Descartes Prize

The Descartes Prize is an annual award in science given by the European Union, named in honour of the French mathematician and philosopher, René Descartes.

The prizes recognizes Outstanding Scientific and Technological Achievements Resulting from European Collaborative Research. The research prize was first awarded in 2000.

The research prize is awarded to teams of researchers who have "achieved outstanding scientific or technological results through collaborative research in any field of science, including the economic, social science and humanities." . Submissions may be received by the research teams themselves or by suitable national bodies.

A science communication prize was started in 2004 as part of the Descartes Prize but in 2007 was separated to the Science Communication Prize.

Proposals (also referred to as submissions) received are judged and a shortlist of nominees are announced, from which five Laureates (finalists) and five Winners are announced at a prize ceremony in December each year.

Laureates / Winners

Where a project coordinator was named, only that person was included here and none of the team members who are also "winners" or "laureates". (Full project members are included on the Descartes Prize website individual award pages.) Where no project "coordinator" was named, the team members are individually named.

  • 2000 Winners: "Chemistry close to the absolute zero" (Ian Smith project coordinator); "The XPD gene: one gene, two functions, three diseases" (Alan Lehmann, project coordinator); "Plastic transistors operating at 50 kHz for low-end high-volume electronic circuits" (Dago de Leeuw, project coordinator)
  • 2001 Winners: "Development of novel drugs against human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)" (Jan Balzarini, project coordinator); "Development of new asymmetric catalysts for chemical manufacturing" (Michael North, project coordinator)
  • 2002 Winners: "Towards new drugs for Multiple Sclerosis patients" (Lars Fugger, Rikard Holmdahl, Yvonne Jones); "The universe's biggest explosions since the Big Bang" (Ed van den Heuvel, project coordinator)
  • 2003 Winners: "Pinpoint positioning in a wobbly world" (Veronique Dehant, project coordinator); "Paving the way for roll-up screens and switch-on wallpaper" (Richard Friend, project coordinator)
  • 2004 Winners: "Project MBAD" (Howard Trevor Jacobs, project coordinator); "Project IST-QuComm", Anders Karlsson)
  • 2005 Winners: "Extending electromagnetism through novel artificial methods" (Costas Soukoulis, Ekmel Ozbay, John Brian Pendry, Martin Wegener, David R. Smith, project members); "CECA  Climate and environmental change in the Arctic" (Ola M. Johannessen, Lennart Bengtsson, Leonid Bobylev, project members)
  • 2007 Winners: "SynNanoMotors  The realisation of some of the world's first working synthetic molecular motors and mechanical nanomachines" (David Leigh, project coordinator, François Kajzar, Fabio Biscarini, Francesco Zerbetto, Wybren Jan Buma and Petra Rudolf); "EPICA  European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica" (Hubertus Fischer, Jean-Louis Tison, Thomas Stocker, Dorthe Dahl-Jensen, Valerie Masson-Delmotte, Massimo Frezzotti, Gérard Jugle, Valter Maggi, Michiel van den Broeke, Elisabeth Isaksson, Margareta Hansson, Erik Wolff)[1]


  1. "European Science Awards 2007" (PDF). European Commission. 2008. Retrieved 3 August 2016.

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