Dortmund becomes European Capital of Innovation 2021

The title was awarded by the European Innovation Council  as part of the European Commission’s Horizon program. 

The slogan of the application is “Innovation Next Door – Future from the Neighbourhood”.

Great news from our partners in Dortmund. The City has won the competition iCapital Award 2021 – European Capital of Innovation. The European Commission announced the result at the Europe Innovation Council Summit in Brussels. Mariya Gabriel, EU Commissioner for Research, Education, Culture and Youth, presented the award on November 25. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the delegation decided to participate in the Award Ceremony via video link – streaming live from a rooftop overlooking the city’s panorama, including Dortmund’s iconic U-tower that was especially illuminated with the EU-flag.

The European Capital of Innovation awards is an annual recognition prize awarded to the European cities that best promote innovation in their communities. The European Capital of Innovation category addresses cities with a population of minimum 250 0009 inhabitants and rewards the winner with one million euros and two runners-up with 100.000 euros each. 

The application focused on the city’s innovation model with its wide range of social, sustainable and technology-oriented projects and strategic approaches. Social innovation plays an important role in the city of Dortmund’s understanding of innovation.

In Dortmund, social innovations are created in particular through collaboration, for example in the “nordwärts” decade project for public participation, in Social Entrepreneurship Incubation programmes such as “” or in creative places and makerspaces such as the Union Gewerbehof. Committed citizens also contribute their good ideas in numerous dialog formats, e.g., at the “Helpathon,” where ideas for the time with and after the Covid-19 pandemic were co-created with a diverse variety of stakeholders in the city.

T-Factor is part of the Innovation Next Door campaign as an important project linked to Dortmunder U – a centre for the arts, culture and education. It is characterised as one of the “Hotspots and networks as innovation drivers” in the campaign, emphasising that T-Factor’s mission is to boost radical new approaches to urban regeneration.

T-Factor partners in Dortmund are the Social Innovation Center of Dortmund’s economic development Agency as well as the Social Research Center of TU Dortmund University with a long history in social innovation research.

More information

  1. European Innovation Council – Announcement of European Capital of Innovation 2021
  2. “Innovation next door” – campaign video
  3. “Innovation next door” campaign

Picture: Dortmund wins “iCapital Award 2021”, (© City of Dortmund)