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Research and innovation

EU Prize for Women Innovators 2016

Biographies of the winners and details of the award ceremony.


1st prize: Susana Sargento (Portugal)

Associate Professor with Habilitation at the University of Aveiro, Portugal and the Institute of Telecommunications, where she is leading the Network Architectures and Protocols group.

She co-founded a vehicular networking company, Veniam, a spin-off of the Universities of Aveiro, Porto and Instituto de Telecomunicações, which builds a seamless low-cost vehicle-based internet infrastructure. Dr. Sargento has also undertaken the roles of Vice-President of Engineering and Head of Corporate Research.

2nd prize: Sirpa Jalkanen (Finland)

Professor of Immunology who has discovered unique molecular mechanisms regulating harmful cell trafficking and demonstrated the value of these molecules as drug targets to prevent harmful inflammations and the spread of cancer.

She has co-founded two biotech companies, BioTie's and Faron Pharmaceuticals in Turku, Finland, now listed on the New York and London stock markets, and is exploring her discoveries in phase II/III clinical trials.

Finalist video

3rd prize: Sarah Bourke (Ireland)

Chief Executive Officer of Skytek Ltd in Dublin, Ireland, a company she co-founded in the late 1990s. She is a creator of several software applications that assist astronauts in controlling and managing emergency situations on board the International Space Station.

Today, Skytek is a successful, global software development company serving the world’s most complex and demanding industries. Dr. Bourke is a doctoral graduate of Trinity College Dublin.


The award ceremony

The four winners of the 2017 EU Prize for Women Innovators were announced at a ceremony in the European Parliament in Brussels on 8 March, International Women's Day.

The winners received their prizes from Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, and Mairead McGuinness, Vice-President of the European Parliament.