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First EU Marie Curie Awards in recognition of world-class achievements in European research

5 November 2003 - European Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin presented yesterday the first ever Marie Curie Excellence Awards to five outstanding European researchers, as part of the Marie Curie Week. The ceremony was organised by the Free University of Brussels. The Awards, amounting to €50,000 each, are one of the novelties of the €20 billion 6th EU Research Framework Program and aim to boost the career of world-class researchers by contributing to their international recognition.

The aim of the Marie Curie Awards is to give recognition to the excellence achieved by researchers who have benefited from a EU Marie Curie mobility scheme for a minimum of one year. This year's winners are:

Marie Curie awards
  • Paola Barbara Arimondo (United Kingdom), for her work on "New anti-tumour agents based on conjugates of topoisomerase inhibitors and sequence-specific DNA ligands" [Curriculum Vitae PDF ]
  • Daniel Bonn (The Netherlands), for his work on "New frontiers in complex fluids" [Curriculum Vitae PDF - Website ]
  • Leticia Fernanda Cugliandolo (Argentina) for her work on "A theoretical approach to the non-equilibrium dynamics of macroscopic systems evolving slowly" [Curriculum Vitae PDF - Website]
  • Marco Dorigo (Italy), for his work on "Ant colony optimization and ant algorithms" [Curriculum Vitae PDF - Website]
  • Luis Serrano Pubull (Spain), for his work on "Design of Biological systems to improve quality of life” [Curriculum Vitae PDF - Website]
Marie Curie awards

The Marie Curie Awards do not only pay tribute to the great Polish scientist, but also aim at recognising European excellence in science and at making European researchers proud of their profession, in the broader framework of our initiatives to improve researchers' status in Europe”, said Philippe Busquin.

An immediate response…

The Marie Curie Awards aim to reward young researchers who, after completing a mobility experience financed by the European Union, have achieved world-class recognition through their research activities. Over 35,000 researchers have benefited so far from such programmes. 

A total of 84 eligible proposals were submitted in response to the first call for proposals for the Marie Curie Excellence Awards, published in December 2002. The evaluation of the proposals was carried out during the period 22 July -12 September 2003 with the help of 63 independent experts. The final recommendations of candidates for the Awards were made by the Marie Curie Grand Jury, an international panel of 6 members under the Chairmanship of Professor Hélène Langevin-Joliot, a prominent French physicist and granddaughter of Marie Curie.

According to Professor Hélène Langevin-Joliot, "The Grand Jury appreciated the level of excellence of all ten candidates ; their profiles show a large diversity of careers and of approaches [...] Young generations will come to Science with all the more enthusiasm if it will remain a human adventure, like it was for Marie Curie".

71 of the 84 eligible proposals were submitted by candidates from EU Member States, 9 submissions came from accession countries and 4 from non-European countries. 61 proposals were submitted by men and 23 by women. As regards the ranking by disciplines, 26 proposals concerned Life Sciences, followed by 21 for Physics, 9 for Engineering, 8 for Environmental Sciences and Mathematics, 5 for Chemistry, 4 for Economics and 3 for Social Sciences and Humanities.

Where are the best brains?

The need to focus on an abundant and well-trained workforce of researchers is a key condition for the successful implementation of the mandate of the March 2000 Lisbon European Council; namely to turn Europe into the most dynamic and competitive knowledge-based economy of the world by 2010.

It is also paramount for the implementation of the 3 % objective i.e. the decision taken at the Barcelona European Council in March 2002, to devote 3% of European average GDP to research by the end of the decade. According to recent estimates, the fulfilment of the 3% objective would require in practice 700,000 additional researchers by the end of the decade. 

Next deadline

A maximum of 5 Marie Curie Excellence Awards will be given every year until 2006.

The next deadline for submitting proposals is the 18 May 2004.

Marie Curie awards


last update: 01-12-2003