Tallinn awarded for being a testing ground for breakthrough technologies

The European Commission has awarded the Estonian capital, Tallinn, for its initiative to act as a testing ground for potential breakthrough technologies.

According to the European Commission, Tallinn has “fostered the use of self-driving cars, parcel delivery robots and ride-sharing”. According to a statement by the commission, “Tallinn has also implemented an innovative e-residency system, which enables local citizens and businesses to work closely together with foreign entrepreneurs” – although this is a state initiative, not the city’s.

The French capital, Paris, was awarded the 2017 European Capital of Innovation prize of €1,000,000. The award recognises Paris for its inclusive innovation strategy.

The runner-ups – Tallinn and Israel’s second-largest city and tech hub, Tel Aviv – were both awarded €100,000. The prize money will be used to scale up and further expand the cities’ innovation efforts, according to the commission.

Tel Aviv got the award for it having set up a Smart City Urban Lab that links up innovative start-ups with leading technology companies in order to facilitate breakthrough innovations for solving urban challenges.

Developing and testing out new ideas

“Cities are not defined by their size and population, but by the breadth of their vision and the power bestowed upon their citizens,” Carlos Moedas, the commissioner for research, science and innovation, said. “Some cities are not afraid to experiment. They are not afraid to involve their citizens in developing and testing out new ideas. These are the cities that empower their citizens. Today we are here to acknowledge these cities.”

The 2017 European Capital of Innovation award competition was launched in March 2017 for cities with over 100,000 inhabitants from EU member states and countries associated to Horizon 2020. Thirty-two cities from seventeen countries applied to this year’s competition.

The winners were chosen by a panel of independent experts coming from universities and the business sector,” the commission said.

The European Capital of Innovation award competition first took place in 2014. The awards are granted under Horizon 2020, the EU’s biggest ever research and innovation framework programme with a budget of €77 billion over seven years (2014-2020).

The competition for the 2018 European Capital of Innovation is due to be launched in the first quarter of 2018.

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Cover: A driverless shuttle in Tallinn, summer 2017 (the image is illustrative).

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About the author: Sten Hankewitz

Sten Hankewitz is a lifelong journalist and Deputy Editor of Estonian World. Having lived in Estonia, Spain and the UK, he now resides in the United States. He loves to write and besides contributing to Estonian World and some occasional blogging, he writes for other media outlets in Estonia, Israel and elsewhere. He has strong convictions and he shows them unashamedly. You can follow him on Twitter, friend him on Facebook or check out his personal blog. You can write to Sten at sten@estonianworld.com.