Groningen fighting for EU Innovation Capital title

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Groningen is one of six cities shortlisted for the first European Capital of Innovation, or iCapital, awards. 

Groningen. Source: Wikimedia Commons/Bert Kaufmann

The city will compete with Barcelona, Espoo, Grenoble, Malaga and Paris for the title and a grand prize of €500,000. The award will go to the city that best demonstrates an "innovation ecosystem," connecting citizens, public organizations, academia, and business.

The iCapital Award was initiated as a stimulus for innovation in European cities, with the idea to create a network of cities that can work together on ideas for the future.

Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, said, "The response to this competition was impressive, with 58 European cities applying. This demonstrates that there is real interest among European public administrations to boost innovation and modernize and improve services for citizens.

"At the end of the day there can only be one winner but we can all learn from each other by sharing our best ideas."

According to a , Groningen made the list due to the city's "use of new concepts, tools and processes to develop a user-centered smart energy ecosystem."

Groningen profiles itself as a "smart energy city," because the Energy and ICT sectors are strongly represented in the Groningen economy. The city is already taking part in smart energy projects such as "PowerMatchingCity" and "1000 Slimme Huishoudens" (or, "1,000 Smart Households").

Let's hope that the city's motto, "Er gaat niets boven Groningen," there's nothing above Groningen, will ring true when the winner of the iCapital Award is announced at the Innovation Convention 2014, which will take place in Brussels on 10 and 11 March.