Important legal notice
Contact | Search  
More information on René Descartes

  Descartes prizes

Aims and Objectives of the Descartes Prizes

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

Communication prize

  • The Descartes prize for research
    (€1 million)

Descartes Prizes for Research & Science Communication -
2005 Winners announced

Scientific and technological excellence are essential pre-requisites for Europe to succeed in the competitive environment of international research and scientific development. The Descartes Prize for Research has been awarded yearly, since 2000, to transnational research teams which have achieved outstanding scientific or technological results through collaborative research in any field of science, including economics, social sciences and humanities. The amount of the prize to be shared among the laureates is one million euros. To date, 11 projects involving 78 teams from 25 European and non-European countries have been awarded the prestigious prize.

The prize was completed in 2004 with the Descartes Prize for science communication.

A joint call for proposals for both Descartes Prizes was published on 15 December 2004, with a closing date on 10 May 2005 .

Proposals may be submitted by the research teams themselves, or by appropriate public or private organisations. Teams must involve at least two mutually independent legal entities established in two different Members States or in a Member State and an Associated State. Provided that these minimum criteria are fulfilled entries may involve teams from outside the European Union.

Research teams or nominating bodies can only present one project per proposal and a maximum of 5 proposals. If more than five proposals are sent by the same proposing organisation, only the latest five to arrive to the Commission may be evaluated.

Candidates to the prize must designate among themselves a co-ordinator that will submit the proposal and will take the leading role in representing the proposal during the selection procedure.

In order to send a candidature, the prize organiser must fill in the forms contained in a document called "guide for proposers", which is common to both the Descartes Prize for Research and the Descartes Prize for Science Communication.

The prize does not concern projects, which were originally financed by the European Community RTD programmes.

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 pre-select and propose a limited number of projects according to the following criteria:

· Scientific excellence:
in terms of quality and novelty of the results achieved; contribution to addressing key scientific and technological issues;

· European added-value:
in terms of quality of the transnational co-operation and combination of complementary expertise and resources; and, relevance of the findings with regard to the Community's policies and priorities in the field of research and technological development; extent to which the results of the research can only be achieved if carried out at European level and beyond.

2. This short list will then be submitted to the Descartes Prize Grand Jury. The Grand Jury will be made up of renown figures drawn from academic, industrial and public life, reflecting the broadest spectrum of scientific disciplines. They will interview (in presence of the presidents of the thematic panels) the coordinators of the finalist projects in person. Finally, the Grand Jury will propose the definitive list of projects they have selected for the Descartes Prize to be laureate or finalist. This list must not necessarily include all the teams proposed by the president of the panels in the shortlist.

Applications will be assessed in a two-stage process:

1. Firstly, applications will be submitted to panels of relevant experts, who will assess the applications and propose a shortlist to be considered for the prize.

2. Secondly, and on the basis of the above-mentioned shortlist, the presidents of the panels will meet and decide on the number and amount of prizes (within the budgetary limits set in the call for proposals). 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  2003  2002  2001  2000