Only one city can claim the prize and bragging rights
by Thomas Ansell
The European Commission’s competition to find the 2020 European Capital of Innovation is entering its final round, with 12 cities named as finalists. In amongst the well-known names like Vienna (Austria), Valencia (Spain), and Milan (Italy), you’ll find both Groningen and Leeuwarden: the two largest cities in the Northern Netherlands.
The competition is funded by the Horizon 2020 programme, and aims to showcase cities that innovate in order to improve the lives of their citizens. This could be finding new ways to involve citizens in governance or decision making, or finding news ways to make cities more sustainable and livable. There’s a 1 million euro cash prize up for grabs, which is intended to finance the winning city showing off its ‘innovation’.
If you want to read the specific criteria for the award (jargon alert!), you can do so on the European Commission’s website.
Leeuwarden’s entry reportedly pointed to the Watercampus, Energycampus, Dairy Campus; and Campus Fryslân (part of the University of Groningen), as well as the Biotrack NL partnership. Groningen might not have a campus for all seasons like the Frisian capital, but does boast a track record in the competition, having been runner-up in 2014 (losing to Barcelona).
An ‘independent panel of judges’ is currently combing through the entry packs from those on the shortlist, and the award will be announced during the European Research and Innovation Days, held between 22 and 24 September.
Image via the European Commission