EIC EU Prize for Women Innovators

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European Commission
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First held in 2011, the European Commission's EU Prize for Women Innovators is held to reward women who have brought outstanding innovations to market.

While the opportunities created by novel technologies and disruptive innovations have the potential to achieve fair and sustainable recovery throughout Europe, the continent risks missing out on these opportunities if women are overlooked as a source of innovation and creative talent

This contest was established to address this imbalance, and offers three prizes to women who have made significant impact on the innovation ecosystem by transforming ideas into new and advanced products and/or services for the benefit and wealth of European citizens. A single fourth prize will also be made to an exceptional entrepreneur aged 35 or younger in a 'rising innovator' category.

The Prize honours and gives recognition to female entrepreneurs running innovative companies, and aims to provide inspiration to the next generation of women innovators and to raise awareness of entrepreneurship as an option for women researchers.


Candidates must be women who have founded or co-founded their company, which must have been registered at least two years before the application deadline. The contestant can be of any nationality but must reside in an EU Member State or a country associated to Horizon Europe.

Two or more female co-founders of a single company may submit a joint application. In this case, the participants must appoint a 'lead participant' to represent them towards the Commission. The participants will be jointly responsible and must all fulfil and respect the conditions set out in these Rules of Contest.

Winners of the Rising Innovator award must be aged 35 or under. Note that applicants eligible for both categories may only apply to one.

Finalists who did not win the prize in previous years are eligible to apply again.


Three awards of €100,000 each will be made for the winners. The Rising Innovator Prize is worth €50,000.

These awards will be made as a single payment via bank transfer after the awards ceremony.

Previous Successes:

The winners of the 2021 EU Prize for Women Innovators were:

  • Merel Boers (Netherlands), co-founder and CEO of NICO-LAB, a company offering cutting-edge technology to help physicians improve emergency care.
  • Mathilde Jakobsen (Denmark), co-founder and CEO of Fresh.Land, a digital platform that shortens and digitizes the food supply chain, providing easy access to good quality food.
  • Daphne Haim Langford (Israel), founder and CEO of Tarsier Pharma, a company developing disruptive medical solutions for the treatment and cure of autoimmune and inflammatory ocular diseases.
  • Rising Innovator category: Ailbhe and Isabel Keane (Ireland), sisters and founders of Izzy Wheels. Their company creates fashionable wheel covers for wheelchairs.

The winners of the 2020 EU Prize for Women Innovators were:

  • Madiha Derouazi (Switzerland), founder and CEO of Amal Therapeutics, a company developing therapeutic cancer vaccines.
  • Maria Fátima Lucas (Portugal), co-founder and CEO of Zymvol Biomodeling, a company developing computer-designed industrial enzymes by applying molecular modelling.
  • Arancha Martínez (Spain), co-founder and Managing Director of It Will Be. Her company helps tackle poverty through technological innovation, providing support to vulnerable women and children.
  • Rising Innovator: Josefien Groot (Netherlands), co-founder and CEO of Qlayers. Her company is developing microstructures to boost the efficiency of wind turbines.

The winners of the 2019 EU Prize for Women Innovators were:

  • Irina Borodina (Lithuania), co-founder and CTO of BioPhero, a biotech company in Denmark producing pheromones as a safe and effective alternative to pesticides.
  • Martine Caroff (France), founder and CSO of two biotechnological companies: LPS-BioSciences, which specialises in bacterial endotoxins for vaccines, in vitro diagnostic, cosmetics, and medical devices; and HEPHAISTOS-Pharma which develops immunotherapy for oncology.
  • Shimrit Perkol-Finkel (Israel), co-founder and CEO of ECOncrete Tech, a company offering high-performance and environmentally sensitive solutions that enhance the biological and ecological value of urban, coastal, and marine infrastructures.
  • Rising Innovator: Michela Puddu (Italy), co-founder and CEO of Haelixa in Switzerland. The company uses intelligent DNA-based tracing solutions to ensure ethical and transparent industry practices, with special focus on sustainable products such as organic cotton.

Further information on the prize winners is available from the Prize website.


Applications for the 2022 round should be submitted via the Funding and Tenders Portal by the 18 August 2022 deadline. Participants must support their application with an inspiring video message lasting up to 90 seconds.

An independent panel of judges from business and academia will select the best applicants, who will be invited to a hearing to decide the winners.

In case of interest, please contact frecerca.internacional@sjd.es