Paris Awarded Most Innovative European City 2017

A press release from the European Commission has now been released, which confirms that Paris has been awarded with “The Most Innovative City 2017”. The iCapital award has been granted under EU research, and the criteria focuses on cities which are willing to test new citizen driven initiatives in order to find the best solutions to societal challenges.

Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas made the announcement at the Web Summit in Lisbon. One city is awarded the title each year, with last year’s winner being Amsterdam. Tallinn (Estonia) and Tel Aviv (Israel) were awarded with being the runners-up, and have relieved prizes of EUR 100,000 each. The prize money will be used to further expand the cities’ innovation efforts.

He said at the summit that “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. This year’s competition has been particularly tough. The outstanding achievements of all competitors are great examples of the vital importance of our innovation ecosystems and participation of citizens in Europe.”

This year’s competition was launched in March for EU cities with over 100,000 residents. A total of 22 cities applied this year from 17 different countries. The winner and runners up were selected based on new initiatives, and were chosen from a panel of independent business and education experts. The competition was introduced in 2014, and the awards are granted to the winners under Horizon 2020, which is the EU’s leading research and innovation program.

Horizon 2020 has an overall budget of EUR 77 billion for the period 2014-2017. Paris has earned its title this year by investing in new innovation projects including the Reinventing Paris project. This project can be used as an example of how Paris uses innovation and utilizes both local and international talent to rebuild some of its significant sites.

The current plans are to use teams to develop and transform a number of underground sites in the city. Paris has built more than 100,000 square metres of incubators over the last ten years, and hosts now the world’s largest start-up campus. It also spends approximately 5% of its budget on projects which have been proposed by its citizens. This strategy makes it one of the strongest cities for innovators and businesses.

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