The Amsterdam Science & Innovation Award (AmSIA) is the competition for research-based innovative ideas and impactful innovations hosted by the Innovation Exchange Amsterdam (IXA).
On Tuesday, November 21, the 16th edition of the Amsterdam Science & Innovation Awards took place at the NEMO Science Museum, honouring exceptional contributions to science and technology.
Zeliha Guler, Pepijn van Rutten, and Olivier Lugier emerged as winners, each receiving a €10,000 prize to develop their groundbreaking ideas for market implementation further.
Following live pitches from the nine finalists, the jury assessed the ideas’ innovativeness, potential societal impact, and viability for commercial development.
Below are brief descriptions of the winners of Amsterdam Science & Innovation Award:
- Zeliha Guler (Amsterdam UMC in the Health category) received recognition for her revolutionary dissolvable implant designed to enhance the treatment of pelvic floor prolapse.
- Pepijn van Rutten (VU in the Society category) secured the award for Respira, the world’s first sensitive and reliable breath sensor for detecting nitrous oxide.
- Olivier Lugier (UvA in the Environment & Climate category) received the award for Nano Hybrids, a more sustainable technology for producing nanoparticles. These minuscule materials have the potential to revolutionise areas with significant social impact, such as sustainable energy, and Lugier’s innovation ensures a more environmentally friendly production process.
Jury chairman Ruben Brave, a tech entrepreneur and investor, says, “A lot of attention was paid to the added value for society. The commercial awareness of the participants was also striking; a product must ultimately be brought to market.”
In addition to the Innovation Awards, the ceremony honoured three scientists with Impact Awards for their longstanding contributions to society.
- Guus van Dongen (Amsterdam UMC in the Health category) was recognised for developing new imaging techniques that visualise the behaviour of medicines in the body. His work addresses the ambiguity surrounding the effects of medicines on the human body, and he played a pivotal role in establishing the Amsterdam UMC Imaging Center.
- Dick den Hertog (UvA in the Society category) was acknowledged for demonstrating how mathematical optimisation can offer solutions to a diverse array of social problems. From dike heights to food distribution (in collaboration with the World Food Program) and The Ocean Cleanup, den Hertog’s work has far-reaching implications. He is also the founder of the Analytics for a Better World Institute, ensuring that research results are effectively utilised for real-world impact.
- Toby Kiers (VU in the Environment & Climate category) received the award for her research on the role of fungi in underground ecosystems. These fungi are crucial in mitigating global warming by sequestering carbon in their networks. Through the Society for the Protection of Underground Networks (SPUN), Kiers encourages researchers worldwide to explore and understand underground ecosystems, promoting a collaborative approach to environmental sustainability.
Amsterdam Science & Innovation Award: What you need to know
The AmSIA consists of two awards — the Innovation Award and the Impact Award.
The Innovation Award is awarded to the best innovative ideas that contribute to a better world.
The Impact Award is a lifetime achievement award for Amsterdam researchers who have created a meaningful impact on society with their innovations.
The AmSIA aims to stimulate researchers, staff, and students to generate ideas with practical applications based on research at Amsterdam universities, universities of applied sciences, academic medical centres, and public research centres.
The Amsterdam Science & Innovation Award is organised by Innovation Exchange Amsterdam (IXA), the valorisation centre of Amsterdam UMC, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU), the University of Amsterdam (UvA), and Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (HvA).