The award recognises Leuven’s excellent innovation concepts as well as processes and governance models creating a framework that brings ideas to life. The municipality will receive a €1,000,000 prize funded under Horizon 2020, the EU research and innovation programme. The five runner-up cities – Cluj-Napoca (Romania), Espoo (Finland), Helsingborg (Sweden), Valencia (Spain) and Vienna (Austria) – will receive €100,000 each.
Leuven is the sixth city to win the European Capital of Innovation award, and the third non-capital city after Barcelona and Nantes. The city aims to become one of Europe’s Labs of the Future through a mission-oriented model that facilitates collaborative innovation. Different groups of stakeholders come together, with the common purpose of innovating around complex challenges from climate change and the shift to a circular economy to ensuring high-quality education and care. Leuven is not only providing increased opportunities for innovating to its citizens, but also actively involving them in testing their ideas in the city.