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Winners of EIT Awards announced

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), an independent EU body boosting innovation in Europe, has announced the winners of this yearʼs EIT Awards, recognizing innovators in five categories, organizers tell the Budapest Business Journal. 

The EIT Awards winners were chosen by an international jury, chosen from 19 nominees from across the continent. More than 400 leading entrepreneurs, innovators, and policymakers came together at the EIT Awards ceremony in Budapest on Tuesday.

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 Kaušpadienė, Member of the EIT Governing Board; and Prof. Werner Weidenfeld, Rector of the Alma Mater Europaea.

“My congratulations to the EIT Award winners 2019, and to all the nominees,” Navracsics said. “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.”

“It has been impressive to watch the talented innovators pitch here in Budapest and discover their ground-breaking innovations made in Europe,” added Dirk Jan van den Berg, chair of the EIT Governing Board. “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.”

Innovation across the continent

The EIT Change Award was given to Michael Dittel of LeafTech (Germany), supported by EIT Climate-KIC. Organizers say that the award recognizes top graduates from EIT education programs 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 Dittel.

Marc Julien of Diabeloop (France), supported by EIT Health, won the EIT Innovators Award. The award recognizes 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 Julien.

Matthew Dickson of CorPower Ocean, based in Sweden and supported by EIT InnoEnergy, won the EIT Venture Award. The award recognizes successful entrepreneurial startups and scaleups, with the winner taking home 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 Dickson.

Sara Guimarães Gonçalves of Trigger Systems (Portugal), supported by EIT InnoEnergy, won the EIT Woman Award. EIT says that the award recognizes outstanding women innovators and carries a prize of 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 Gonçalves.

David Pistoni Pérez of Zeleros (Spain), supported by EIT Climate-KIC, received the EIT Public Award. The award recognizes 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 Pérez.