Oxford is one of nine major cities named as the finalists for the European Capital of Innovation Award 2016. Oxford is up against a shortlist of large cities, many of which are also capital cities.
The shortlist, which was announced on 21 January 2016 by the European Commission, includes Amsterdam; Berlin; Eindhoven; Glasgow; Milan; Paris; Turin, and Vienna.
A prize of €950,000 will go to the city that is judged to be creating the best “innovation ecosystem”, connecting citizens, public organisations, academia, and business. The winning city is expected to build on its success by scaling up its most successful projects that support innovation. The winner and two runners-up will be announced in April
The shortlist was selected from nearly 40 bids, by a panel of independent experts, for outstanding track records in innovation.
Oxford’s bid was developed by the City Council with a team of partners from the County Council, the two universities, the Low Carbon Hub, the Student Hub, the Hospital Trust, local businesses and other community organisations. If the bid is successful, the Oxford partnership will focus its activity in developing the following five areas:
- Inspiring a new generation of science and technology talent from all backgrounds
- Mainstreaming ultra-low carbon technology across the entire community
- Pioneering transformative and replicable smart city solutions in health and mobility.
- Helping more people to become civic/social entrepreneurs who will improve lives in the city and society as a whole
- Growing our rich mosaic of innovation spaces to both keep pace with, and support, the flow of ideas spinning out of our ecosystem.
Councillor Bob Price, Leader of Oxford City Council, said: “We are delighted to have reached the shortlist in this very competitive field. The fact that Oxford is up against major cities like Paris and Berlin demonstrates the strength of the bid, our local economy and our local partnerships. We are aiming to be Europe’s ‘Learning City’, for a year, and to fund over 100 young people from Oxford to work with colleagues from other countries on innovative projects that will benefit our community and our economy. We share many of the same challenges as other mid-sized cities in Europe, in transport, the environment, community integration and healthcare, and aim to foster a two-way sharing of knowledge across Europe for everyone’s benefit.”
Professor Ian Walmsley, Hooke Professor of Experimental Physics and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) at the University of Oxford, said: ‘Oxford has a complex and thriving innovation ecosystem where technologies and people converge to develop new, innovative solutions to global challenges. The University of Oxford plays an important part in this, alongside other local institutions, researchers, entrepreneurs, investors and citizens.
“The European Capital of Innovation 2016 competition will strengthen these partnerships across the city. This will enable the region to share with and learn from other innovative cities around Europe that deliver real impact for people in the region and across the continent, by providing new opportunities and better quality of life.’
In addition to the City Council, Oxford’s iCapital 2016 bid was funded by Oxford University; Oxford Brookes University; Oxfordshire County Council; Venturefest Oxford; Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership; InOxford, and The Oxford Trust.