Dutch, Danish and French enterprises win European Information Society Technology Grand Prize 2006

March 24, 2006

Brussels, 23 March 2006

A computer memory that can survive radiation and temperatures up to 200°C, a security system that recognizes your face, and a digital content “finger-printing” system to deter multimedia pirates are the winners of the European Information Society Technology Grand Prizes for 2006, announced in Vienna last night. French, Danish and Dutch firms won the three Grand Prizes, worth €200,000 each. Seventeen more prizes, of €5,000 each, were awarded to ground-breaking technologies from 12 countries. One Spanish company, NextLimit, won two prizes for different projects. The top 20 projects were selected by the European Commission on 16 March from a total of 213 applicants from 28 European countries.

“Tonight we celebrate European enterprises that excel in information and communication technology innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship. Their products can be built into those of other firms in many industries, and so enhance the competitiveness of the EU economy as a whole”, said Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding, as she announced the winners.

The European IST Prize is organised by the European Commission together with the European Council of Applied Sciences, Technologies and Engineering (Euro-CASE). It is open each year to companies or organisations that present an innovative information technology product with promising market potential.

The three Grand Prize Winners (of equal merit) each receive an award of €200.000. They are:

Cavendish Kinetics for Nanomech (the Netherlands)

A nanotechnology innovation in computer storage which dramatically enhances “non-volatile” memory (memory in electronic devices which continues working when the power is turned off). Nanomech uses ultra-low power, and boasts high speed read/write characteristics at temperatures up to 200°C.

The company was founded in 1994, and employs 28.

Guardia, for Guardia Control System (Denmark)

A reliable and accurate 3D face recognition system for security applications. Guardia Control copies the human face and features in 3D and scans the temperature of the face. The system has an extremely high success rate for recognizing individuals against images held in a database.

Guardia was founded in 2003, with a staff of 2 plus contract developers.

Advestigo for AdvestiSEARCH (France)

AdvestiSEARCH calculates ‘digital fingerprints’ of multimedia digital content, allowing detection of full or partial copies of original material. This automated copyright protection service enables creators of digital content to monitor illicit use of their multimedia digital assets on the Internet.

Advestigo was founded in 2002 and today employs a staff of 28.

The prizes were awarded by Mrs Reding and Mr Eduard Mainoni, State Secretary in the Austrian Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology, at a gala ceremony in the Hofburg Palace in Vienna. The event was hosted by the Austrian Presidency of the European Union, in conjunction with a high-level conference on information and communication technology (ICT) investment and innovation, organised by the European Commission.

Mrs Reding pointed out that ICTs in Europe were responsible for 45% of the growth in labour productivity from 2000 to 2004 and called for more European investment in ICT. However, she added: "We must also ensure that this investment feeds a chain of innovation and growth throughout the economy”.

The European IST Prize is funded by the European Commission’s IST Programme, which is part of the EU’s Sixth Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development. Independent experts, proposed by Euro-CASE, assessed the proposals and recommended the Winners and Grand Prize Winners to the European Commission. The Executive Jury was chaired by Guy Demuynck, Member of the Executive Board of KPN and CEO of KPN Mobile, who was also master of ceremonies at last night’s award ceremony.

Twenty European IST Prize Winners 2006 classified by country of origin. (See list in annex 1)

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Item source: IP/06/365 Date: 23/03/2006

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