Fusion research encompasses innovation in the domains of physics and technology over a wide variety of specialisations. Fusion researchers are constantly challenging the scientific state-of-the-art and improving the technology thereby creating the conditions for innovation, much of which can be exploited in other science and industrial sectors for the benefit of society. A fundamental basis of Horizon 2020 is the drive and support for innovation across the product development chain from research to market. In this context the researcher plays a critical role.
The SOFT Innovation Prize is being offered to highlight and reward the excellence in innovation that can be found in fusion research as well as the quality of the researchers and industries involved. Following the successful running of this contest in coordination with SOFT 2014 and 2016 (Symposium on Fusion Technology), the European Commission is holding the contest again in coordination with the next SOFT in 2018. There are no specific categories for this prize. Contestants are free to submit an application concerning any physics or technology innovation that has been or is being developed in magnetic confinement fusion research and that has a market potential or has been taken up (or recognised) by industry to be further developed for the market.
The indicative budget for the prize is EUR 0.09 million from the 2018 budget
The specific rules of the contest will be published in 2018 by the Commission, which will directly launch and manage the contest and award the prize based on an evaluation made by independent experts.
By awarding the ‘SOFT Innovation Prize’, the Commission will showcase innovations in this research sector giving visibility to the most dynamic, forward-looking and innovative researchers, research teams or industrial contestants. This visibility will provide greater potential for valorisation of the research, and the contest will stimulate the research community globally and in the EU to develop a stronger innovation and entrepreneurial culture in fusion research.