News24 September 2020Brussels, BelgiumResearch and Innovation
EIC Horizon Prize on Affordable High-Tech for Humanitarian Aid: Commission awards five outstanding solutions
Five exceptional innovations that can make a big difference in the lives of the most vulnerable people around the world have won the EIC Horizon Prize on Affordable High-Tech for Humanitarian Aid. Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, and Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner for Crisis Management, announced the five winners at the European Research and Innovation Days, this year taking place entirely online.
The prize is funded under Horizon 2020, the EU research and innovation programme, as part of the European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot. It rewards the best, proven, cost-effective, technology-based solutions for humanitarian aid in five categories: shelter and related assistance; water, hygiene and sanitation; energy; health and medical care; and an open category. The winners, one per category, each received €1,000,000.
The winning innovations in each category are:
Shelter and related assistance: LHP, developed by the South African SME Lumkani, is a low-cost solution providing community-wide alerts for fires in settlements such as slums or refugee camps;
Water, hygiene and sanitation: LORAWAN monitoring by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) offers real-time solutions for remote monitoring of water tankers and reservoirs to improve the effectiveness of water trucking programming globally;
Energy: BRIGHT Move by the Norwegian SME Bright Products AS provides refugees with light and energy thanks to an affordable, recyclable and rapidly deployable phone charging device combined with a solar lantern;
Open Category: Odyssey2025, developed by the French non-profit organisation Handicap International, deploys drones to improve the efficiency and safety of land release in mine clearance (allowing the land to be used again), while reducing costs and ensuring sustainability.
Commissioner Gabriel said:
These innovations clearly show how physical technologies such as sensors, solar panels or additive manufacturing can be combined with digital technologies to help those desperately in need, empower them, and improve resilience. I am very pleased to award this Prize both to well-established humanitarian organisations and to young, innovative companies that are dedicated to improving people’s lives.
Commissioner Lenarčič said:
Innovation can help us deliver better and more effective aid to people most in need. The technologies recognised today are a great testament to that. It is encouraging to see the great diversity of actors and new partnerships for innovation, from start-up companies to existing humanitarian organisations. I hope this award serves to support the scaling and broad adoption of these innovations in humanitarian work around the world.
EIC Horizon Prizes are part of the pilot phase of the European Innovation Council (EIC). They aim to trigger innovations in areas where important societal problems need to be addressed. These prizes call for breakthrough solutions that demonstrate their feasibility or potential, so that innovators can take them quickly to the market and reach those in need. The EIC Horizon Prize for Affordable High-Tech for Humanitarian Aid was launched on 30 November 2017, and the finalists were announced on 19 June 2020.