European Commission launches 3 million Euros (Â£2.15 million) prize fund to encourage development of â€œinnovative” material to cut urban air pollution
The European Commission has launched a 3 million Euros (Â£2.15 million) prize-fund to encourage the development of â€œinnovative and well-designedâ€ technology to reduce air pollution in urban areas.
According to the Commission, the â€˜Horizon Prize on materials for clean airâ€™ will be awarded to the person or team which develops the â€œmost affordable, sustainable and innovative design-driven material solution that can reduce the concentration of particulate matter (PM) in urban areasâ€.
The material can be made from any chemical substance (such as plastic, concrete, asphalt) and must be capable of reducing PM concentrations.
PM has the â€œmost severe impact on healthâ€, according to the Commission, with around 90% of the population of European cities for which PM data exists exposed to levels exceeding World Health Organisation guidelines.
Average life expectancy in the EU is also estimated to be 8.6 months lower due to exposure to PM resulting from human activities, and the pollutant can also impact on climate change and ecosystems.
The competition is designed to stimulate innovation and is open to established scientists â€œas well as other innovatorsâ€. It leaves applicants total freedom to â€œcome up with the most promising and effective solutionâ€.
Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: â€œPoor air quality is a major problem for health and the environment. Air pollutants kill half a million Europeans every year. Under Horizon 2020, we are continuing to invest in key enabling technologies, such as advanced materials, to reduce particulate matter in the air for the benefit of everyone.â€
The competition will run until the end of 2018, with contestants able to submit their entries from January 26 2017 until January 23 2018.
Once the contest is closed, a â€˜high-levelâ€™ jury will evaluate all eligible entries against the following award criteria:
The Commission said that more detailed information on the competition criteria â€œwill be published soonâ€.