Leuven is European Capital of Innovation

Leuven is European Capital of Innovation

Leuven can call itself 'European Capital of Innovation' (iCapital) for one year and receives the accompanying prize of 1 million euros. The European Commission awarded this prize to the city that makes the best use of innovation to improve the quality of life of its inhabitants. Leuven competed in the final against other cities such as Valencia, Vienna and Helsingborg. "This is a great recognition of the cooperation model that Leuven uses in many ways to tackle major societal challenges", says Mayor Mohamed Ridouani, who received the award virtually during the European Research & Innovation Days.

Together with Leuven 2030 and Leuven MindGate, the city of Leuven submitted a dossier to the European Commission. "Together with organizations, knowledge institutions and residents, we are working every day to create a better future for our city and join forces to tackle societal challenges and shared ambitions," said Mayor Mohamed Ridouani. "This way of working together is now being rewarded by Europe. It makes me very proud of our city, and I would like to thank everyone who is working on it. We have earned this recognition together and it proves that we must continue to work in this way to make Leuven one of the most sustainable, social and prosperous cities in Europe".

Acceleration of the transition definitively set in motion

"The jury did not fail to notice that Leuven invariably leads the way with its innovative and ambitious approach to the current societal challenges and fully embraces the map of collaboration and inspiring leadership. The fact that the city of Leuven, Leuven MindGate and Leuven 2030 have joined forces for this recognition, each from their social perspective, is exemplary of the confidence in joining forces in this mission-driven city. This award is a great endorsement of the groundbreaking work that so many committed and passionate people of Leuven are doing every day to build together the best possible future for Leuven. The acceleration of our transition to a sustainable and climate-neutral Leuven has definitively begun," says Katrien Rycken, director of Leuven 2030.

Innovation is indispensable

Johan Merlevede, director of Leuven MindGate, adds: "This award is an exceptional recognition of the innovative power of Leuven's ecosystem. Anyone in Leuven can be proud to live or work in the city that is recognized by Europe as the capital of innovation. The innovations in Leuven therefore make people's lives better: just think of all the Leuven inventions that have made life a little more bearable over the past corona months. Above all, the iCapital-award should encourage us to continue our commitment to cooperation and innovation on a technological, climatic and social level. This is what makes the Leuven region so strong and unique. This is where the good-looking and creative minds come together, and together we get an even better end result".

Text © Leuven MindGate