From education to employment

The power to innovate: winners of EIT Awards 2018 announced

The European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) rewards Europe’s top entrepreneurs Simone Accornero (Italy), Ioannis Tamanas (Greece), Bieke Van Gorp (Belgium), Isabel Hoffmann (Canada) and Laura Soucek (Italy) for innovations in the fields of energy, health and food.

Budapest played host to the EIT Awards ceremony last night, celebrating Europe’s most talented entrepreneurs and innovators during INNOVEIT, the EIT’s annual innovation forum. The EIT has cause for double-celebration, this year marking its 10th anniversary and its evolution into Europe’s one-stop shop for innovation.

Speaking at the EIT Awards ceremony, Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, responsible for the EIT, said: ‘Through the EIT, the EU has invested in entrepreneurs all over Europe, building a unique network, helping to create an entrepreneurial culture and providing critical support as ventures expand globally. The EIT Awards are a celebration of this, and the nominees and winners ambassadors of Europe’s innovative talent – my congratulations to them all!’

‘The EIT Awards celebrate excellence in innovation. Promoting the outstanding achievements of our entrepreneurs here in Budapest shines a bright light on the talent powered by the EIT Community. In just 10 years, the EIT has grown from a start-up organisation to become Europe’s strongest innovation network. This years’ winners are not just proof that the EIT is on the right course, but that it is a mature organisation ready to advance further. Europe needs more ambition for its innovative economy; it has the skills, the EIT has the thriving network to make innovation happen,’ added Dirk Jan van den Berg, Chairman of the EIT Governing Board.


The EIT CHANGE Award recognises top graduates from EIT education programmes and the winner is awarded €20,000. This year’s winner is Simone Accornero (supported by EIT InnoEnergy), CEO & co-founder of FlexiDAO (based in Barcelona, Spain), a software that automates energy data processing and exchanges, while combining traceability and transparency for the first time.

Before joining EIT InnoEnergy, I had never even thought of becoming an entrepreneur. EIT InnoEnergy showed me how my work and research as an engineer has a real impact on the surrounding environment’ said Simone Accornero.

The EIT Innovators Award recognises teams with high impact products and services and is awarded €50,000. This year’s winning team is led by Ioannis Tamanas (supported by EIT Health), President and CSO of Altoida (based in San Diego and Lucerne). The Alzheimer’s Disease Prediction Service (ADPS) is one of the first validated solutions able to predict the risk of Alzheimer’s for people over 50.

My goal is to fight and ultimately cure Alzheimer’s; a disease that remains one of the greatest challenges to society. EIT Health heightened our visibility across Europe through its extensive network and accelerated the acceptance of ADPS on the European market’ said Ioannis Tamanas.

The EIT Venture Award recognises successful entrepreneurial start-ups and scale-ups and is awarded €50,000. This year’s winner is Bieke Van Gorp, Chief Business Development Officer and co-founder at Qompium NV (supported by EIT Health). Qompium (based in Hasselt, Belgium) developed FibriCheck, a mobile application that enables users to detect atrial fibrillation and take preventive action.

Implementation of our innovative way of saving lives did not come without a struggle and I am very proud to have fought for this. We received extensive support from EIT Health, not only for funding but also for networking’ said Bieke Van Gorp.

The EIT Woman Award recognises outstanding women innovators and is awarded €20,000. This year’s winner is Isabel Hoffman, CEO of Tellspec LTD (supported by EIT Food) that has developed a rapid, portable and affordable sensor to test for the quality and decay of raw white fish, and the fraudulent use of excess water in frozen fish.

I wanted to help my daughter and those who suffer from undiagnosed food-related illnesses. With my strong background in software and preventive medicine, and support from the EIT Community in the form of unique partnerships, I came up with a solution to save others from that long and difficult experience’ said Isabel Hoffman.

The EIT Public Award recognises the public’s top innovation with thousands of votes cast across Europe.

This year’s winner is Laura Soucek, Founder and CEO of Peptomyc S.L. (supported by EIT Health and based in Barcelona, Spain) a peptide-based solution that can serve as a new treatment option for cancer patients.

I recognise myself in EIT’s motto ‘making innovation happen’. I wanted to make a change, efficiently and in the smartest way possible. EIT Health provided partner organisations and gave me the opportunity to learn from my peers and predecessors’ said Laura Soucek.

