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EC launches €3m prize to improve air quality in cities

17 April 2015

The European Commission announces €3m prize to be awarded to the person or team that develops the best material to reduce airborne particulates in urban areas.

Image: Shutterstock

The aim is to improve air quality in cities and reduce the serious health risks posed by particulate matter (PM), the air pollutant which has the most severe impact on health.

The Horizon Prize on materials for clean air aims to stimulate innovative thinking to find a material-based solution to the problem. The material can be made from any chemical substance (plastic, concrete, asphalt and so on) capable or reducing PM concentration in the air (for example, by capturing it).

"Poor air quality is a major problem for health and the environment," says Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation. "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."

The prize is open to established scientists as well as other innovators. It leaves applicants total freedom to come up with the most promising and effective solution. The award criteria just require the solution to be affordable, sustainable, innovative and well-designed.

The rules of contest are available online. Contestants will be able to submit their entries from 26 January 2017 until 23 January 2018.

An infographic is available to view here.

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