Education Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou and Pat Cox, former President of the European Parliament, speak at the joint ACES and EIT awards ceremony.
Brussels, 21 February 2012 – Seven start-up companies from across Europe were recognised at an awards ceremony here today as two programmes came together to hand out prizes to entrepreneurs. Start-ups from the UK and Germany lead the list of winners, which also includes Spanish and Hungarian companies.
Together, the cluster of awards make a powerful statement about the promise and importance of entrepreneurship in reviving the European economy. The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), an EU institution, launched its first entrepreneurship awards there, for three start-ups. At the same time, the Science|Business Innovation Board, a not-for-profit association, awarded four prizes in its fourth annual Academic Enterprise Awards (ACES) competition.
The winning companies developed breakthrough technologies and innovations across many fields, including a network system to detect cyber threats; sustainable pre-fabricated housing; hybrid photovoltaic and solar thermal devices; an advanced magnetic sensor device for breast cancer diagnosis; a cloud-based research management and collaboration platform; advanced electric motors, generators and drive systems for electric cars; and an innovative hand hygiene system to help control hospital associated infections.
The two programmes – the ACES and the EIT Awards – cooperated on a joint conference: Start-up! The European Entrepreneurship Summit, in Brussels on 21 February. Both awards competitions drew nominations from across Europe. The 21 finalists that emerged were given communications training, and presented themselves to the conference audience and jury in three-minute ‘elevator pitches.’ The winners were announced in an awards ceremony the same day.
Academic Enterprise Awards (ACES) 2012
The EIT Awards competition was created by the institute as part of its mandate to promote entrepreneurship within the ‘knowledge triangle’ of research, education and industry. Each of the EIT’s three KICs – the Knowledge and Innovation Communities that group project partners in developing innovations for sustainable energy, information and communications technologies, and climate change technologies – selected three start-up companies in the projects to compete for an award.
ACES is a pan-European competition among companies spun out from
universities – to recognise the best academic entrepreneurs from across all technology disciplines. The competition is open to founders of university or research institute spin-outs up to five years old. The competition, which since inception has honoured
57 start-ups from Norway to Israel, is organised by the Science|Business Innovation Board AISBL, a Belgian not-for-profit scientific association formed to improve the climate for innovation in Europe. Members of the Board include ESADE Business School, INSEAD, Imperial College London, Microsoft, BP, SKF Group and law firm Foley & Lardner. This year’s ACES programme was sponsored by the Board, Microsoft, the Janssen Pharmaceutica unit of Johnson & Johnson, and the Capital Region of Brussels.
The EIT Winners
Christophe Williams, Naked Energy
EIT ICT LABS
Patrick Duessel, Christian Gehl and René Gerstenberger, Trifense
Pol Guiu and Rosa Vilarasau, Noem
Climate-KIC Award winner Christophe Williams, founded Naked Energy, which develops combined photovoltaic and solar thermal technologies in a new system with a vacuum configuration that generates electricity and hot water more efficiently and is easier to mount and install.
EIT ICT Lab Award winners Patrick Duessel and Christian Gehl, René Gerstenberger launched Trifense, an intelligent network security company that tapped self-learning technology to develop a system that automatically detects potential cyber attacks.
KIC InnoEnergy Award winners Pol Guiu and Rosa Vilarasau founded Noem to build and market energy-efficient “no-emissions” pre-fabricated homes.
More details and profiles of the EIT winners are available at www.eitawards.eu
The ACES winners
The Microsoft Award
Victor Henning, Mendeley
Bauhaus-University of Weimar, University of Cologne
Life Sciences Award
Quentin Pankhurst, Endomagnetics
University College London, University of Houston
Michael Lampérth, EVO Electric
Imperial College London
Young Entrepreneur Award
Tamas Haidegger, Clariton
Budapest University of Technology and Economics
The Microsoft Award went to Victor Henning, founder of Mendeley. Henning devised a desktop tool to extract information from research papers automatically and transform it into a structured database. The database syncs to a web account, creating the first global research collaboration platform and database. Highlighting the potential of cloud computing to drive new business models, Mendeley’s database contains 50 million unique documents, created through crowd sourcing by a global user base of 1.3 million researchers.
The Life Sciences Award went to Quentin Pankhurst, founder of Endomagnetics Ltd. Pankhurst created an ultrasentitive hand-held probe for identifying the “sentinal” lymph node biopsies in breast cancer patients using advanced magnetic sensing technology and nanotechnology. The probe was developed as a most cost-efficient solution to the existing use of radioisotopes, a more expensive diagnostic approach not available to all patients.
The New Materials and Engineering Award was won by Michael Lampérth, who launched EVO Electric around breakthroughs in electric car technologies. Lampérth designed and integrated high-torque electric motors and generators based on axial flux technology, providing benefits in cost, efficiency, torque and power density. EVO Electric’s technologies are aimed at hybrid and electric vehicle drive systems, wind power generators and mobile power systems. EVO Electric are an associate member of the EIT's Climate-KIC.
The Young Entrepreneurs award was granted to Tamas Haidegger of Clariton. Haidegger developed a hand hygiene system called “Hand-in-Scan” to help fight against healthcare associated infections which kill 100,000 in the US annually. The scan system uses ultraviolet light and digital imaging to highlight disinfected versus unclean areas after a regular hand washing and provides an overall quality score. The system provides real-time objective feedback to the user and aims to teaches medical personnel how to wash their hands more effectively to reduce hospital-linked infections.
Related subjects: ACES, EIT, Start-ups, Academic Enterprise, awards, Science|Business Events