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Research and innovation
News article17 September 2022LeidenDirectorate-General for Research and Innovation

1st EU TalentOn: discover all the winners!

Today, the winning teams of the first-ever edition of EU TalentOn were announced during the EU TalentOn award ceremony in Leiden’s Stadsgehoorzaal, following a four-day competition among 104 young researchers aged 21 to 35. The participants competed in teams of four to come up with the best scientific solutions to societal challenges problems linked to the five EU Missions – Climate change, Cancer, Ocean, Cities and Soil.

The first prize winning teams that receive EUR 8000 each are:

  • For Adaptation to Climate Change Mission: Rootcampers formed by Efe Cengiz, Elisabeth Kerr, Luis Alejandro Moll Dos Santos, Misha Gipsman.
  • For Cancer Mission: Bright Ribbons formed by Bibiana Cristina Barrera Bernal, Celine Everaert, Kiira Sarasjärvi, Marie Chion.
  • For Climate-neutral and Smart Cities Mission: Circulizers formed by Buliash Todaeva, Julius Jandl, Marco Caliari, Natalia Agudelo Gaviria.
  • For Restore our Oceans & Waters Mission: Coastbusters formed by Emelie Lundqvist, Jacqueline Ashkin, Steve Simmonds, Soulaine Theocharid.
  • For Soil Deal for Europe Mission: Soilfix formed by Alexandros Tataridas, José Luis Álvarez Escontrela, Martine Ballinger, Roberta Gatta.

The Grand Prize of EUR 8000 for the best overall project goes to:

  • Soilfix formed by Alexandros Tataridas, José Luis Álvarez Escontrela, Martine Ballinger, Roberta Gatta for the Mission Arena 05: A Soil Deal for Europe  .

Second and third prizes were also awarded for each Mission Arena, with the exception of the Soil Deal for Europe Mission, which only had a second prize.

Detailed list of all winners

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said:

Congratulations to all the winning teams of the first EU TalentOn on their impressive projects. Even though the challenges we are facing are considerable, I believe that the contribution of these young research talents will shape not only the future of science, but also the prosperity of the European Union as a whole. For the first time of many, EU TalentOn celebrates our bright young minds’ ideas on the five EU Missions and how to offer concrete solutions to our most salient issues. I am proud of our youth’s inspiring work.

The 104 participants, divided in 26 groups of four, pitched their projects based on the five EU Missions to an international jury. The winners received their awards from Anna Panagopoulou, Director of the European Research Area and Innovation at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Research and Innovation. The winning projects shared a total of EUR 80 500 in prize money, including a first prize per Mission Arena and one overall prize.

The recovery from the pandemic and the green and digital transitions have further increased the need for science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills in Europe. The contest seeks to supporting young researchers in pursuing a career in science and in developing projects based on the five EU Missions. 


The EU TalentOn is a new bi-annual event that challenges young talented researchers to find solutions to help solve the most pressing global issues. It directly contributes to the actions set out in the ERA Policy Agenda. Specifically, the contest helps bring science closer to citizens by inviting them to co-create solutions for our most pressing challenges. It provides a platform on which everyone wanting to share science, knowledge, art, and skills can participate, thus establishing new connections between science and society in innovative, open, playful, and sincere ways. It is supported by the Horizon Europe Work Programme, "Widening participation and strengthening the European Research Area".

Female representation – both in the applicants and in the selected participants, was higher than the male’s one, with 65% of the applicants and selected participants identifying as women. The next EU TalentOn will take place in 2024 in Katowice, the 2024 European capital of sciences. 

More information

EU TalentOn website

Event page


Press contact:

EC Spokesperson for Research, Science and Innovation


Publication date
17 September 2022
Directorate-General for Research and Innovation