1 Dec 2023

Cork joins European innovation elite with 3rd place finish at the European Capital of Innovation Awards

In a major endorsement of its reputation for innovation, Cork City was last night awarded third place in the European Rising Innovative City category at the European Capital of Innovation Awards, another reason to invest in Cork.

Cork City’s excellent innovation ecosystem, the key roles played by its various stakeholders, including Cork City Council, UCC, MTU, Tyndall and Cork BIC, and how they all interact, collaborate and create impact, was recognised at a European Commission ceremony in Marseille, France.

Sean Lotty (Cork Smart Gateway); Deputy Lord Mayor Cllr Mick Finn; Claire Davis (Digital Officer, Cork City Council,); Seamus Coghlan (Head of Economic Development, Cork City Council,); Dr Niall O’Keeffe (Head of Enterprise (Local Enterprise Office), Cork City Council)

The ‘iCapital’ awards are an annual celebration of the European cities that best promote and shape innovation locally, by bringing individuals and organisations together to work towards improving quality of life and wellbeing for residents and communities.

Having originally been shortlisted from among thirty entrants and having then satisfied a European Innovation Council (EIC) ‘semi-final’ expert jury hearing in September, Cork’s bid – led by the City Council- progressed to the final , ultimately placing behind winner Linkoping (Sweden) and runner up Padova (Italy), in the category for cities of fewer than 250,000 residents.

 In addition to the recognition for excelling in collaborative and sustainable innovation, Cork City has been awarded a prize of €50,000 which will support continued efforts to foster systemic innovation in the Cork region.

Deputy Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Mick Finn pictured with host President of the Aix-Marseille-Provence Métropole, Martine Vassal and European Commissioner for Innovation Ili Ivanova at the European Capital of Innovation 2023 awards ceremony in Marseille (27 November).

The judge panelling commended Cork as Ireland’s second city,  “the home of the ‘Rebels’, as Corkonians are known, is a place that does not settle for second-best, nor necessarily for the status quo, but instead seeks to disruptively explore what’s possible.”

Accepting the award in Marseille, Deputy Lord Mayor, Councillor Mick Finn acknowledged the ‘’significant achievement of ranking third across Europe in this highly competitive sector.”

UCC campus – among the key stakeholders for cork’s innovation efforts

Cllr. Finn paid tribute to “all the actors that play their part in the innovation ecosystem which contributes to the recognised attractiveness of Cork as a city in which to live, work and visit”.

 ‘’We are delighted with this recognition on behalf of our residents and all the organisations – public, academic, private and community – that work collectively providing a real testbed for innovation in Cork,” he said.

 ‘’ For example, Cork is stepping up to the most critical global societal challenges of our time, namely climate change, by showing leadership as one of the designated cities selected to drive the EU Mission for one hundred Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities. Reflecting this, we have set ambitious targets for our city, not only to accelerate our transformation to attaining net-zero carbon emissions status over the coming years – a daunting task in itself – but to achieve this in a just and inclusive manner that leaves nobody behind. This clearly requires innovation – everything from adopting new ways of engagement, decision-making and working together, based on approaches that ‘think-outside-the-box’ and address issues and barriers from fresh perspectives to testing and leveraging the power of new technologies. We will only succeed if we have citywide buy-in to both co-design and deliver on a truly shared vision of a sustainable and equitable future for Cork and its residents” he said.

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