An award for ground-breaking, impactful ideas

Every year, the Amsterdam Science & Innovation Award recognises ground-breaking ideas with a major societal and/or commercial impact. The coveted award is open to researchers, students and staff across all universities, public research centres, universities of applied sciences and academic hospitals in Amsterdam.

This year’s competition, which took place on 19 June 2018, marked the 13th edition of the award. It also introduced an Impact Award for established researchers who already have an established track record with creating impact. There was also a High Potential Award for up-and-coming researchers.

The 2018 winners

As always, the entrants’ ideas were at the forefront of innovation, so the jury had their work cut out for them. But in the end, Wouter Potters and Jonathan Coutinho (Amsterdam Neuroscience of Amsterdam UMC) received the main award, for their pioneering work on EEG controlled triage for acute ischemic stroke in ambulances.

Their mobile scanner enables paramedics in ambulances to evaluate the seriousness of a stroke, meaning the appropriate action can be taken faster and more efficiently. This tech has some promising implications, as the faster a stroke is diagnosed, the better the outcome for the patient.

“Not only is the idea scientifically unique and creative – it also has high social impact with great opportunities for valorisation,” says Barbara Baarsma, chair of the jury. “And it’s economically relevant in a broader sense: longer life expectancy is good for the economy.”

This year’s entrants were so inspiring that one Impact Award wasn’t enough – two were awarded: one to Marcel van Herk (Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI)) for his contribution to the development of image-based radiation therapy; and one to Erik Scherder (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) for on making knowledge about the brain more accessible to wider audiences.

IXA Innovation Science and Innovation Award in Amsterdam 2018

This year’s High Potential Award went to André Baart (VU University Amsterdam) for his Kasadaka project, which develops apps for low-spec telephones in developing countries. Not everybody in these countries is literate, so Kasadaka’s apps feature voice-activated controls.

Needless to say, these innovations are invaluable to life sciences, health, tech and beyond. 

Find out more about life sciences and health in Amsterdam.