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Cluj-Napoca, finalist in the „European Capital of Innovation 2020” competition

Cluj-Napoca is among the finalist cities in the competition for the title of "European Capital of Innovation 2020" along with Milan, Vienna, Linz, Valencia and seven other European cities. The city could not only receive this prestigious title, but it could also receive 1.000.000 EUR to further invest in the wellbeing of the community. Cluj-Napoca is the only city in Eastern Europe that managed to rank as a finalist in this competition.

The award recognizes the merits of European cities that develop dynamic innovation ecosystems designed to address public life challenges and improve citizens's lives.

The Commission will announce the winner and recipients of the other award-winning places in the competition at the European Research and Innovation Days, which will take place from 22 to 24 September 2020.

The finalists of this year's edition are (in alphabetical order):

Cluj-Napoca (Romania)
Espoo (Finland)
Gent (Belgium)
Groningen (Netherlands)
Helsingborg (Sweden)
Leeuwarden (Netherlands)
Leuven (Belgium)
Linz (Austria)
Milan (Italy)
Reykjavik (Iceland)
Valencia (Spain)
Vienna (Austria)

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said:
„Innovation is key for cities to ensure a sustainable recovery after challenging times. When cities nurture innovation ecosystems so that innovation actors and citizens meet and collaborate, they boost their development and resilience. The sixth edition of the European Capital of Innovation Award is set to be another strong contest and will showcase the best innovative practices that drive European cities forward.”

Transilvania IT Cluster together with Transilvania Digital Innovation Hub carries out several innovation programs in the region, and one of the strengths of Cluj, according to Bianca Muntean, Transilvania IT Cluster manager is the ecosystem created and the vision of those involved in the development of the city.

"The strengths of Cluj are those that we have been talking about for a long time and refer primarily to the ecosystem, to the partners who work together in this city and here I do not mean only the IT companies, which we represent and which have played over the years an extremely important role in the development of the city and continue to do so, but I also talk about the vision and leadership of the local public administration and the teams that work in Cluj-Napoca City Hall, Universities, Research Institutes and the fact that we have already started to develop more than four, five years ago, projects designed to bring innovation in all existing areas.

 Our plans for the next years, 2021-2027, refer to the development of Transilvania Digital Innovation Hub, where, together with the member clusters in the Cluster Consortium of Northern Transylvania, the Universities of Cluj will also be an active part. One of the things I want to mention is this cross-sectoral approach. Basically, we are not just talking about technology, technology is an enabler, but it is the element that supports innovation in all other areas of activity present in our city and region.", said Bianca Muntean, manager of Transilvania IT Cluster and coordinator of Transilvania Digital Innovation Hub.

The finalists were selected by a jury of independent experts, who looked at how cities use innovative solutions to meet societal challenges, how they use these practices in the process of urban development, and how they involve local communities in the decision-making process.

The winning city will receive the title of "European Innovation Capital 2020" together with the amount of 1 million euros to support its innovation activities and strengthen its capacity to establish connections between citizens, the public sector, academia and business, in order to bring benefits to its communities. Each of the five cities that will be ranked next will receive 100,000 euros.

The award is funded by Horizon 2020 Program