The winners were chosen from among 38 nominees by an international jury. Each finalist was selected for driving European innovation through ground-breaking products, services and processes that address global challenges in the fields of energy, food, health and raw materials.

Watch the first interviews with the winners here. The full list and profiles of the 2018 EIT Awards winners can be found here.

EIT @ 10: from paper to Europe’s one-stop shop for innovation  

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) marks the 10 years since the unique EU one-stop shop for innovation was created. This evening, (4 Oct) the EIT will also announce the winners of the EIT Awards 2018.

38 nominees are competing in categories recognising excellence in innovation, with women entrepreneurs making up more than 40% of the nominees.

More than 350 innovators will gather in Budapest for the EIT’s annual Innovation Forum, INNOVEIT, to discuss the EIT’s unique role in driving innovation across Europe and to celebrate the EIT Awards.

The high-level conference takes place in Budapest with the participation of European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics, Member of European Parliament, Lambert van Nistelrooij, leading entrepreneurs, cutting-edge innovators and policy-makers committed to boosting entrepreneurship and innovation.

Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport responsible for the EIT, stated:

“The EIT is now ten years old – a reason to celebrate! Over the course of this decade, a creative pan-European network, Europe’s largest innovation community, has shown what is possible with a relentless focus on excellence, ambition and – most of all – young people’s talents and aspirations. Now we need to put everything in place to ensure that this project continues to grow and evolve over the next ten years.

“This will take a sound strategy focusing on the big challenges facing our societies and further enhancing educational performance, a strong focus on involving regions across all of the European Union as well as adequate funding. Our proposal for the EU’s next long-term budget points in this direction, and I am looking forward to working with all involved to make the next ten years of the EIT an even bigger success.”

Today, the EIT is Europe’s largest, most connected innovation ecosystem with more than 1000 excellent partners, including many of Europe’s leading companies, universities and research centres, successfully co-operating.

Dirk Jan van den Berg, Chairman of the EIT Governing Board added:

“Our unique network has nurtured more than 1,250 start-ups and scale-ups that have raised in excess of EUR 890 million in external investment and created over 6 100 highly skilled jobs. That said, we are focused on the next 10 years, conscious that we cannot be complacent. Europe is facing an ‘innovation emergency’.

“As Europe’s one-stop shop for innovation, the EIT looks forward to collaborate with partners to power students, innovators and entrepreneurs. Today’s Awards ceremony highlights the fruit of 10 years’ of impact, and points to a future based on the creativity and solutions of immensely talented EIT Community entrepreneurs.”

The EIT Awards celebrate Europe’s talented entrepreneurs that power solutions to some of the pressing challenges facing Europe in the fields of climate, energy, digitalisation, food, health and raw materials.

The 38 nominees represent the most promising entrepreneurs and innovators in Europe and compete in four categories: EIT CHANGE, EIT Innovators and EIT Venture, and, for the first time, the EIT Woman Award. The winner of the EIT Public Award will also be announced during the ceremony as voted for by thousands across Europe.

Follow INNOVEIT live, including thought-provoking panel discussions, the EIT Awards pitching and ceremony.

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

EIT BACKGROUND: Europe’s future is connected to its power to innovate!

What is the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)?

The EIT was created in 2008 to strengthen Europe’s ability to innovate. The EIT is a unique EU initiative, the only one to fully integrate business, education and research.

The Institute supports the development of dynamic pan-European partnerships between leading universities, research labs and companies. These are called Innovation Communities and each focuses on a specific global challenge.


What challenges do the EIT’s Innovation Communities focus on?

The first six Innovation Communities work to mitigate and adapt to climate change (EIT Climate-KIC), create sustainable sources of energy and increase its supply (EIT InnoEnergy), accelerate the digital transformation (EIT Digital), support healthier and longer living (EIT Health), provide sustainable and healthier food (EIT Food), and manage our planet’s raw materials in an efficient, secure and sustainable way (EIT RawMaterials).

Together with their leading partners, they offer a wide range of innovation and entrepreneurship activities. This includes education courses that combine technical skills with entrepreneurial ones, business creation and acceleration services, run innovation driven research projects.

In December 2018, the EIT will select new Innovation Communities in the areas of urban mobility and added value manufacturing.

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