The Belgium city of Leuven is the €1 million winner of this year’s European Capital of Innovation competition. The European Commission made the announcement during the online European Research and Innovation Days event.
Leuven’s progress in bringing the city together to take forward a climate transition strategy; its open call to citizens asking for ideas on how to make it ‘a better place to live, work and play’; and its ‘online platform launched during the COVID-19 crisis’ that ‘connected residents in need with thousands of volunteers ready to help’ were some of the reasons the city came out on top.
Mohamed Ridouani, the Mayor of Leuven, said: “I am honoured and thankful for this award, which is a symbol of hope for a better common future, especially in these challenging times. Innovation for the better and for all is Leuven’s motto. Collaboration and empathetic leadership, translated systematically into an engaging governance model, is our way of getting it done.”
All the runner-up cities – Cluj-Napoca (Romania), Espoo (Finland), Helsingborg (Sweden), Valencia (Spain) and Vienna (Austria) – will walk away with €100,000 each. The prize money is funded through Horizon 2020, the EU research and innovation programme.