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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 6 June 2013

EU rewards 9 innovative public initiatives in Europe

The European Commission today announced the winners of the European Prize for Innovation in Public Administration. This prize celebrates the most innovative, forward-looking public initiatives which benefit citizens, firms, or the education and research sector. Nine initiatives from Croatia, Finland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain (two winners), Sweden and the UK were awarded EUR 100 000 each (MEMO/13/503). Winning initiatives included integrated healthcare information accessible on a phone, a web-based platform for funding opportunities for firms, and a nationwide plagiarism detection system for higher education institutions. The awards were made by Research, Innovation and Science Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn during the Week of Innovative Regions Europe IV (WIRE IV) Conference in Cork, Ireland.

Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn said: "Innovation is not just something for business. The public sector makes up half of EU gross domestic product, so it must also embrace change. The winners today show that by harnessing new ideas and technology we can improve people's lives and help modernise our economies. We need more initiatives like these."

There were 203 entries to the competition coming from all corners of the European Union. The nine winners were selected by an independent jury on the basis of four criteria: the economic impact of their initiative; its relevance to challenges facing society; how original and easy to replicate the idea is; and how they plan to use the prize money.

The expert jury was Ann Mettler, Lisbon Council; Carlos Brazao, Cisco; Margot Pröhl, European Institute for Public Administration; Sasha Bezuhanova, HP; and Andreas Schleicher, OECD.

The prize money will serve to expand the initiatives. The winners will present their actions to replicate and scale up the initiatives at the next Innovation Convention in 2014 in Brussels.

2013 Award winners

"Citizens" category:

  1. The Helsinki Metropolitan area in Finland – releasing open data to involve citizens in decision-making

  2. The Swedish national e-health initiative - enabling patients and care-providers to follow their healthcare information online

  3. The London Borough of Islington in the UK – integrated package of interventions to reduce fuel poverty, excess winter deaths and hospital admissions

"Firms" category:

  1. The Spanish hub for open data - an ambitious national initiative for the re-use of public sector information that opens up new economic opportunities

  2. The regional administration of the northern provinces of the Netherlands – web-based platform providing speedy access to funding opportunities for firms

  3. The Portuguese public reform agency - simple set-up of businesses with no or very limited waiting time

"Education and research" category

  1. The Spanish region of Murcia - teams of students become entrepreneurs and compete in a race for energy efficient vehicles

  2. The Croatian Academic and Research Network – promotion of equal access to high quality education via equipping primary schools in remote areas with ICT

  3. Slovakian national initiative - plagiarism detection system aggregating theses and dissertations of all higher education institutions

Further information

The competition was launched in September 2012 and was open to public authorities established in any EU Member state or a country associated to the EU's research framework programme. Submitted initiatives had to be on-going for between one and four years. For more information see:

The WIRE IV conference is bringing together regional, national and European stakeholders to address, develop and explore key topics of regional innovation relevant to Horizon 2020, the European Union's seven-year funding programme for research and innovation that is due to start in 2014.

Contacts :

Michael Jennings (+32 2 296 33 88) Twitter: @ECSpokesScience

Monika Wcislo (+32 2 298 65 95)

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