and has also implemented an innovative e-Residency system, which enables local citizens and businesses to work closely together with foreign entrepreneurs.
Tel Aviv has set up a Smart City Urban Lab that links up innovative start-ups with leading technology companies to facilitate breakthrough innovations for solving urban challenges.
Education being among Tel Aviv’s priorities, part of the prize will be dedicated to strengthening the Smart Education Initiative, developed by the municipality in collaboration with teachers, parents, students and local tech start-ups.