Innovation made in Europe: winners of the EIT Awards 2019 announced

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) has announced this year’s winners of the prestigious EIT Awards. Michael Dittel, LeafTech (Germany), Marc Julien, Diabeloop (France), Matthew Dickson, CorPower Ocean (Sweden/United Kingdom), Sara Guimarães Gonçalves, Trigger.Systems (Portugal), and David Pistoni Perez, Zeleros (Spain), won the top prizes for innovations in the fields of climate, energy and health.

Celebrating outstanding innovations, the EIT Awards winners were chosen by an international jury and featured 19 nominees from across Europe, competing in categories recognising excellence in innovation in the fields of climate, energy, digitisation, food, health, and raw materials.

More than 400 leading entrepreneurs, cutting-edge innovators, and policymakers gathered at the EIT Awards ceremony in Budapest. The winners were presented with their awards by Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport; László Palkovics, Hungarian Minister for Innovation and Technology; Sanja Damjanović, Montenegrin Minister of Science; Laima Kaušpadiene, Member of the EIT Governing Board; and, Prof. Werner Weidenfeld, Rector of the Alma Mater Europaea.

Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport responsible for the EIT commented: ‘My congratulations to the EIT Award winners 2019, and to all the nominees. They are an inspiration to innovators across Europe, and proof that the EIT, Europe’s largest innovation network, increasingly succeeds in supporting ambitious entrepreneurs, job creation and solutions to the challenges facing our societies. I look forward to seeing this innovation community continue to go from strength to strength in the coming years.’

Dirk Jan van den BergChair of the EIT Governing Board added: ‘Congratulations to all of today’s EIT Awards winners! It has been impressive to watch the talented innovators pitch here in Budapest and discover their ground-breaking innovations made in Europe. Impressively, ventures supported by the EIT Community have already raised EUR 1.5 billion in external investment. Powering entrepreneurs to turn their best ideas into solutions for a greener, healthier and more sustainable planet is at the heart of the EIT, Europe’s most experienced innovation engine.’

2019 EIT Awards Winners

The EIT Awards, unveiled yesterday, celebrates the best of Europe’s talented entrepreneurs who power solutions to pressing challenges facing Europe in climate, energy, digitisation, food, health, and raw materials. The Awards encourage entrepreneurs and promote innovation made in Europe.

Michael Dittel, LeafTech (Germany) and supported by EIT Climate-KIC won the EIT CHANGE Award. This award recognises top graduates from EIT education programmes and the winner is awarded EUR 20 000. ‘As a creative person with a passion for engineering and innovation, I never knew where to put my ideas and energy. The EIT Climate-KIC Master label degree showed me the right path’ said Michael Dittel. 

Marc Julien, Diabeloop (France), and supported by EIT Health, won the EIT Innovators Award. This award recognises teams with high impact products and services and is awarded EUR 50 000. ‘Partners are essential as nobody has the skills to face all the challenges of building innovative products and entering the market on their own. The EIT Community has helped us foster cross-border cooperation in a major way.’ said Marc Julien.

Matthew Dickson, CorPower Ocean based in Sweden and supported by EIT InnoEnergy, won the EIT Venture Award. This award recognises successful entrepreneurial start-ups and scale-ups and the winner is awarded EUR 50 000. ‘EIT InnoEnergy were the ones who first believed in our product and were ready to actually put money into it, thus attracting other investors.’ said Matthew Dickson.

Sara Guimarães Gonçalves, Trigger.Systems (Portugal) and supported by EIT InnoEnergy, won the EIT Woman Award. This award recognises outstanding women innovators and is awarded EUR 20 000. ‘There is a lot of gender bias in our sector but EIT InnoEnergy provided me with the necessary empowerment tools to make it’ said Sara Guimarães Gonçalves.

David Pistoni Perez, Zeleros (Spain) and supported by EIT Climate-KIC, won the EIT Public Award. This award recognises the public’s top innovation with thousands of votes cast across Europe. ‘The EIT is the perfect bridge to scale our disruptive innovation project at European level’ said David Pistoni Perez.

