In the list of finalists of the competition for the title of “European Capital of Innovation”, there is also the city loved by Romanians, Cluj-Napoca, along with a list of other European capitals.
The European Innovation Capital Award, funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, recognizes the merits of European cities developing innovation ecosystems that address the challenges of local public life.
Finalists included cities such as Cluj-Napoca (Romania), Espoo (Finland), Ghent (Belgium), Groningen (Netherlands), Helsingborg (Sweden), Leeuwarden (Netherlands), Leuven (Belgium), Linz (Austria), Milan (Italy), Reykjavik (Iceland), Valencia (Spain), Vienna (Austria).
The winning city received the title of “European Capital of Innovation 2020”, as well as the amount of 1 million euros to support its innovation activities and strengthen its interconnection capacity between citizens, the public sector, academia and enterprises, with the aim of to bring societal benefits to its communities.
Each of the five cities that will be ranked next will receive 100,000 euros.
The Belgian city of Leuven was named European Capital of Innovation this year, and received one million euros in the process.
That’s why Leuven was named the winner
The city of only 100,000 people has created a reputation as a center of innovation in the fields of health, environment and education.
An example of this is the so-called “health house” called Leuven Mindgate, which presents the latest technologies in the field of health.
Johan Merlevede, its general manager, pointed out Euronews reporters a device for displaying the location of veins in people’s arms to facilitate injections for medical professionals.
Leuven aims to be carbon neutral by 2050 and has implemented a mobility plan that has increased the number of cyclists and reduced CO2 emissions.
The buildings are also being renovated to achieve the goal and new parks have been created.
Civic involvement has been the driving force behind innovation in Leuven
Citizens were invited to contribute to the new projects in Leuven.
While the EU praised the governance model in Leuven, the mayor acknowledged that the involvement of citizens and stakeholders is easier in a city of 100,000 people.
“If you don’t start from the local domain, you won’t get anywhere. And I’m pretty optimistic, you know why? ”
“Local governments go further than their national governments, but in the end, national governments are complying as well. So I hope that big institutions, such as the European Union, will pay more attention to what is happening at the local level and I see they are already starting to do it “, said Mohamed Ridouani, the mayor of Leuven.
Previous winners of the EU Innovation Capital Award include Barcelona, Amsterdam, Paris, Athens and Nantes.
The good news for Romanians – until we can reach a really high level in the field of innovation – however, comes with the ranking of Cluj on the next places in the competition, which provides the city with a reward of 100,000 euros.
The finalists, who won 100,000 euros each, are: Cluj-Napoca (Romania), Espoo (Finland), Helsingborg (Sweden), Valencia (Spain), Vienna (Austria).