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Nuclear Innovation Prize


Euratom funded research in fission and radiation protection benefits from a consistent success in pursuing excellence across a broad range of nuclear science and technologies. Researchers and engineers are constantly challenging state-of-the-art in the field and improving evolving technologies thereby creating conditions for innovations beyond technologies and scientific breakthroughs, towards a more dynamic and competitive European industry for the benefit of every citizen and the entire society.

The Euratom Programme, together with Member States’ actions, has continuously helped maintaining high‑level of competences, underpinned by sound and advanced research. The Commission, in its efforts to further engage with the public and private sectors and all relevant stakeholders in nuclear field, is seeking to identify potential disruptive innovations across product developments and their supply chain, from research to market where researchers and engineers play a critical role.

Objectives:

The Nuclear Innovation Prize is being offered to highlight and reward the excellence in nuclear innovation that can be found in this field of research as well as the quality of the talented researchers and companies involved. The first contest will be organised at the next Euratom Research and Training Conference(s) in Safety of Reactor Systems (FISA 2022) and Radioactive Waste Management (EURADWASTE’22).

There are two specific categories for this prize:

  1. Nuclear Innovation Prize in safety of reactor systems.
  2. Nuclear Innovation Prize in radioactive waste management.

Contestants are free to submit an application concerning any technological innovation in the areas of application of fission, radioactive waste and radiation protection science and technology that have been developed within fields covered in Annex I of the Euratom Research and Training Programme 2021-2025. These applications should have a market potential or should have been taken up (or recognised) by industry or safety or radiation protection regulators to be further developed for the market or for use by regulators.

The specific rules of the contest will be published in 2021 by the European Commission[[On the Funding & Tenders Portal (https://ec.europa.eu/info/funding-tenders/opportunities/portal/screen/programmes/horizon) but also actively publicised elsewhere to maximise participation.]], which will launch and manage the contest, and award the prize based on the judgement of independent experts.

The complete application for the 'Nuclear Innovation Prize' should include:

  • a technical description of the innovation
  • a state-of-the-art assessment of the innovation
  • an account, in general terms, of the market potential for the exploitation of the innovation

For the Model Rules of Contest for Prizes please see the Funding and Tenders Portal.

Essential award criteria: The prize will be awarded, after closure of the contest, to the contestant(s) who in the opinion of the jury best addresses the following cumulative criteria:

  1. Originality and replicability: The extent to which the idea is innovative, original and a first-of-a-kind use of the technology in industry or in the domain of application. The description should be clear, logically presented and well-illustrated.
  2. Technical excellence: The extent to which the innovation is demonstrably state-of-the-art and based on excellent science and engineering.
  3. Economic impact and exploitation of the innovation: The extent to which the submission demonstrates understanding and awareness of the relevant innovation aspects, including market potential, needs and business opportunities.

Eligibility criteria:

1. The contest is open to researchers, research teams or innovators working for an EU public and private organisations or companies established in EU Member State or in third country associated to Euratom Programme[[ Eligibility restriction is justified by the Euratom Programme’s specific objective to ‘maintain and

further develop expertise and competence in the nuclear field within the Community’ as provided by the

Council Regulation.]]. Example of proof: the Commission may request substantiating documents such as contracts, etc.

2. The researcher, research team or industrial participant must obtain permission from the owner of the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) to submit an application and provide supporting documentation. The owner of the IPR should comment on the state of the IPR, i.e. free or contractually embedded, and name of possible contractor(s).

Expected results:

By awarding the ‘Nuclear Innovation Prize’, the Commission will showcase at both FISA and EURADWASTE conferences innovations in this research sector giving visibility to the most dynamic, forward-looking and innovative researchers, research teams or industrial contestants. This visibility will provide greater potential for valorisation of the research and the contest will stimulate nuclear research in the EU to develop a stronger innovation and entrepreneurial culture in line with the Commission industrial strategy.

Prize amounts:

(1) Nuclear Innovation Prize in safety of reactor systems.

1st Prize: EUR 50 000, 2nd Prize: 30 000, 3rd Prize: EUR 20 000.

(2) Nuclear Innovation Prize in radioactive waste management.

1st Prize: EUR 50 000, 2nd Prize: 30 000, 3rd Prize: EUR 20 000.