November 18, 2021

Amsterdam Science & Innovation Awards 2021 winners

For the 15th time, the annual Innovation Awards were presented in NEMO Amsterdam, by IXA. IXA is the expert interface between Amsterdam-based universities, therefore, the University of Amsterdam, which is located at Amsterdam Science Park, is also part of this. These IXA Awards celebrate innovative ideas for improving societies of young scientists. Amongst the finalists of the fifteenth award, was Arnon Lesage from the University of Amsterdam.

Sustainable solutions from the park

Arnon Lesage received the prize in the category Environment & Climate for SolarFoil: a new type of nano foil that converts sunlight into optimal light for more efficient agriculture and horticulture. SolarFoil works on developing a transparant layer which is able to manipulate sunlight in order to optimize it for agriculture. Sunlight can be very useful, but also contains UV, which can cause harm, and green light which is not being used efficiently yet.

The new technologies of SolarFoil makes sure that the sunlight is modified and that results in a more optimized light spectrum which again results in an increase of 10-20% growing speed when it comes to crop yields. This company and research fit Amsterdam Science Park’s focus area of sustainability, in which we are preparing for a sustainable future with a cross-section of research and industry

Other successes

Tom Brouwer (Amsterdam UMC), Arnon Lesage (UvA) and Desi Bootsman (AUAS) will each receive 10,000 euros to further develop their idea and bring it to market.

Tom Brouwer won in the category Health with Flowsure, an automated urine production monitor that indicates real-time how much a patient urinates, a vital indicator of the patient’s condition.

In the category Society, the award went to Desi Bootsman (AUAS) for Mazehunter, a game with which children with dyslexia learn by playing.

The jury

The jury of the fifteenth edition of the Innovation Awards was chaired by Gigi Wang, an entrepreneurial specialist and affiliated with Berkeley University. She also had a call for the young scientists: ‘To make your idea profitable, it is also very important to think carefully about the innovation of your business model. How do you bring it to market?’

Impact awards

An Impact Award was presented to three leading scientists for their many years of meaningful contribution to society.

Halleh Ghorashi (VU) conducts research on refugees and diversity. She mainly focuses on the stories of refugees and migrants, because: ‘Policy is often based on numbers, but that doesn’t get you close to the world of the people you make policy for.’
Jeroen Kluck (Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences) conducts research into climate adaptation in cities. ‘Guidelines for climate resilience have been developed on the basis of my research. We need to move to cities that are liveable and healthy all year round, with a focus on biodiversity.’
Hergen Spits (UvA and Amsterdam UMC) conducts scientific research into B cells. These are the cells in the human body that produce antibodies, which can be used to fight the RS virus in children, for example. ‘The great thing is that B cell research can also be applied to other viral infections, such as flu, and even cancer.’

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