Materials for clean air

Develop the best innovative design-driven material solution to improve air quality in cities.

To improve air quality in cities, the challenge set for this €3 million prize is to develop an innovative and well-designed material solution that will reduce the concentration of particulate matter in the air.

Clean Air

Why this Prize?

Particulate matter (PM) is the air pollutant which has the most severe impact on health.

Currently, around 90% of the population of European cities for which PM data exist is exposed to levels exceeding WHO air quality guidelines levels.

Average life expectancy in the European Union is estimated to be 8.6 months lower due to exposure to particulate matter resulting from human activities. The inhalation of particulate matter can lead to asthma, lung cancer, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, birth defects, and premature death.

In addition to its impact on human health, particulate matter can also have adverse effects on climate change and ecosystems.


The Horizon Prize on materials for clean air will be awarded to the most affordable, sustainable and innovative design-driven material solution that can reduce the concentration of particulate matter in urban areas.


The contest closed on 23 January 2018. Hearings of eligible proposals and testing of demonstrators are now ongoing. The outcomes will be announced at the “Innovative industries for smart growth” conference in Vienna, on 30 October 2018.

Rules & Guidance

Who can join the contest?

The contest is now closed. It was open to any single person and legal entity or group of legal entities established in EU Member States or countries associated to Horizon 2020, the EU's research and innovation programme.

How will your application be evaluated?

A high-level jury is now evaluating all eligible entries against the following general award criteria:
  • Demonstrated applicability of proposed material-based solution in relevant environment (at least a working prototype);
  • Demonstrated reduction of particulate matter as specified in the rules of the contest;
  • Sustainability;
  • Affordability

The prize will be awarded to the entry that demonstrates the best solution to the challenge whilst meeting the award criteria.

The solution should be both developed by the contestant and be novel. The Awarding Ceremony is supposed to take place in Vienna, Austria on 31 October at the Innovative industries for smart growth conference.

Read the detailed rules of the contest


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