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Innovative Linköping

Linköping is the winner of The European Capital of Innovation Awards 2023, in the category European Rising Innovative City! By innovation and collaboration, we are creating the life-friendly city of the future - today. Read more here.

Linköping is a city with an eye on the future. A city where world-leading research and groundbreaking innovations are creating a better future, where the university, the municipality, civil society and the business community work together to make innovative ideas become reality. Linköping, with 166,700 residents, is Sweden’s fifth largest city. Over the last decade, the number of residents has increased by almost 20,000, which makes Linköping one of the fastest growing cities in Sweden – and there are no signs of slowing down.

Just like many other cities, Linköping faces a number of societal challenges. Meeting these challenges will take courage and innovative thinking in a close collaboration between the public sector, academia, the business community and civil society. Since 2001, the municipality has carried out its work according to the promise that Linköping is a place “where ideas come to life”, which means that we strive to create environments where people can thrive, grow and bring their ideas to life. In order to fulfill this promise, we must all work together towards a common goal.

Here, we highlight five of the biggest challenges that Linköping needs to address. Linköping has its sights set on transition to a greener, digital, more equitable future and strives to be a leader in promoting innovation and development to enable this transition. The initiatives and success stories we present below, are just a few examples of all that is being done in our city. 

You can also download and read our application as a whole.

Linköpings application to iCapital Awards 2023


Five icons to represent the five challenges; Climate change, Urban planning, Segregation, A safe lif-friendly city and an Ageing population.

Icon of a seedling Climate change

The City of Linköping strives to be a leader in climate change solutions. Already in 2012, the Municipal Council adopted the goal that the municipality will be carbon neutral by 2025. The goal is a high priority within the entire municipality and has broad political support. Between 2009-2020, net emissions per resident decreased by 35 percent. During the same period, the total population increased by approximately 20,000 people. We will not quite reach the ambitious goal of carbon neutrality by 2025, but since we set such a high bar from an early stage, we have made tremendous progress and are better positioned to continue our climate work.

The Linköping Initiative

The Linköping Initiative is a local network of private and public actors working together to achieve a carbon neutral Linköping. The members are all some of the largest energy consumers in the local area. The network serves as a platform for learning and experience exchange where members join forces on local and global climate issues in order to accelerate the transition to a sustainable society.

The network was started in 2018 with nine original members. Today, 18 members from both the public and private sectors, are participating within the current agreement period 2022-2025. Each member sign an agreement which binds the organisation to clearly defined energy and climate goals, with timeframes, and they carry out activities to achieve these goals. Members are also required to annually measure and follow up on these goals, and to participate in the network's activities and meetings.

The world's most resource-efficient region

Tekniska Verken is a municipally-owned company specializing in providing various essential services such as energy, water, waste management, and district heating. In Linköping Tekniska verken has developed one of the world's most resource-efficient energy systems. This system relies on resources that would otherwise be lost, thus turning waste into an asset.

Maximum efficiency must be the guiding principle in our use of resources so that as little as possible goes to waste. The ultimate goal is zero waste, where “waste” is actually seen as a commodity in a circular economy designed to keep products, components and materials in circulation, thus creating the highest possible value. We strive to try to use waste as efficiently as possible and move up the waste hierarchy to prevent waste in the first place.

Icon of a buildning Urban planning

Linköping is growing to meet the needs of the future – and to create a better future. We're at the forefront of sustainable, innovative urban development and contributes to the development of future communities.

One of the City of Linköping’s priority areas for strategic development focuses on the opportunities offered by the digital transformation. Linköping actively invests in IoT technologies and smart solutions in order to accelerate the green transition, to improve the city's infrastructure and enhance the quality of life for the city’s residents by data-driven services.

Smart city solutions

In 2016, planning was initiated to establish the LoRa network in the city, and the network was operational and ready for use in 2017. It now covers the entire city, enabling long-distance communication with low power consumption, thus enabling IoT devices to collect data. The network is used to monitor and develop our smart city solutions; for example, lighting, parking and waste management, as well as to monitor water and energy consumption, air quality and other infrastructure.


In September of 2017, Sweden’s largest housing expo came to Vallastaden. At the time the expo was held in 2017, the first stage of Vallastaden had just been completed. Today, new residents have moved in to Vallastaden and the district continues to grow and develop. When Vallastaden is completed, it will contain around 4,000 new homes. The district has been developed in a collaboration between the City of Linköping, Linköping University, architectural firms, the business community and a large number of devoted Linköping residents.

The vision is to create a varied urban living environment centred around the residents. Over a period of five years, the first 1,000 homes were built by 40 different actors. This is a national record, both in terms of speed and diversity. By dividing the district into smaller parts, a wider variety of actors were able to build homes.

