Kolozsvár finalist for European Capital of Innovation title

Six cities remain in the final stage of the iCapital Awards and are now vying to become the European Capital of Innovation (iCapital) 2020 after an intense evaluation phase.

A high-level jury of independent experts selected the six finalists from 12 shortlisted cities after a thorough interview with each. The finalists were selected by analyzing how they use innovative solutions to respond to societal challenges, how they use such practices in the urban development process and how they engage local communities in decision-making.

The six finalists of this year’s edition are listed below in alphabetical order:

Cluj-Napoca (Romania)

Espoo  (Finland)

Helsingborg (Sweden)

Leuven (Belgium)

Valencia (Spain)

Vienna (Austria)

Promotional video of Kolozsvár/Cluj-Napoca:


Funded by Horizon 2020, EU’s research and innovation program, the prize recognizes European cities that develop vibrant innovation ecosystems to address public challenges and improve people’s lives. The prize also acknowledges cities as unique actors in advancing innovation and significantly contributing to greater resiliency, sustainability and quality of life. Cities in EU Member States and countries associated with Horizon 2020 were eligible to enter the competition.

The winning city will receive the title of European Capital of Innovation 2020 as well as EUR 1,000,000 to support its innovation activities and enable it to connect individuals, the public sector, academia, and businesses to deliver  benefits to society overall. Five runners-up will receive EUR 100,000 each; all finalists are already part of the iCapital Alumni Network.

Barcelona won the first competition in 2014 for its use of new technologies to bring the city closer to people and for fostering economic growth. Amsterdam won in 2016 for creating an innovation ecosystem with four dimensions: smart, start-up, livability and digital innovations. Paris was named European Capital of Innovation in 2017 for its support in growing the local start-up community and initiatives offered to the public to actively co-create the city. In 2018, Athens won the title as an example of a city that, despite facing many challenges, used innovation to help the local community to bring about change and open up to the world. Nantes received the 2019 title for accelerating democratic participation in tackling challenges such as energy, aging, the digital transition and social inclusion.

The Commission will announce the winner of the European Capital of Innovation 2020 title at the European Research and Innovation Days, set to take place September 22-24. At the same event, the Commission will award the EU Prize for Women Innovators 2020, the EIC Horizon Prize for Affordable High-Tech for Humanitarian Aid and the Horizon Impact Award 2020.

Featured photo: The Romania Journal

Author: Blanka Székely