In September, the city of Nantes at the head of the Loire River in northwest France was named the European Capital of Innovation 2019, receiving a €1 million prize funded by Horizon 2020, the EU's research and innovation program. The five runner-up cities — Antwerp (Belgium), Bristol (UK), Espoo (Finland), Glasgow (UK) and Rotterdam (Netherlands) — received €100,000 each to promote and scale up their own innovation practices. Nantes won the prize because of its blend of open governance, creative redevelopment and startup and social ecosystem support initiatives.
Below are the winners and runners-up from past editions of the competition since it was launched in 2014. Altogether, Conway Analytics over the past four years has tracked more than 200 corporate facility investments in all 21 cities. Hamburg leads the way in total projects with 37, followed by Amsterdam, Barcelona and Glasgow. Recent investments in Nantes have come from such firms as Eurofins and Yaskawa France.
2018 Winner: Athens, Greece
Runners-up: Aarhus, Denmark; Hamburg, Germany; Leuven, Belgium; Toulouse, France; and Umeå, Sweden
2017 Winner: Paris, France
Runners-up: Tallinn, Estonia; Tel Aviv, Israel (Israel was first non-EU nation to join the Horizon 2020 program)
2016 Winner: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Runners-up: Turin, Italy; Paris, France
2014 Winner: Barcelona, Spain
Runners-up: Grenoble, France; Groningen, Netherlands