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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 Seventh Framework Programme, within the Research Directorate Science and Society.

Communication prize

  • The 2007 Descartes prize for research
    (€1,15 million)


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 to be shared among the laureates of the research prize is one million euros. There are maximum five laureate teams. Moreover, five finalist teams receive 30 000 euros each. To date, 16 laureate projects and 5 finalist projects involving almost 2 000 researchers from European and non-European countries have been awarded the prestigious prize.

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

A joint call for proposals will be announced shortly - so please bookmark this website in your favourites and check for more information soon

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.

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, we advise you to first read the document called "guide for proposers" which contains all the necessary information and instructions on how to submit. Please note that, this year, submission to the Research prize can only be made on-line (using the EPSS tool).

The prize is not restricted to projects financed or originally financed by the European Community RTD programmes.

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

The evaluation

Applications will be evaluated in a two-stage process:

1. Firstly, applications will be submitted to relevant panels of independent experts. They will assess the applications 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.

Among the applications which have reached the overall threshold, the presidents of the panels will propose a limited number of projects to be considered for the prize (shortlist of nominees) within the budgetary limits set in the call for proposals. It is possible that two or more prizes are awarded within the same category.

2. This shortlist will then be submitted to the Descartes Prize Grand Jury. The Grand Jury is made up of renowned figures drawn from academic, industrial and public life, reflecting the broadest spectrum of scientific disciplines. They will personally interview the coordinators of the nominated projects (in presence of the presidents of the thematic panels). 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 in the shortlist by the presidents of the panels.

Descartes Prizes:    2005  2004  2003  2002  2001  2000