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€5 million in Horizon Prizes to help create clean engines

Warsaw, 20 April 2016

The European Commission has launched two Horizon prizes to identify breakthrough ideas that could drastically reduce air pollution caused by transport. A €3.5 million Horizon Prize for the Cleanest Engine of the Future and a €1.5 million Horizon Prize for the Engine Retrofit for Clean Air, funded by the EU's research programme Horizon 2020, will be awarded to the individuals or teams with the most effective solutions to the defined challenges.

Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: "Prizes are a great way of rewarding and stimulating innovation, and clean engine technology is something we must support if we want to achieve our ambitious climate, energy and air quality goals. So today we're launching two Horizon prizes worth a combined €5 million to generate momentum and investment in cleaner engine technologies."

The two challenges were launched today at the Transport Research Arena (TRA) 2016 conference in Warsaw. Violeta Bulc, the Commissioner for Transport, opened the conference on 18 April.

When designing the two new Horizon Prizes, one of the questions that the Commission had in mind was whether a perfect engine, with negligible toxic emissions and low fuel consumption, was at all possible. Even if it was invented now, the replacement of the hundreds of millions of cars that are the cause of today's problem would take years or even decades.

That is why the Horizon Prize for the Engine Retrofit for Clean Air aims to find a way of cleaning existing diesel engines. This would offer a temporary solution until a better engine is invented or before electric cars become a mainstream. The Horizon Prize for the Cleanest Engine of the Future aims to pave the way to this future engine by developing any technology that cleans the exhaust gases. This might be a filter, an additive, a combustion system or any other technology: it is up to the creativity of European scientists and industrial experts.

Applications are open from now until 12 September 2017 for the Horizon Prize for the Engine Retrofit for Clean air, and until 20 August 2019 for Horizon Prize for the Cleanest Engine of the Future. Applicants from all fields, whether they are established researchers or innovative newcomers, are encouraged to apply for these prizes. Applicants have total freedom in the approach they take to deliver the breakthrough solution. The rules of contest of both prizes are available online at the dedicated Horizon Prizes website.

Background

Horizon Prizes are challenge prizes (also known as 'inducement' prizes) which offer a cash reward to whoever can most effectively meet a defined challenge. They act as an incentive for innovation by prescribing the goal, but not how the goal should be achieved.

The European Commission is introducing a set of challenge prizes under Horizon 2020, the EU's €77 billion research and innovation programme running from 2014 to 2020.

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