Brussels, 24 July 2002
The number of hopefuls submitting projects for the Descartes prize has doubled since last year, and includes more candidate countries and more female project coordinators, the European Commission has announced.
The Descartes prize is an annual award, now in its third year, presented by the European Commission to award European research resulting from trans-national cooperation. The 2002 prize will be awarded on 5 December in Munich.
The number of submissions has risen to 108 this year, roughly twice the number received last year. The number of countries involved in a project has also risen to an average of nine, whereas the corresponding figure in 2000 was three. Up from 10 per cent in 2000, the number of Central and East European candidate countries represented in the submitted projects has now tripled to 30 per cent.
The number of women responsible for coordinating projects submitted for the prize has also increased. While only eight per cent in 2000, 13 per cent of submitted projects are now coordinated by women. This figure is higher than the estimated five to seven percent of women who occupy senior scientific posts in Europe.
The Descartes prize evaluation process is carried out in two stages. Projects are first submitted to a scientific panel of experts who evaluate them on the basis of the quality of the results achieved, their contribution to addressing key scientific and technological issues and the degree to which the project is innovative. Panellists also take into account the projects' 'European added value' - the quality of the trans-national cooperation established. The short listed projects are then submitted to a jury comprising figures from academic, industrial and public life.
Last year the prize was shared by two projects, for breakthroughs in the fights against AIDS and innovative research in the field of chemical manufacturing.
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