Espoo makes it to the semi-final of the European Capital of Innovation competition 

9.9.2022 8.27Updated: 12.9.2022 9.07

Espoo has been selected as one of the 6 semifinalists in the European Capital of Innovation (iCapital) competition.  

Espoo’s unique innovation community produces the sixth-highest number of patent applications in Europe, waste heat from the Fortum data centre is used in district heating, and early childhood education professionals quickly implemented remote solutions for communication with homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. These examples show that the whole Espoo community is involved in creating a sustainable city through its innovation. 

At the core of Espoo’s 2022 competition application are four principles, from which the community’s unique innovation work is built: 

1) A radical cross-disciplinary collaboration.  

More than over 400 Research & Development units, a top-level business, design and tech university, and a host of leading companies clustered in a small area.  

The city, together with Aalto University and Technical Research Centre VTT, forms a core that brings together all players – start-ups, students, top companies, researchers, and ordinary citizens – to create innovation for a better life. 

2) We serve people and the planet.  

Sustainable development is the driving force behind innovation in Espoo. In a study of over 140 European cities, Espoo ranked as the most sustainable.  

3) Our cooperation builds on closeness and trust.  

In Espoo, decision-makers, thinkers and doers from all industries and disciplines are just a bike ride away. 

4) We focus on people’s well-being and inclusion.  

Espoo has been ranked as the happiest city in a country that consistently ranks as the happiest in the world. It shows that Espoo is home to the kind of innovation the world needs right now: the kind that ensures people’s happiness, the kind that builds a sustainable life for the future. 

“The importance of innovation and technology is highlighted as we look for solutions to global challenges. Solutions are available, which gives us hope. However, we cannot tackle these challenges alone, but through bold cooperation between various experts,” says Antti Vasara, President and CEO of VTT.

“Close cooperation between Aalto University, the City of Espoo, VTT and businesses is globally unique and attracts international talents and investments to the area,” adds Ilkka Niemelä, President of Aalto University.

”A city cannot create innovations, people do. But as a city we can help innovation grow by offering support for experimentation and bringing players together across organisational boundaries. Together we aim for a safe, healthy and functional everyday life in a sustainable city,” says Mayor Jukka Mäkelä

Espoo was also successful in the competition in 2019 and 2020, finishing in the top six. This year's other semi-finalists are Aix-Marseille (France), Basaksehir (Turkey), Madrid (Spain), Valencia (Spain) and Warsaw (Poland). 

Next, each city will be invited to a private hearing with the jury members who will then select three finalist cities. The winner will be announced at the EIC Summit in December. 

Further information 

The City of Espoo

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland

  • President & CEO of  VTT, Antti Vasara, tel. +358 20 722 4000

Aalto University

  • Innovation work