Bristol is in the running to be named European Capital of Innovation 2018, the only UK city being considered.

It has been shortlisted as the ‘iCapital’ alongside Aarhus, Antwerp, Athens, Gothenburg, Hamburg, Leuven, Lisbon, Madrid, Toulouse, Umeå and Vienna.

The cities are to present their innovation strategies at the ‘iCapital Stories’ session at this year’s European week of regions and cities in Brussels on 10 October. The winner will be announced at the Web Summit in Lisbon on 6 November by Carlos Moedas, the EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, and will receive €1m. Five runners up will receive €100,000 each.

The winner in 2017 was Paris, while in 2016 it was Amsterdam and the first winner in 2014 was Barcelona. Researchers in Bristol work closely with colleagues in Barcelona on a number of smart city projects.

The panel of independent judges is looking for cities that contribute to open and dynamic innovation ecosystems, involve citizens in governance and decision-making and use innovation to improve the resiliency and sustainability of their cities.

Cities have to show how they created the conditions for innovation by experimenting innovative concepts, processes, tools, and governance models as a test-bed for innovation as well as engaging citizens in the innovation process and ensuring the uptake of their ideas. The aim is to expand a city’s attractiveness as a role model.

Bristol has been highlighted as the UK’s leading smart city by Huawei and is the UK’s leading technology cluster, hosting part of the world’s leading business accelerator, SETsquared, at the EngineShed (above). It has also hosted the first public demonstrations of 5G wireless using technology developed in the city.

The EngineShed has just launched a Scale-Up Generator website to support fast growth businesses

Nick Flaherty