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Research and innovation

EU Prize for Women Innovators 2019

Biographies of finalists of the 2019 competition.

Awards Ceremony

Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas announced at the VivaTech conference in Paris the four winners of the 2019 EU Prize for Women Innovators. The prize is funded under Horizon 2020, the EU research and innovation programme. Congratulations to these successful entrepreneurs.

2019 EU Prize for Women Innovators: Commission awards four outstanding entrepreneurs



Irina Borodina (Lithuania), co-founder and CTO of BioPhero, a biotech company in Denmark producing pheromones as a safe and effective alternative to pesticides.

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Martine Caroff (France), founder and CSO of two biotechnological companies: LPS-BioSciences, which specialises in bacterial endotoxins for vaccines, in vitro diagnostic, cosmetics, and medical devices; and HEPHAISTOS-Pharma  which develops immunotherapy for oncology.

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Shimrit Perkol-Finkel (Israel), co-founder and CEO of ECOncrete Tech, a company offering high-performance and environmentally sensitive solutions that enhance the biological and ecological value of urban, coastal, and marine infrastructures.

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Rising Innovator: Michela Puddu (Italy), co-founder and CEO of Haelixa in Switzerland. The company uses intelligent DNA-based tracing solutions to ensure ethical and transparent industry practices, with special focus on sustainable products such as organic cotton.

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Other finalists

The nine finalists for the 2019 competition are:


Özge Akbulut (Turkey), co-founder and CEO of Surgitate, a company designing and producing tissue and organ models with realistic responses to surgical interventions. Their flagship product, a breast model, is used for breast surgery training on three continents.


Nuria Espallargas (Spain), co-founder of Seram Coatings in Norway, and co-inventor of ThermaSiC, one of the world’s hardest synthetic materials. It is used as a thermal coating spray with superior performance that increases product lifetime and reduces maintenance costs.


Jalila Essaïdi (The Netherlands), founder and CEO of a biotech company Inspidere BV. Her multiple patented innovations for producing manure-derived bioplastics and fibres turn the acute agricultural problem of excess manure into a sustainable local resource.


Cécile Real (France), co-founder and CEO of Endodiag. The company has shortened the duration of diagnosis of endometriosis, a disease that causes unbearable pain and infertility and affects 180 million women worldwide, from several years to a few days.


Melanie Rieback (USA), co-founder and CEO of Radically Open Security in the Netherlands, the world’s first non-profit computer security consultancy. They focus upon openness and transparency in security testing, and their novel business model is a prototype of post-growth entrepreneurship.


Nargis Rahimi (Sweden), co-founder and Director of Partnerships and Communications of the Shifo Foundation. Her team develops radically affordable and scalable solutions to some of the root causes of high maternal and child mortality, such as critical health workforce shortage and the lack of sustainable electronic health information systems.


Carol Robinson (United Kingdom), the co-founder and Scientific Advisor of the drug discovery company OMass Therapeutics.
They develop medicines for rare diseases by using patented high-resolution mass spectrometry technologies.


Teresa Baumann (Germany), co-founder and COO of GoSilico, a software company using computer simulation to make the development of new drugs faster and cheaper.


Nora Nseir Manassa (Israel), the co-founder and CTO of Nurami Medical, a company developing novel nanofiber and sealant technology to revolutionise surgical tissue grafts.