European Innovation Council unveils awards for Capitals, Women, Procurement

Business, Innovation

The European Innovation Council (EIC) revealed the winners of its annual innovation awards, with prizes for the cities of Dortmund and Vantaa, as well as four leading women innovators and three procurement innovators. The prizes were announced during the EIC’s two-day inaugural summit, ending today, which also saw the release of the 2021 EIC Impact Report highlighting the scale of EIC support for innovation since 2014.

Unveiling the winners of the seventh edition of the European Capital of Innovation Awards, Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, named Dortmund in Germany as the European Capital of Innovation 2021, winning a cash prize of €1,000,000. The new European Rising Innovative City award went to Vantaa in Finland, with a prize of €500,000.

Commissioner Gabriel said:

“The winning cities announced today have been doing outstanding work to develop innovation ecosystems for the benefit of innovators and of their citizens. These cities are the real test beds for innovation; they are the fora where various partners of the innovation ecosystem co-create bottom-up initiatives to achieve more innovative and sustainable urban development.”

The awards recognize the cities’ long-term efforts to create an environment that enables and embraces innovation. Runners-up for European Capital of Innovation were Dublin (Ireland), Malaga (Spain) and Vilnius (Lithuania), while Cascais (Portugal) and Trondheim (Norway) came second and third for European Rising Innovative City

Commissioner Gabriel today also named the winners of the EU Prize for Women Innovators: who will each receive a €100,000 cash prize. They are:

  • Merel Boers (Netherlands), co-founder and CEO of NICO-LAB, a company offering cutting-edge technology to help physicians improve emergency care.
  • Mathilde Jakobsen (Denmark), co-founder and CEO of Fresh.Land, a digital platform that shortens and digitises the food supply chain, providing easy access to good quality food.
  • Daphne Haim Langford (Israel), founder and CEO of Tarsier Pharma, a company developing disruptive medical solutions for the treatment and cure of autoimmune and inflammatory ocular diseases.

The Rising Innovator 2021 prize for an exceptional innovator under the age of 30 goes to:

  • Ailbhe and Isabel Keane (Ireland), founders of Izzy Wheels, which creates fashionable wheel covers for wheelchairs. They will receive a €50,000 cash prize.

Awarding the prizes, Commissioner Gabriel said:

“This year’s winners are the hopes that will help change the face of innovation and pave the way for more women entrepreneurs in future.”

Two women also received a ‘special mention’ prize for their achievements:

  • Asude Altıntaş (Turkey), co-founder and CEO of Twin Science, a company improving children’s STEAM skills with physical and digital products.
  • Livia Ng (UK), founder and CEO of Neucruit, a company that uses deep tech to build digital patient recruitment strategies that improve the lives of patients and clinical innovators.

The winners and runners-up of the first ever edition of the EU Innovation Procurement Awards were also announced, with the former of each category rewarded with €75 000 and each of the latter receiving €25 000. They are:

Innovation procurement strategy category:

  1. The Galician Health Service (SERGAS) (Spain) – Winner
  2. The National Centre for Research and Development (Narodowe Centrum Badań i Rozwoju) (Poland) – Runner up.

Facing societal challenges category

  1. The Dutch Waterschapsbedrijf Limburg (The Netherlands) – Winner.
  2. International Horizontal Scanning Initiative (Belgium)– Runner up.

Procurement leadership category

  1. Francesco Talone & Stefano Moni & Giuseppe Restivo (Italy) – Winner
  2. Mateusz Stanczyk & Monika Adamczak (Poland) – Runner up.

All three sets of awards are supported by the EIC, which released its latest Impact Report during the summit. The report shows that since 2014, the EIC has funded around 5,500 start-ups and SMEs as well as over 400 research and innovation projects on emerging technologies. It has approved investment decisions for over €600 million in 137 companies from a wide range of EU and third countries.

The summit has brought together innovators, researchers, entrepreneurs, investors and actors from across the European innovation ecosystem to debate and shape the future of European innovation policy, and facilitate coaching, networking and idea exchange for high-growth European start-ups. The EIC as an organisation has developed a strong track record in attracting funding and investment opportunities for promising deep tech sectors, such as health, digital and cleantech

The EIC was established under the EU Horizon Europe programme. It has a budget of €10.1 billion to support game-changing innovations throughout the lifecycle from early-stage research to proof of concept, technology transfer, and the financing and scale-up of start-ups and SMEs.

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