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Barcelona becomes the first European Innovation Capital

During the 2014 Innovation Convention, organised by the European Commission on Tuesday, Barcelona was named the first European Capital of Innovation. The Catalan capital has prevailed over finalists Grenoble (France) and Groningen (the Netherlands) in a contest which also involved Paris, Espoo (Finland) and Malaga (Spain). The winning project highlights the predominant role of the city in promoting new technologies and bringing together government bodies and citizens, in order to enhance sustainable economic growth and improve the people’s welfare. The award is endowed with € 500,000 to promote innovation. Barcelona's Mayor, Xavier Trias, stated that new technologies in an urban environment have to "work towards improving people's everyday lives[…] or they will fail".

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11 March 2014 07:42 PM

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ACN

Brussels (ACN). - During the 2014 Innovation Convention, organised by the European Commission on Tuesday, Barcelona was named the first European Capital of Innovation. The Catalan capital has prevailed over finalists Grenoble (France) and Groningen (the Netherlands) in a contest which also involved Paris, Espoo (Finland) and Malaga (Spain). The winning project highlights the predominant role of the city in promoting new technologies and bringing together government bodies and citizens, in order to enhance sustainable economic growth and improve the people’s welfare. The award, endowed with € 500,000 to promote innovation, was presented to the Mayor of Barcelona, Xavier Trias, who attended the 2014 Innovation Convention in Brussels. Trias stated that new technologies in an urban environment have to "work towards improving people's everyday lives […] or they will fail". The European Capital of Innovation has been created as part of the EU’s strategy for 2020, aiming towards becoming an ‘Innovation Union’. The EU has therefore been encouraging smart and sustainable developments in cities, where 68% of its population live.


Barcelona was awarded the title for its ‘Barcelona com a ciutat de les persones’ project (Barcelona as city of the people) or iBarcelona, which includes a number of initiatives to meet the needs of citizens through new information and communication technologies (ICT). Barcelona’s “innovative ecosystem” relies on three pillars: ‘Open Government’, the ‘Smart Cities’ project and improved mobility.

Among the initiatives developed in the Catalan capital there are, for instance, providing an easy access to information for citizens and businesses, notably thanks to ‘Ciutadà Llest’ (Smart Citizen). Barcelona has also promoted sustainable growth, for instance by focusing on intelligent lighting or green vehicles.

In November 2013, the city welcomed the 27th edition of the World Electric Vehicle Symposium (EVS27), the main international congress and trade fair in this sector with attendees from 58 countries, 1,300 delegates and 232 exhibitors. Furthermore, since 2006, Barcelona has been hosting the Mobile World Congress, which is the world's main event of the mobile-related industries, building the Mobile World Capital project to create a business environment for this industry. Along the same lines, all the measures taken in the innovation and social welfare fields have also been valued by the European Commission.

International partnerships with companies and research centres

Barcelona's bid has also been praised for the promotion of partnerships between public and private sectors that have boosted ties with companies such as CISCO, IBM, Telefónica, Alcatel -Lucent and Schneider. The project will also include partnerships with research centres and universities, notably Barcelona’s i2GAT technology centre or CESCA Superior Institute of technology, France’s National Institute of Research in Computer Science and Automatic Control (INRIA) and the Dublin Institute of Technology.

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  • The Mayor of Barcelona, Xavier Trias, receiving the award on behalf of the city (by A. Segura)

  • The Mayor of Barcelona, Xavier Trias, receiving the award on behalf of the city (by A. Segura)
Barcelona becomes the first European Innovation Capital