Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, won third place at the annual European Capital of Innovation Awards (iCapital) 2021. The city joined other finalists in The European Capital of Innovation category: Dortmund, Dublin and Malaga. Apart from the prestigious recognition, the winner Dortmund received funding for various projects.
Held for the seventh time, the awards took place at the European Innovation Council Summit in Brussels and online on November 24–25, recognising European cities which implement and promote innovations. One of the main focuses of the awards are urban ecosystems that involve communities, the public sector, academia and business, and that boosts the well-being of the citizens through a range of novelties.
A total of 38 European cities applied for the awards this year. Aside from the European Capital of Innovation category, other selected finalists (Cascais, Trondheim, Vantaa) competed in the European Rising Innovative City. An independent committee of experts assessed the eligibility of the cities, having considered their efforts to develop local innovation systems, which would increase the welfare of the citizens the most. The cash prize for the most innovative capital amounted to €1 million for first place and €100.000 for second and third places.
“We are very proud that Vilnius’ efforts have been recognised and that we can show an example to other European cities. In the past year, our ecosystem proved significant strength and resilience to cope with the global challenges by developing innovative solutions. Thanks to the academia, business representatives, legislators, and all the city residents who work tirelessly to improve our capital, each day Vilnius becomes a better, happier place to live,” said Remigijus Šimašius, Mayor of Vilnius.
Vilnius’ application to the awards included several key projects implemented last year: the city’s digitisation policy “Vilnius 2IN,” experimental cybersecurity initiative “Hack Me If You Can” “Intelligent Energy Lab” initiative, and other innovation development projects. The city also developed three data policies – Internet of Things, Data and Open Data – which allowed it to carry out other innovative projects. It set the ground for the creation of three comprehensive digital maps of the city for the underground, city level, and air space.
Moreover, the city has been actively exploiting cutting edge technology such as drones since 2020. Special air routes have been mapped and an operational centre has been established to use drones for the benefit of the citizens, for instance, to observe public spaces and carry light-weight items during the pandemic.
About Go Vilnius
Go Vilnius is the official tourism and business development agency of the City of Vilnius. The agency provides visitors, meeting planners, investors, relocating talent, entrepreneurs, and businesses with all the essential information they need to know about the Lithuanian capital. Go Vilnius offers information on everything from real estate to leisure activities in Vilnius, simplifying the process of travelling, relocating to, or investing in Vilnius.