Brussels, 11 Apr 2006
The UK's Royal Society and France's Académie des Science, with support from Microsoft, have launched a new award recognising European scientists who have made a major contribution to the advancement of biological science through the use of computing.
The award is open to researchers working at the interface of biological sciences and computing. The winner will receive a trophy and 250,000 euro, of which 7,500 will be prize money, with the rest earmarked for research.
For its initial three years, the award will alternate in terms of who it rewards, between physical and biological scientists.
'This award recognises that researchers working at the interface between science and computing are rapidly expanding the frontiers of knowledge,' said Vice President of the Royal Society, Professor Martin Taylor.
He noted that increases in computational power are helping researchers to exploit the human genome, and could lead to the development of personalised medicines. Professor Taylor also referred to developments in quantum information systems, which will make Internet shopping more secure, and to new technology for predicting climatic changes.
President of the Académie des Sciences, Professor Edouard Brézin, added: 'Science used to be divided between theory and experiment. However, nowadays a third branch, computational science, has undeniable found an essential place in support of the other two. Biocomputing includes some of the most challenging open questions of our times; for instance understanding the modes of protein folding, once the chemical sequence has been determined, still required years of computation, whereas microseconds are sufficient in vivo.