The "European Innovation Capital of 2018" was held today in Athens by the European Commission at a special ceremony in Lisbon. This is one of the most important differences in the history of the city, and the awards are accompanied by a financial prize of one million euros.
This difference rewards European cities that produce and use innovative solutions to improve citizens' daily lives. In particular, it is aimed at cities that use innovation to improve their resilience and sustainability, and provide new opportunities for citizens and cities that contribute to the creation of dynamic, innovative ecosystems and collaborate with citizens to make decisions and implement measures.
More specifically, some innovations inspired by the city of Athens, which, according to the Commission's communication, have come first in the competition are:
* POLIS² project aimed at reviving abandoned buildings by providing small grants to residents, small businesses, creative communities and other civil society groups living in all parts of Athens.
* Renewal of the Kypseli Municipal Market, a 90-year-old building with the active support of the citizens of Athens, wants to create a market according to the model of social entrepreneurship, which will host exhibitions, workshops, theater performances and other initiatives.
* Exploiting the Serafion complex by turning it into a popular entertainment venue for children who will host a host of initiatives such as the Athens Digital Laboratory, the Open School or the Culture Network in Athens, and the modernist center of events after a joint decision by the municipality and the local community.
* The Curing the Limbo initiative, which provides refugees and migrants with the opportunity to interact with other people to learn languages, develop new skills, find employment opportunities and active citizenship.
* A digital world where communities bring together businesses and educational institutions to provide digital literacy and technological training and promote sustainable innovation applications such as smart recycling boxes.
* Initiative "This is Athens", in which the municipality invited volunteers to discuss the present and the past in the city with some of the five million tourists who visited Athens in 2017.
Competition took place for the first time in 2014. The winning cities are Barcelona (2014), Amsterdam (2016) and Paris (2017). The prizes are awarded under the current EU's research and innovation program Horizon 2020 with a budget of EUR 77 billion (2014-2020). The next competition for the European Capital of Innovation is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2019.
The competition spots – Denmark (Denmark), Hamburg (Germany), Leeuwen (Belgium), Toulouse (France) and Umeå (Sweden) – each received € 100,000. The prize pool will be used to further improve local innovation activities and cooperation with other cities.