08 Nov 2017   |   News

Paris named as most innovative European city in 2017 in Horizon 2020 competition

The Commission awards €1M European Capital of Innovation prize to Paris

Skyscrapers in La Défense business district. Photo: Zinneke, Wikimedia Commons

Paris has won the €1 million European Capital of Innovation award for its innovation strategy, which has seen build more than 100,000 square meters of incubators over the past decade. The city is now host to the world’s largest start-up campus.

Tallinn, the capital of Estonia and Tel Aviv, Israel were runners-up, each winning €100,000.

The awards, which come from the Horizon 2020 research programme, are to be used to scale up and further expand the cities' innovation efforts.

“This year’s competition has been particularly tough,” said Research Commissioner Carlos Moedas, announcing the results at the Web Summit in Lisbon this week. “The outstanding achievements of all competitors are great examples of the vital importance of our innovation ecosystems and participation of citizens in Europe.”

The Reinventing Paris project is one example of how the city facilitates innovation by inviting national and international experts to rebuild a number of significant sites. In the current phase of the project, Paris is inviting interdisciplinary teams to submit urban development projects for transforming a number of underground sites in Paris.

Tallinn won its award for its initiative in acting as a testing ground for potential breakthrough technologies. The city has promoted the introduction of self-driving cars, parcel delivery robots and ride-sharing. Tallinn has also implemented an innovative e-Residency system, under which foreign entrepreneurs can take up virtual citizenship and work with local residents and businesses.

Tel Aviv has set up a Smart City Urban Lab that links innovative start-ups with leading technology companies to advance the implementation of breakthrough innovations that address urban challenges. Part of the prize will be dedicated to strengthening the Smart Education Initiative, developed by the city in collaboration with teachers, parents, students and local tech start-ups.

The 2017 European Capital of Innovation award competition was launched in March 2017 for cities with over 100,000 inhabitants from EU Member States and countries associated to Horizon 2020. Thirty-two cities from seventeen countries applied. The winner and the two runners-up have been selected from ten finalists on the basis of new initiatives launched since 1 January 2016.

The winners were chosen by a panel of independent experts from universities and the business sector. The evaluators were selected from the Horizon 2020 expert database.

The award criteria focused on cities that are willing to be test-beds for new citizen-driven initiatives to address specific issues of urban living.

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