Descartes Prizes for international scientific excellence now accepting applications
The European Commission is now accepting applications for
its prestigious European Research Awards recognising international cooperation
and science communication. With prize money totalling EUR 1.7 million, the
European Research Awards, which began in 2000, are comprised of two individual
prizes, the Descartes Prizes for Trans-national Collaborative Research, and
the Prizes for Science Communication. Applicants have until 17 July to submit
their bid for a chance at an award representing one of the EU’s top policy
goals: scientific excellence.
The 2000 Lisbon European Council lifted international R&D cooperation to the
top of the EU agenda, and with it came renewed interest in excellence in cross-border
research in Europe. The Descartes prize emerged out of the desire to recognise
cutting-edge research undertaken between Member States while encouraging public
awareness and support of the knowledge-based economy.
The Descartes Prize for Trans-national Research will be awarded to up to four
teams of researchers whose work has produced particularly significant results
in key thematic areas. Projects eligible for the prize can come from any scientific
discipline, including economics, social science and the humanities. At least
one participant from the project must be from a Member State though the research
itself doesn’t necessarily have to be EU-funded. Winning entries will be selected
by a Grand Jury chaired by former French Minister for Research and astronaut
Claudie Haigneré. The Grand Jury will also determine the number of prizes awarded.
This year only online submissions are being accepted.
In 2004, the Prize for Science Communication was added to the Descartes series and recognises science journalism, broadly covering science communicator of the year, science writer of the year, and the best audiovisual documentary of the year. The Communication prize is a sort of “prize of prizes” open to Europeans who have already been honoured with an award sometime during the previous year.
The most recent round of prizes was awarded in March of this year. Recipients
of the awards included a project that revolutionised existing astronomical observation,
the High Energy Stereoscopic System; a project that introduced a novel way of
producing hydrogen, the Hydrosol project; and a project that contributes to
our understanding of AIDS and cancer treatment, the Apoptosis project.
This year’s science communicator’s winners included five projects that ranged from writers for the children’s magazine Eureka to the creator of Italy’s first combined interactive science and technology museum and business centre.
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