Denmark provided its first winner of the ACES awards – the only pan-European awards for academic spin-outs – at a ceremony in Brussels this evening. It was joined as winners by founders of spin-outs from universities in France, Switzerland and the UK in a competition that proved that Europe's universities can buck the continent-wide recession. Despite what is widely seen as an investment famine, these spin-outs all managed to attract funding to capitalise on Europe's ofworld-ranked research to create enterprises with the potential to be world-beaters.
Danish company ABEO, winner of the Materials and Chemicals Award, uses ideas developed at the Technical University of Denmark and Copenhagen Business School to produce pre-formed concrete, which improves the cost-effectiveness and environmental performance of concrete constructions as well as saving on CO2 emissions.
Spun out of technology developed at the University of Cambridge, UK, Netherlands-based Sphere Fluidics was honoured for its ground-breaking biochip systems that automatically process millions to billions of miniaturised tests in tiny picodroplets. Among other things, the technology allows tests on individual cells as well as whole “libraries” of cells.
ICT winner Kandou Bus, spun out of research at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland impressed the judges with its design, implementation and licensing of chip-to-chip serial links that are much faster (2 times or more) and much more power-efficient (50 per cent or less) than any in existence today. Its technology promises to reduce power consumption in electronic systems requiring high-speed connections between chip components.
French spin-out Qualisteo headed the list of entrants in the Energy and Environment category, providing a first-ever winner for the Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines. Qualisteo is an eco-innovative start-up which helps electricity consumers take control of their own consumption patterns and thus their ecological footprint. End-users are promised a greater than 15 per cent energy efficiency gain as a return on a two-year investment.
The ACES awards programme was created in 2008 by Science|Business, a Brussels- and London-based media company and innovation network set up to recognise entrepreneurship at academic institutions.
The ACES 2013 winners conference was held at the European Parliament in Brussels. The winners were chosen by the Science|Business Innovation Board from a shortlist drawn up by a jury drawn from academia, industry and venture capital. The prizes were announced and awarded at a gala dinner at the Plaza Theatre, Brussels.
The full list of finalists chosen include founders and leaders of the following organisations (in alphabetical order, by prize category):
For the Energy and Environment Award:
- Winner. Christophe Robillard, Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France. Company: Qualisteo.
- Runner-up. Elodie Dahan, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland. Company: OsmoBlue.
For the ICT Award
- Winner. Amin Shokrollahi, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland. Company: Kandou Bus.
- Runner-up. Suat Topsu Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France. Company: OLEDCOMM.
For the Life Sciences Award
- Winner. Andrew Mackintosh, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom. Company: Sphere Fluidics Limited.
- Runner-up. David Micklem, University of Bergen, Norway. Company: BerGenBio AS.
For the Materials and Chemicals Award:
- Winner. Alexander Wulff, Technical University of Denmark & Copenhagen Business School. Company: ABEO.
- Runner-up. Jörg P. Feist, Imperial College London, United Kingdom. Company: Sensor Coating Systems.