26 mei Groningen nominated for European ‘iCapital’
The European Commission has awarded the European Capital of Innovation (“iCapital”) prize to Barcelona (Spain) “for introducing the use of new technologies to bring the city closer to citizens”. The €500,000 iCapital prize will be used to scale up and expand Barcelona’s efforts on innovation. Groningen was one of three finalists out of 60 participating cities in Europe. The other finalist, alongside Groningen and Barcelona, was Grenoble (France).
Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, said: “Barcelona is a deserving winner of the first iCapital award, for its dedication to using new technology for the benefit of its inhabitants. Still, there were many other great initiatives and proposals, and I want cities and regions to join together and share their experiences. Outstanding initiatives at the local level will contribute to keep turning the European Union into an Innovation Union.”
Smart Energy City
Groningen participated under the title ‘Groningen a Smart Energy City’. Inspired by the Power Matching City project, in which inhabitants profit from a smart energy network, Groningen proposed further advancements in the development of smart energy solutions for the city’s inhabitants.
Alderman Joost van Keulen, who was present at the conference in Brussels, does not see missing out on the title as a loss: ‘Our nomination shows that there is great appreciation in Europe for choosing energy as one of the priorities in our economic policy. The clustering of knowledge, research and experience on the topic of energy in Groningen is very beneficial for innovative and sustainable solutions. Groningen’s strength is that the city’s inhabitants can directly profit from that.’
Jolanda Hekman, the driving force behind the Groningen campaign on behalf of the Hanze University of Applied Sciences, has noticed that the city’s presentation was praised widely. ‘I am slightly prejudiced, but the film shown by Groningen to support its candidacy was truly great. You can watch it yourself.’
Innovation in Europe
Innovation is central to economic growth and business competitiveness, and is at the heart of the EU’s Europe 2020 strategy. Two thirds of the EU population now lives in urban areas. These areas therefore have a key role to play in making Europe more innovative, and making these areas more innovative makes them a better place to live.
With the European Capital of Innovation Award, the Commission is recognising those cities which are making major efforts to promote innovation and improving the quality of their citizens’ lives.
Bron: Europese Commissie, ‘Barcelona is “iCapital” of Europe’, 11-3-‘14 Energy Valley, ‘Groningen feliciteert innovatiehoofdstad Barcelona’, 11-3-‘14
Auteur: Marloes van Nistelrooij, Huis van de Nederlandse Provincies, Brussel
Foto: Zernike Campus Groningen. © Harold Koopmans, VentoBoreale