European Innovation Council Horizon Prizes

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EIC Horizon Prizes offer money to those who can solve some of society's most difficult challenges, without detailing how this should be achieved or who should achieve it. These prizes are open to anyone willing to think outside the box across sectors and disciplines. The prize is awarded to whoever best meets the challenge. Currently 6 prizes have been planned:

  1. Affordable High-Tech for Humanitarian Aid
  2. Fuel from the Sun
  3. Blockchains for Social Good
  4. Low-Cost Space Launch
  5. Innovative Batteries for eVehicles
  6. Early Warning for Epidemics


For instance, launched end of last year, the EIC Horizon Prize for “Affordable High-Tech for Humanitarian Aid” awards EUR 5 million.

During the EU Industry Day, on 23 February, the European Commission will organise a “community building” workshop with humanitarian aid organisations and technologies developers. The purpose is to discuss humanitarian challenges that could be addressed through the frugal application of advanced technologies and to create a forum with different stakeholders to meet, exchange and discuss related challenges.

The challenge of this Prize consists in developing innovative cost-effective tech-based solutions for humanitarian aid based on the frugal application of advanced technologies:

· Frugal innovation is a creative approach to problem-solving which starts from the needs of beneficiaries and works from the bottom up to develop contextually appropriate cost-effective solutions. It tends to be frugal in both ends and means, i.e. relying on the recombination of existing knowledge and technologies rather than on substantial, dedicated research and development investments.

· Advanced technologies include notably nanotechnologies, advanced materials, industrial biotechnology, advanced manufacturing and processing, photonics and micro and nano-electronics.


The Prize will be allocated in five awards of EUR 1 million each for the best, proven, cost-effective tech-based solution in five distinct thematic areas:

· shelter and related assistance

· water, sanitation and hygiene

· energy

· health and medical care

· other forms of humanitarian aid ("open category")


Cooperation between international organisations and NGOs responding to crises, beneficiaries and local actors, research and scientific communities and the private sector is strongly encouraged in the context of this Prize.

The deadline to apply is 15 January 2020 and the contest is open to all legal entities from all countries.

Further information on the 'Affordable High-Tech for Humanitarian Aid' Prize, and an indicative timeline, can be found here