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European Capital of Innovation 2020

Since 2020, Leuven can call itself European Capital of Innovation. The prestigious award from the European Commission rewards the city that makes the best use of innovation to improve the quality of life of its inhabitants. Together with Leuven 2030 and Leuven MindGate, the city of Leuven submitted a dossier to the European Commission for the so called iCapital Award.

Why was Leuven elected as European Capital of Innovation?

The European Commission awards this prize to the city that has shown optimal application of innovation in improving the quality of life for its citizens and in creating new and ground-breaking solutions to public challenges.

In 2020, the iCapital jury unanimously chose Leuven as European Innovation Capital. The European Commission praised the way in which Leuven sets up inspiring governance models in which residents, companies, organizations and knowledge institutions are committed to help shape the future.

The KU Leuven - Agoria Solar Team has triumphed in the World Solar Challenge 2019 in Australia, a race for vehicles running on solar energy only.
© Geert Vanden Wijngaert, KU Leuven - The KU Leuven - Agoria Solar Team has triumphed in the World Solar Challenge 2019 in Australia, a race for vehicles running on solar energy only.

An award for a unique ecosystem

The city of Leuven has established a unique symbiosis of empathy in leadership and structural collaboration between citizens, knowledge institutions and local organisations.

In this way, the city has always adhered to its aspiration to create a brighter future, for itself and far beyond. This constant and durable awareness of the value of cooperation was recognized and awarded by the European Commission.

Leuven is the sixth European and only Belgian city to bear the title of 'European Capital of Innovation'. World-renowned cities such as Amsterdam, Barcelona and Paris are former winners.

"Together with residents, organizations, companies and knowledge institutions, we work every day to create a better future, for Leuven and far beyond. This way of deep cooperation is now being rewarded by Europe."

Mohamed Ridouani, mayor of Leuven

How was Leuven MindGate involved?

The city of Leuven applied for the award in close collaboration with Leuven 2030 and Leuven MindGate. Together with these partners, we submitted the winning dossier that highlights the Leuven Innovation Region as an amazing place to work, live, meet and study.

To go above and beyond

A wide array of public challenges are being tackled by Leuven and its ground-breaking network of collaborations: climate issues and global warming, culture, high quality and low-threshold education and care.

Leuven insists on creating optimal opportunities and a fruitful framework for all its citizens and stakeholders. It has generated a unique and fertile soil for creativity and innovation, stimulated by the Leuven MindGate network.

The iCapital award encourages all actors in the region to further go above and beyond to stimulate collaboration and innovation in the Leuven Innovation Region.

"Leuven gives citizens, authorities, companies and the academic world opportunities to innovate. Projects such as Leuven MindGate illustrate why the city received the iCapital title. Leuven is a source of inspiration for other European cities."

Mariya Gabriel, EU Commissioner for Innovation

More info

The brochure 'We are Leuven, European Capital of Innovation' explains what innovation actually means and how we can all benefit from it.

Listen to the podcast 'How Leuven became European Capital of Innovation', where Mayor Mohamed Ridouani, director of Leuven 2030 Katrien Rycken and director of Leuven MindGate Johan Merlevede will tell you all about what those innovations are, and how Leuven exactly earned this award.

How can we help?

The Leuven MindGate team is at your disposal for any questions about the Leuven Innovation Region. Do you want to invest, work or study in the region? We can help you find your way.

We also facilitate collaboration and innovation between companies, knowledge institutes and government within the Leuven Innovation Region, and we are happy to guide any of these stakeholders towards innovation.