Women in innovation: 2019 EU prizes awarded

women in innovation 2019
© iStock/Artem Peretiatko

The four winners of the 2019 EU Prize for Women Innovators, funded under the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, have been announced.

The winners, announced yesterday at the VivaTech conference in Paris, were chosen by a jury of independent experts from a shortlist of 13 finalists. 154 applications for the prize were submitted from across the EU. This is the sixth edition of the EU Prize for Women Innovators, which began in 2011 with the aim of acknowledging successful women in innovation and raising awareness of the dearth of female representation in innovation and business: only 31 per cent of entrepreneurs in the EU are women.

Announcing the winners, the EU’s Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas said: “I am honoured to share this moment of recognition with such amazing innovators. They show the unlimited talent present in Europe and the importance of women entrepreneurs. I hope that with this prize, our winners will go on to inspire many other women to create innovative businesses.”

The women in innovation recognised with awards were:

  • Irina Borodina of Lithuania, the co-founder and CTO of BioPhero, which produces pheromones to be used as a non-toxic and cost-effective alternative to industrial pesticides;
  • Martine Caroff, the French co-founder and CSO of both LPS-Biosciences, specialising in medical devices, cosmetics, in vitro diagnostics and developing bacterial endotoxins for vaccines; and HEPHAISTOS-PHARMA, which produces immunotherapy solutions for the oncology sector;
  • Shimrit Perkol-Finkel from Israel, co-founder and CEO of ECOncrete Tech, which develops sustainable, environmentally friendly concrete which can support life, thereby contributing to the ecological value of marine and urban infrastructures; and
  • Michela Puddu of Italy, co-founder and CEO of Haelixa, which aims to entrench ethical, sustainable practice in business by using intelligent DNA tracing to identify sustainable products.

As the primary winners of the EU Prize for Women Innovators, Borodina, Caroff and Perkol-Finkel each received €100,000 towards their work; while Puddu was declared the Rising Innovator for 2019 and awarded €50,000.

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