Germany and the UK lead the shortlist for 2014 European academic enterprise awards

02 Jul 2014 | News
Spin-outs from four German and two UK universities feature among the nine finalists in the 2014 ACES Awards, along with universities from Denmark, Ireland and Switzerland.

Academic entrepreneurs leading spin-outs from universities in Germany, the UK, Denmark, Ireland and Switzerland have reached to the final round of the sixth annual Academic Enterprise Awards, the only pan-European awards for enterprise in university and public research institutes. The Science|Business Innovation Board will pick three winners from the shortlist of nine finalists at the Innovation Connection conference at the Technische Universität Berlin, Germany, on 7 October 2014.

This is the first time that shortlisted entries from Germany have featured so prominently. Research in TU Berlin led to the creation of two companies shortlisted for the Green Award. DexLeChem GmbH, founded by chemist Sonja Jost, offers the chemical and pharmaceutical industries the opportunity to re-use chiral catalysts, while Matan Beery invented the technology behind akvolution GmbH, whose ceramic-based desalination product has the ability to pretreat waters prone to algal blooms.

The same university produced a finalist for the Life Sciences Award, Uwe Marx, whose company TissUse GmbH provides Human-on-a-Chip solutions for the analysis of drug candidates, cosmetics, chemicals and consumer products.

The fourth finalist from Germany is in the ICT category.  Patrick Henkel from the Technische Universität München, developed the patented methods and algorithms underpinning Advanced Navigation Solutions GmbH’s low-cost, centimetre-accurate positioning systems.  

From the UK, Oxford University was the seed bed for Michalis Papadakis’s Brainomix Ltd, shortlisted for the ICT Award, whose medical imaging software automates the interpretation of brain scans of stroke patients. Another UK start-up, shortlisted for the same award, is pureLiFi Ltd, a spin-out from the Edinburgh University, where Harald Haas have developed technology to allow LED lighting to also send data wirelessly, using light frequencies.

Danish company RHINIX ApS, a spin-out of Aarhus University, won a place on the Life Sciences Award shortlist for founder Peter Kenney’s unobtrusive nasal filters for hay fever sufferers. Also shortlisted for the Life Sciences Award is Switzerland’s InSphero AG, a spin-out from ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich, where founder Jan Lichtenberg’s robotically-produced microtissues enable in vitro testing of drugs for efficacy and toxicity.

One Irish company has made the shortlist. Technology pioneer Eoin Casey from University College Dublin, whose breakthroughs in membrane-aerated biofilm reactors led to the formation of spin-out Oxymem Ltd, is a finalist for the Green Award.

The shortlist of nine finalists was agreed by a selection committee with members from industry, academia and venture capital, meeting in Denmark on 23 June. The panel was chaired by Science|Business.

The full list of finalists by category is:

Life Sciences Award
Green Award
ICT Award

The Science|Business Innovation Board is a non-profit scientific association formed to improve the climate for innovation. Its members are some of Europe’s leading innovators, in industry, academia and policy. They meet regularly with key EU and national officials to discuss important aspects of innovation policy. They commission policy research from leading academics. They support Europe’s best university spin-outs with annual prizes. And they speak and write regularly on the results of their work – all with the intent to broaden and deepen the policy debate in Europe over innovation. The Board is a source of new ideas, backed by deep personal experience, to sharpen Europe’s innovation agenda.

The Board, which began meeting in 2007, was founded by international business school INSEAD, ESADE Business School, and Science Business Publishing Ltd., with the support of Microsoft Corp. and BP PLC. Its membership has broadened to include Imperial College London, SKF, Aalto University, Sanofi and some key individual innovators.

For more information about the ACES awards, and a full list of selection committee members, visit

Never miss an update from Science|Business:   Newsletter sign-up