Europe will see its first continent-wide prizes for academic spin-off entrepreneurs awarded in Stockholm on 5 December.
Harriet Wallberg-Henriksson, President of Karolinska Institutet and member of the Science|Business Innovation Board is keen on moving research and innovation in Europe forward.
Academic entrepreneurs from all over Europe will be heading for Stockholm, Sweden, at the start of December for the prize-giving of the ACES Academic Enterprise Europe Awards 2008.
It's the inaugural ceremony for a new awards programme, the first of its kind to recognise academic entrepreneurship across Europe. The programme is the result of an initiative from the Science|Business Innovation Board, the blue-ribbon panel of leaders in academia, industry and policy set up last year by the Science|Business news service and Microsoft Corporation.
Although it is just the first year, the Awards have drawn more than 120 nominations for academic entrepreneurs - and those who support them – from all over Europe.
“There are plenty of prizes for scientific excellence,” said Peter Wrobel, Editorial Director of Science|Business, who is organising the judging process, “but nothing for the men and women from academia who have taken a risk, gone out on a limb, in order to turn their ideas into reality. That's what these Awards aim to change.”
In order to recognise the range of factors that go toward making a spinout successful, the judges will take into account not just the novelty of the research and clear evidence of commercial success, but also the risks - to researchers' tenure-track careers as well as their finances - and the potential impact on society.
The Awards will be the culmination of a day that begins with a conference on spin-out companies at Stockholm's Karolinska Institute and ends with a gala dinner at the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering.
Delegates to the conference will have the opportunity to meet other researchers, investors, university administrators and policy-makers to examine the ‘start-up' trend - and get practical tips and contacts for making a success of it.
Backed by an impressive list of universities including Oxford, Imperial and University College London, ETH-Zürich, TU Delft, ParisTech and the Politecnico di Milano, the Awards also feature a Bridge Award from the Innovation Board for the individual “who has done the most to promote policies for entrepreneurship in university or public research institutions”.
Nominees in the information and communications technology section include the founders of iOpener, a games middleware company created on the back of ideas developed at the European Space Agency and TU Delft, and VirtaMed, which provides simulations for womb scans for use in medical training.