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Brussels, 9 March 2015

On the occasion of International Women's Day, the European Commission is launching today the third edition of the EU Prize for Women Innovators to reward three women who have achieved outstanding innovations and brought them to market. The prize aims to raise awareness of the need for more female entrepreneurs and to inspire other women to follow in their footsteps. The first prize is worth €100 000, the second prize €50 000 and third prize €30 000.

The prize is being launched during a working lunch with outstanding women in academia, research, industry and media, hosted by the European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas. The event reflects on how to increase the participation of women in research and innovation and their share of top positions in the industry and academia. Participants to the lunch include female rectors, previous winners of the EU Prize for Women Innovators, leaders of EU initiatives on gender equality, as well as both senior and young scientists.

Commissioner Moedas said: "There may have been some improvement in recent years but, in Europe, female researchers and entrepreneurs remain a minority. Whether economically, intellectually or socially, we cannot afford to continue missing out on this vast pool of untapped talent. The EU Prize for Women Innovators recognises women entrepreneurs for their valuable achievements, inspiring both men and women alike."

"Gender equality is not only a moral imperative but it also makes economic sense", said Věra Jourová, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality. “Diversity is good for innovation and entrepreneurship, because it brings new talent and fresh ideas. The EU Prize for Women Innovators showcases female talent and can encourage other women to pursue careers in science and entrepreneurship where women are still underrepresented."

The contest is open to all women who have founded or co-founded their company and who have at some point of their careers benefitted from EU's research and innovation funding. Contestants will be able to submit their applications until 20 October 2015. A high-level jury will evaluate and select the three winners who will be announced in 2016. 


Gender equality is a cornerstone of the European Union and applies to all European policies including research and innovation.

Although there has been some improvement in recent years, great differences persist between the careers of female and male scientists and entrepreneurs. In 2012, 46% of the PhD graduates in the EU were women, but they represented only 33% of researchers. Just one on every ten universities in the European Union has a female rector, and 20% of researchers at the top grade of an academic career are women. Women represent only 30% of all entrepreneurs in Europe.

The EU Prize for Women Innovators Prize was launched in 2011 to give public recognition to outstanding women entrepreneurs who brought their innovative ideas to the market and to inspire other women to follow in their footsteps. The winners of the two previous editions are Saskia Biskup (Germany), Laura van 't Veer (The Netherlands), Ana Maiques (Spain), Gitte Neubauer (Germany), Fabienne Hermitte (France) and Ilaria Rosso (Italy).

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David Spichiger, SCS