The European Commission Inducement Prizes, named Horizon Prizes are a new competition for European innovators that aim to deliver breakthrough solutions to specific issues.

This new instrument, offers a financial reward for developing a solution to societal or technological challenges that have not yet been met.

There are no specific rules on how to achieve the solution, and contestants (companies, organisations or individual persons) are free to submit any development of a technological solution that meets the criteria of the challenge.

The solution should be energy efficient, economically viable, easy to install and deploy. The feasibility of the approach will have to be demonstrated through clear experimental results.

The solution that most effectively meets the defined challenge will be the winner of each prize. The winner receives a cash prize and will also benefit from media coverage and the possibility to attract investors.

The Horizon Prizes cover various areas: health, food, transport, spectrum.

Among them, there are several ICT-related prizes, awarded under Horizon 2020.

Tactile Display

The target of the prize is the development of an affordable, internet-enabled, full-page tactile display. This device would assist visually impaired people to read texts and graphics through the sense of touch and improve the quality of their lives, especially in the area of education and navigation.

The winning solution should convey digital information in braille, and  though the use of touch illustrate graphics and charts, mathematical and spatial information, simple maps. 

The Rules of Contest were published in May 2017 on the Participant portal. The prize has a total value of €3 million.

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Zero Power Water Monitoring

The target of the prize is the development of an innovative solution based on self-powered and wireless smart sensing technologies, designed for real-time monitoring of water resources.

The winning solution will be able to put together wireless sensors using harvesting technologies and demonstrate the positive impact of using self-powered energy in acquiring, monitoring, communicating and analysing information about water resources. It will also have to maximise the energy efficiency innovations in the smart sensing water resources management.

The Rules of Contest were published in April 2017 on the Participant portal. The prize has a total value of €2 million.

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Food Scanner

The target of the prize was the development of an affordable device that will allow citizens to make informed choices on food intake in a quick and non-invasive manner.

The winning solution had to analyse food composition and present in a seamless way, nutrition facts and potentially harmful ingredients: calories, food ingredients, nutrients, and allergens.The tool should also provide feedback to the users in relation to their condition and/or lifestyle.

Rules of Contest were published in July 2015. The prize has a total value of €1 million. 

The prize was awarded in March 2017 to Spectral Engines who developed a food scanner prototype based on Near Infrared Spectroscopy, along with a Bluetooth connection to a mobile device and data connection to a Cloud server. The prototype is compact and provides real-time results at a comparatively low price.

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Collaborative Spectrum Sharing

The target of the prize was to develop a radical solution to unblock the expected capacity crunch of wireless networks by providing alternative and decentralised spectrum management approaches.

The winning solution needed to be innovative and have a disruptive approach which will enable a significant increase in spectrum sharing and re-use, beyond the currently applicable spectrum sharing methods and centralized techniques. 

Rules of Contest were published in March 2015. The Prize has a total value of €0.5 million.

The deadline  for submission was 17 December 2015 and five entries were submitted by that date.

The prize was awarded on November 9th, 2016 to DISTRIBUTE application for its highly novel approach that “frees-up” the infrastructure and functions supporting spectrum sharing and improves spectral efficiency dramatically. Their ground-breaking solution distributes the database among the communicating devices ( mobile phones, tablets or laptops, and other radios devices) and network nodes. This way, the database can be run on these devices without having to develop a new central database.

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Breaking the optical transmission barriers

The target of this prize was the development of a breakthrough solution in the area of point-to-point optical fibre transmission, to overcome the current limitations of long distance fibre transmission systems.

The winning solution needed to maximise the fibre transmission capacity per channel , spectrum range and/or spectral efficiency and reach. It should also be energy efficient, economic viable and easy to install and deploy. 

Rules of Contest were published in March 2015. The Prize has a total value of €0.5 million. The deadline for submissions was 15 March 2016 and 6 entries were submitted by that date.

The prize was awarded on November 9th, 2016 to PHOTONMAP  for its proposal of building a multi-core fibre optical communication system that will increase both the joint spectral efficiency and the capacity of the optical network. Moreover, due to the low crosstalk, the transmission over several thousands of km is realistically feasible without the need for excessesive electronic processing.

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For more information on the award criteria, visit the Horizon Prizes section dedicated to rules and guidance.

3 March 2015
Last update: 
8 June 2017
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