EURYI to showcase the future of European science in Prague

From biofuel cells to voice recognition enhancement: EURYI to showcase the future of European science in Prague

The brightest and most creative minds from the European research scene will come together on one night in Prague to receive recognition for their pioneering works ranging from voice recognition applications to the world's smallest in vivo biofuel cell.

On 13th October, at the 3rd European Young Investigator Award (EURYI) Ceremony, twenty-five young researchers from all over Europe will meet in the Czech Republic to receive a diploma and a guarantee of project funding of as much as €1.25 million for their research ideas which have the potential to have a significant impact on our everyday lives. The prize money will allow them to build their own teams for turning their scientific potential into reality.

EURYI, which is coordinated by the European Science Foundation (ESF) on behalf of the European Heads of Research Councils (EuroHORCS), is awarding these young researchers prizes of between €897,500 and €1,250,000, comparable in size to the Nobel Prize. The youngest researcher of the group is 30 years of age.

"The EURYI award has been instrumental in encouraging and nurturing young researchers to push forward the frontiers of European science since its inception in 2003," said Professor Bertil Andersson, Chief Executive of the European Science Foundation. "Cultivating and promoting ground-breaking scientific discoveries in Europe have always been the goals for the ESF and EURYI has fittingly become the perfect vehicle for us to realise them. Previous recipients of the awards have gone on to do remarkable things in their respective fields."

The First Call of the scheme was launched in September 2003, and resulted in 25 awards being made in July 2004. A further 25 awards were made in 2005 after the Second Call. The Fourth call of EURYI is currently accepting applications. (with internet link )

The list of this year's awardees includes researchers who will be based in 11 countries – Denmark (2), Finland (1), France (5), Germany (4), Greece (1), Hungary (1), Italy (2), the Netherlands (5), Spain (1), Sweden (2) and Switzerland (1). A number of these researchers are moving from the USA to take up their awards.

One of the 2006 award winners is Mirjam Ernestus from The Netherlands, who is a prime example of the bridge to the future of European science.

Her EURYI-winning research work is set to develop computational psycholinguistic models of speech production and comprehension that account for the pronunciation variation in spontaneous conversational speech. According to Ernestus one of the possible outcomes of the project could lead to the improvement of speech recognition software.

"We are looking to establish a system that takes into account the characteristics of the language, of the word involved, and of context of that word – both the surrounding sentence as well as the topic of conversation in order to improve predictability , " said Ernestus.

Dr. Ernestus, 37, gained her BA and MA in General linguistics, cum laude, from the Free University Amsterdam, and has since pursued her postdoctorate studies at the Max Planck Institute for Psyholinguistics in Nijmegen, where she has extensive experience in PhD supervision.

Also joining her at the event is 32 year-old Dr Nicolas Mano from France who is currently a Research Associate at the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Texas in Austin. The EURYI award will bring him back to France, to carry out his latest research at the Centre de Recherche Paul Pascal (CRPP) in Pessac on a miniature membrane-less biofuel cell operating under physiological conditions.

Mano said his project could result in the smallest biofuel cell ever built. It will operate sub-cutaneously (beneath the skin) and will harness the body's own innate chemical energy (ie. an in-vivo source of power) with a footprint and volume compatible with those of the smallest implanted biosensor-transmitter systems. The idea behind his research is the glucose-O2 biofuel cell would power a wireless, autonomous, low cost ($3), weekly user-replaced, subcutaneously implanted, miniature, continuous glucose monitor for diabetes management. It could also serve as power for other miniature devices located beneath the skin such as a thermocouple/transmitter system for local post-surgical temperature monitor, alerting any infection of the operated site; or a local flow transmitter, indicative of blockage of a duct, such as the bile duct.

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The EURYI Awards are offered by 20 European national research organisations in an open competition with no "juste retour". Candidates are selected on the basis of their future potential and their academic and research excellence. Competition has been intense, with 457 applications received for this year. Candidates are selected by a two-stage process, firstly at the national level by the relevant Participating Organisation and secondly at the international level by highest-level scientific panels managed by the ESF. ESF's role in the coordination and selection processes of EURYI is supported by funds from the European Commission's Framework Programme 6.

All 25 of the 2006 EURYI Awardees will be presented with their diploma by the Nobel Laureate Torsten Wiesel at the special ceremony and they will receive their project funding in late 2006 or early 2007.

For registration details for the event please go to http://www.euryiprague.cz/Ceremony.php


Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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