The Commission’s Horizon Prizes are 'challenge' prizes that offer a cash reward to whoever can most effectively meet a defined challenge. Their aim is to stimulate innovation and come up with solutions to problems that matter to European citizens.
Worth a total of €3.25 million and funded under the Horizon 2020 programme, in addition to developing products that help cut emissions by reusing carbon dioxide (CO2) the prizes will reward innovative approaches to integrating solar energy into historical buildings, and using renewable energy in hospitals.
Launching the three new prizes Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: "Protecting our rich cultural heritage and providing state-of-the-art hospitals need not be at odds with our goal for a sustainable, affordable and low-carbon energy future. These prizes will help mobilise the talent needed to find new ways to deploy existing technologies to achieve these goals, and the innovative reuse of CO2 will help to tackle climate change, one of the major societal challenges worldwide."
The chemical activation and use of CO2 has been a topic of great interest to SusChem for many years and SusChem closely follows progress in CO2 utilisation and regularly tweets on developments using the #useCO2 hashtag. For example Covestro recently announced the opening of its DREAM useCO2 facility and we have covered EU-funded projects, such as SCOT and BIO-TIC, which look to make use of waste CO2. The SCOT project recently held its end of project meeting.
The topic also features in the SusChem Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda (SIRA).
The €1.5 million Horizon Prize CO2 reuse will be awarded to the developer of an innovative product that reuses carbon dioxide (CO2), making a genuine contribution to achieving net emissions reductions.
The €1 million Horizon Prize Low carbon hospital will contribute to finding solutions for using 100% renewable energy sources for heat and power generation in hospital buildings. The award will go to an innovative solution integrating several technologies into one energy system, which can guarantee uninterrupted energy supply.
The €750 000 Horizon Prize Photovoltaics meets history addresses the technical constraints in integrating photovoltaic energy sources in historical urban districts. The prize will be awarded to the most suitable architectural and aesthetical design for a photovoltaic energy system which at the same time presents an optimal technical solution.
Contestants can apply until 26 September 2018 for the Photovoltaics meets history contest and until 3 April 2019 for the two others. Applicants have total freedom in the approach they take to deliver the breakthrough solution. The rules of the contests are available on the Horizon Prizes website.
What are Horizon Prizes?
First a technological or societal challenge, for which no solution has been found, is defined and an award is promised for the delivered breakthrough solution. The criteria for the specific award outlines what the solution must be capable of proving, however the means to reach the solution are not prescribed, leaving entrants total freedom to come up with the most promising and effective solution.
You can find out more about the Horizon Prize process in the video below.
Horizon Prizes are not like the Nobel Prize or the Sakharov Prize that celebrate outstanding achievements performed in the past. Challenge prizes like the Horizon Prizes and the US X-Prizes support and accelerate change in the world and can be an important driver for innovation.
In March 2014, the European Commission announced the winner of its first ever challenge prize to encourage inventors to overcome one of the biggest barriers to using vaccines in developing countries: the need to keep them stable at any ambient temperature. The €2 million prize was awarded to German biopharmaceutical company CureVac GmbH for progress towards a novel technology to bring life-saving vaccines to people across the planet in safe and affordable ways.