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  Descartes prizes

Aims and Objectives of the Descartes Prizes

The Descartes Prizes are among the activities supported under the European Commission's Sixth Framework Programme, within the Research Directorate Science and Society.

Research prize

  • The Descartes prize for science communication (€250 000)

Descartes Prizes for Research & Science Communication -
2005 Winners announced

The Descartes Prize for Research, which exists since 2000, was complemented with a new Descartes Prize for Science Communication in 2004. By means of this new prize, the European Commission intends:

(a) To stimulate interest and careers in science communication.

(b) To improve the quality of science communication with the public.

The Commission is aware that these objectives can only be achieved by establishing partnerships with established prize-giving organisations (hereinafter referred to as “prize organisers”), particularly as regards the submission to the call for proposals.

A joint call for proposals for both Descartes Prizes was published on 15 December 2004, with a closing date on 10 May 2005. In its Science Communication part, it targets organisations or individuals having achieved outstanding results in science communication and having been selected as winners by European and/or national organisations which carry out existing science communication prizes of any kind. The rationale behind this call implies that Prize-organisers can send their winners as candidates to the EU prize, in one of the following categories:

- Professional scientists engaged in science communication to the public;

- Popularising science through the written word (e.g. newspaper articles, popular science books);

- Popularising science through audio-visual and electronic media (e.g. scientific television or radio documentaries, websites);

- Innovative action for science communication;

- Editorial policy for the promotion of science whatever the media.

Proposals – In order to do so, the prize organiser must fill in the adequate forms. Each prize organiser will be able to send only one candidature (prize winner) per proposal and a maximum of 5 proposals. If more than five proposals are sent by the same prize organiser, only the latest five to arrive to the Commission may be evaluated.

The monetary prize will go directly to the bank account of the candidate(s) which are selected as winners by the expert evaluators. In the case of diverse actors involved in the communication product (e.g. a producer, a director, etc.) the money will be transferred to the same actor that was previously awarded a prize by the prize organiser.

Prize certificates – A copy or original of the relevant prize certificate will have to be attached to each of the candidatures, in order to prove that they have been already rewarded in the national/international competition organised by the proposer. Please note that if the prize certificate is missing, the candidature will not be evaluated at all.

The Laureates and Finalists of the prize are invited to participate in the award ceremony to testify about their works.

The evaluation

1. Firstly, applications will be submitted to panels of independent experts. They will use the following evaluation criteria:

- Excellence and quality of the proposal

- Relevance and impact

- European added value

2. The presidents of those expert panels will then meet at the end of the evaluation session in order to choose the winners among those proposals having passed the required evaluation thresholds. The meeting of panel presidents will also decide on the number of laureates and finalists. It will be possible to award two or more prizes within the same category.

For further information please visit the following CORDIS page:


Descartes Prizes:    2005  2004