Vallastaden continues to teach us how to create a liveable, sustainable district, with mobility solutions that eliminate the need for car ownership. Over 1,500 visitors a year from within Sweden and across the globe come to Vallastaden to benefit from the lessons we have learned and our experiences.

Icon of two people pushed apart by an double sided arrow Segregation

Two women from different backgrounds laughing together

The three districts of Berga, Ryd and Skäggetorp have a high proportion of residents with
lower socio-economic status and other challenges. Many live lives that are largely isolated from other socio-economic groups in Linköping. In order to counteract this trend and create more equal conditions across all city districts, special interventions are needed along with broad collaboration that includes a cross-sector approach. Since January 2020, Linköping has been working according to a new model for management and coordination of interventions to end segregation, as well as safety enhancement and crime prevention measures.

Startup Time

Startup Time was introduced in 2021. It is a new, long-term initiative that aims to enable more people born outside Sweden to start viable businesses. Startup Time is intended for people with a foreign background, who have the entrepreneurial spirit but need a little extra help and financial support to get a business up and running. The Startup Time collaboration includes targeted activities and initiatives for the city’s residents, mainly in the Skäggetorp, Berga and Ryd districts.


LinkStep is a link between job seekers and the business community. The target group is unemployed residents who are between 20 and 60 years of age. Based on the unique challenges and needs of the individual, LinkStep outlines different paths to employment and can match participants with the right skills to a need in the labour market. LinkStep offers activities such as coaching, lectures, workshops and recruitment meetings. Working according to the individual's own motivation and life situation, creating a link between potential employees, companies and employers, LinkStep helps reduce labour market exclusion.

Icon of a shield with a heart in the middle A safe, life-friendly city

Linköping consistently ranks high among the best cities to live in, and in the latest survey conducted in September 2022, 95.6 percent of residents stated that they think the city is a good place to live. We have been surveying the public perception of Linköping since 2001, both among our residents and on a national level. The surveys show that Linköping is one of the top five most attractive cities in Sweden.

With one eye on the future, Linköping is in an exciting stage of its history, where so many positive factors have converged to foster unprecedented growth and an unwavering faith in the future. Linköping has its sights set on a transition to a greener, digital, more equitable future and strives to be a leader in promoting innovation and development to enable this transition.

Test Arena for Safety-Enabling Technologies

Stakeholders in the public sector, research community and business world are testing new digital solutions to increase safety and a sense of security among community members in a complex public environment. The goal is to perform tests that will teach us more about the potential value of different solutions, as well as their maturity and ability to be applied collectively. The tests should also contribute to a greater understanding of how the safety-enhancing measures are perceived by the individuals who occupy the test arena.

The project was started in early 2023 and will run for 18 months. The technologies being tested include an array of sensors that send and receive information via IoT platforms. AI is then used to interpret the data and draw conclusions that will contribute to an increased understanding and new knowledge.

Icon of a person with a cane An ageing population

An older couple smiling and talking at home in their couch

In the coming decades, the number of people in need of welfare services is expected to increase faster than the working age population. This means that more people will need access to healthcare and social care. Forecasts show that the share of Sweden's population over 80 will increase by 40 percent in ten years – and the competence supply is already stretched thin. Given this, it is particularly important to help people maintain good health well into old age, but also to ensure that working age residents who are outside the labour market continue to pursue education and employment.

Safe and secure at home

In collaboration with the housing company Stångåstaden, Utsikt Bredband, Kinda Municipality and the research institute RISE, the City of Linköping introduced a project that aims to increase the opportunities for elderly residents to remain in their own homes and live an independent and healthy life, well into old age. This can delay or reduce the need for healthcare and social care. The project was implemented from 2021-2022 and was based on the needs of the target group. Meetings have been held with Linköping residents aged 70 and over, where dialogue and personal stories provided insight into their problems and needs. A market dialogue was initiated where 130 companies were  contacted, which resulted in the selection of nine IoT solutions. Two demonstration apartments were created to test and evaluate the technology.

The project has entered the next phase and a test group of around 100 Linköping residents is now being offered a packaged safety solution. Safe and secure at home is a
proactive and completely new approach.


Evikomp is a model for competence development for personnel in healthcare and social care that relies on workplace learning, aiming to simultaneously increase the learning of individuals, groups and organizations. Evikomp was developed and operated with EU support (European Social Fund) from 2018-2022. The first participants were all 13 municipalities in Östergötland and Region Östergötland. The partnership was then expanded to include several other municipalities in Sweden, with the City of
Linköping being the project owner.

Starting in 2023, Evikomp is a model for competence development that is financed by all municipalities in the county and Region Östergötland. The City of Linköping is the principal. Evikomp has about 13,000 users and covers nearly 600 workplaces.

Learn more about Linköping

EU-flag with caption "Funded by the European Union"

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or of the European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency. Neither the European Union nor the awarding authority can be held responsible for them.