EU Descartes Prize's fifth anniversary: eight research teams competing for the 2004 award

July 26, 2004

Brussels, 23 July 2004

This year, the EU Descartes Prize for outstanding research through transnational co-operation is celebrating its fifth anniversary. The 2004 short-listed teams come from 20 countries and display scientific excellence in the fields of life sciences, engineering, information technologies, chemistry and physics. The two winners of this year’s award – which is worth €1 million, with €500 000 for each winner – will be announced on 2 December in Prague. Over the past five years, 65 teams from 19 European and non-European countries have been awarded the EU Descartes Prize for projects that range from basic sciences, chemistry and life sciences to electronics and physics.

“The stories of past Descartes laureates illustrate how beneficial cross-border exchange of scientific expertise can be in terms of scientific and technological development, and how transnational research incentives can stimulate collaboration,” says European Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin. “From researching treatment for skin cancer, working on novel drugs to combat HIV, to revolutionising the world of electronic displays, former laureates have greatly contributed to increasing our scientific knowledge.”

The short-listed projects include:

  • Life sciences
In the field of life sciences, a team of researchers co-ordinated by Prof. Francesco Blasi of the Vita-Salute San Raffaele University in Milan (Italy), working in co-operation with a Denmark-based team, has made important discoveries in combating and curing cancer, and predicting its progress and effects. Also short-listed is the “local therapy” project co-ordinated by Prof. John Francis Martin of the University College of London, United Kingdom (Finland, Germany and Italy are partners in the project) and the “MBAD” project co-ordinated by Professor Howard Trevor Jacobs of the University of Tampere in Finland, with the participation of Italian, French, British and Swedish scientists.

  • Chemistry, nanosciences and engineering
The “Dendrimers” project was short-listed for its contribution in the field of chemistry and nanoscience. Prof. Vincenzo Balzani of the University of Bologna (Italy) is the project leader of a team composed of German and Dutch scientists. In the engineering field, the “APLOMB” project co-ordinated by Prof. Peter Townsend of the University of Sussex in the UK, has been selected. The project includes the participation of Bulgarian, German, Italian, Slovenian and Spanish scientists.

  • Information sciences and physics
The “MAFTIA” project was short-listed in the field of information sciences and aims to make large network infrastructures, such as the internet, “safer” for users. The project is co-ordinated by Dr Robert Stroud of Newcastle University in the UK, in co-operation with research teams from France, Portugal and Switzerland. In the field of physics, two projects were short-listed. The “IST-QuComm” project is co-ordinated by Prof. Anders Karlsson (Sweden), with partner teams coming from Austria, France, Germany, Switzerland, the UK and US. The list of 2004 finalists is completed by the “CSNM” project co-ordinated by Prof. Peter Weinberger of the Austrian Centre for Computational Materials Science (Austria), with partner teams from the Czech Republic and Hungary.

The Descartes Prize online:

Item source: IP/04/991 Date: 23/07/2004

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