Full list of EIT Awards winners and finalists (in first, second and third place):

EIT CHANGE Award: Michael Dittel, LeafTech (Germany); Kristapps Krafte, Vigo (Latvia); and, Eirik Eide Pettersen, Seaborg Technologies (Denmark/ Norway).

EIT Woman Award: Sara Guimares Goncalves, Trigger.System (Portugal); Karoline Beronius, Addressya (Sweden); and, Maria Sievert, Inveox (Germany).

EIT Venture Award: Matthew Dickson, CorPower Ocean (Sweden/United Kingdom); Max Sieghold, Sleepiz (Switzerland/Germany); and, David Pistoni Perez, Zeleros (Spain).

EIT Innovators Award: Marc Julien, Diabeloop (France); Rudolf Sollacher, Digital Twin Management (Germany); and, Tim Houter, Hardt Hyperloop (Netherlands).

EIT Public Award: David Pistoni Perez, Zeleros (Spain); Luca Giovannini, SMASH project (Italy); and, Lynette Kucsma, Natural Machines (Spain/US).

This evening (15 Oct), the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) will announce the winners of the 2019 EIT Awards. Celebrating outstanding innovators, the EIT Awards feature 19 nominees from across Europe, competing in categories recognising excellence in innovation.

More than 400 participants will gather for the EIT Awards ceremony in Budapest with Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport responsible for the EIT, László Palkovics, Hungarian Minister for Innovation and Technology, leading entrepreneurs, cutting-edge innovators and policymakers committed to boosting entrepreneurship and innovation. 


The EIT CHANGE Award recognises graduates of EIT education programmes who inspire change for a sustainable future and the winner will be awarded EUR 20 000.

  • Eirik Eide Pettersen, Seaborg Technologies (Norway)
  • Kristaps Krafte, Vigo (Latvia)
  • Michael Dittel, Leaftech (Germany)

The EIT Innovators Award recognises EIT innovation teams that develop high-impact products and services for a sustainable future and the winner will be awarded EUR 50 000.

  • Christian Binder, MONICALC (Germany)
  • Luca Giovannini, SMASH project (Italy)
  • Marc Julien, D4Kids (France)
  • Rudolf Sollacher, Digital Twin Management (Germany)
  • Tim Houter, Hardt Hyperloop (Netherlands)

The EIT Venture Award recognises successful companies supported by the EIT Community through dedicated business creation and acceleration services and the winner will be awarded EUR 50 000.

  • David Pistoni Pérez, ZELEROS (Spain)
  • Matthew Dickson, CorPower Ocean (United Kingdom)
  • Max Sieghold, Sleepiz AG (Germany)
  • Piotr Wnukowski, NapiFeryn Biotech (Poland)
  • Tommi Tikkanen, Gim Oy (Finland)

The EIT Woman Award recognises the outstanding achievements of EIT Community women entrepreneurs and leaders and the winner will be awarded EUR 20 000.

  • Anastasia Hofmann, KITRO (Switzerland)
  • Ekaterina Shilova, AJELIS (France)
  • Karoline Beronius, Addressya (Sweden)
  • Lynette Kucsma, Natural Machines (United States)
  • Maria Sievert, Inveox (Germany)
  • Sara Guimarães Gonçalves, Trigger.Systems (Portugal)

The full list of EIT Awards nominees can be found here.

The EIT Awards will take place in Budapest during INNOVEIT, the EIT’s annual innovation forum. The conference will focus on the EIT’s work in entrepreneurial education and regions as well as innovation in cultural and creative industries. 

The EIT was created in 2008 to power Europe’s ability to innovate. The EIT is the only EU initiative to fully integrate business, education and research. We are Europe’s largest innovation community with more than 1500 partners and 50 innovation hubs across Europe. The Institute boosts the development of dynamic pan-European partnerships between leading universities, research labs and companies. These are called EIT Innovation Communities and to date, the EIT has created eight. Each focuses on a specific global challenge, from climate change to sustainable energy to food and health.

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