Oxford has today been recognised as one the most innovative cities in Europe.
At a ceremony hosted by the European Commission in Brussels, Oxford took its place alongside major cities including Paris and Berlin in the finals of the European Capital of Innovation awards 2016.
Oxford was the smallest city represented, competing against a shortlist comprising Amsterdam, Berlin, Eindhoven, Glasgow, Milan, Paris, Turin and Vienna, from an initial field of 36.
The University of Oxford was one of the key partners in the city’s bid to be named Europe’s iCapital – the city judged to have the best track record in supporting and promoting innovation across the community.
The title of European Capital of Innovation 2016, and a prize fund of up to €950,000, went to Amsterdam. Turin was placed second, and Paris third.
Oxford was recognised with a place on the shortlist ‘for its vision to openly share the wealth of knowledge within its world-class innovation ecosystem’.
Oxford’s bid was developed by the City Council with a team of partners from the County Council, the city’s two universities, the Low Carbon Hub, the Student Hub, the Hospital Trust, local businesses and other community organisations.
Professor Ian Walmsley, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) at the University of Oxford, said: ‘Being shortlisted among such a strong field in this year’s European Capital of Innovation awards demonstrates how Oxford’s innovation landscape punches well above its weight on a national, continental and global scale. Innovation is a key priority for the University of Oxford, from the creation of spinout companies based on our cutting-edge research to collaborations with business and industry that have a real impact on people’s lives.
‘Oxford has a complex and thriving innovation ecosystem where technologies and people converge to develop new, innovative solutions to global challenges. The University of Oxford plays an important part in this, alongside other local institutions, researchers, entrepreneurs, investors and citizens. Oxford’s shortlisting in this year’s iCapital competition will undoubtedly strengthen these partnerships across the city.’
Peter Sloman, Chief Executive of Oxford City Council, said: ‘We are delighted to have reached the finals and to have been recognised alongside such a competitive field. The fact that Oxford is in the mix with major cities like Paris and Berlin demonstrates the strength of the bid, our local economy, and our local partnerships.
‘We will continue to work to realise the benefits of innovation in and around Oxford, and aim to deliver on the spirit of the bid, which is to make Oxford a place where anyone, regardless of background, has the opportunity to bring their ideas to life. We will work with partners and the community to build on this achievement and punch above our weight as a city.’
In addition to the City Council, Oxford’s iCapital 2016 bid was funded by Oxford University, Oxford Brookes University, Oxfordshire County Council, Venturefest Oxford, Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, InOxford, and The Oxford Trust.