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Descartes research Prize for excellence in scientific collaborative Research

Dec 07, 2005

"Descartes prizes" is an initiative of the Research Directorate-General of the European Union. The prizes were established in 2000, as part of the "Science and Society" programme and they constitute the ultimate distinction bestowed by the European Commission in recognition of scientific excellence. The assessment of scientific papers is done according to the following criteria:

  1. scientific excellence as far as the quality and originality of attained results is concerned as well as contribution in crucial scientific and technological questions.
  2. the European added value of research, i.e. the quality of international cooperation of the team members, the association of their results with the European Union's guidelines and the applicability of research goals on European framework.

For this year's prizes, 84 papers were submitted by various scientific teams, whose members come form a total of 22 countries (Europe, USA, Japan, South Africa, Russia and Singapore). Responsible for the selection of the awardees was a committee made up of personalities representing science and industry from all over Europe, presided by the vice president of the Estonian Academy of Sciences, Dr. Ene Ergma. The 14 short-listed papers were announced on July 13, signaling a period of anticipation, the final phase of selection. Finally, the committee announced five primary and five secondary research prizes.

One of the five primary prizes was awarded to the EXEL program (Extending Electromagnetism through Novel Artificial Materials), coordinated by Greek scientists from the Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas (FORTH). EXEL involves the development of artificial meta-materials (known as "left-handed" materials), that refract light in the opposite direction to what was so far known to occur in nature. Researchers from the University of Bilkent (Turkey), Imperial College (G. Britain), Karlsruhe University (Germany) and Duke University (USA) also participated in the program.

The awarding ceremony took place in the Royal Academy of London on December 2, 2005. The Descartes prize for EXEL was received by FORTH researcher professor Costas Soukoulis, the coordinator of the programme.

For more information please contact with:
Professor Costas Soukoulis
Researcher at the Institute of Electronic Structure and Laser at FORTH
Τel.: +30 2810 391380 or  +30 2810 391303
E-mail: soukouli@iesl.forth.gr