London, UK A UK-lead project has come out top of the competition for the €1million EU Descartes research prize which had 230 entries. A consortium, led by Prof. Richard Friend of the University of Cambridge won €700 000 for work done in association with researchers from Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands, Sweden, and the UK, aimed at developing the technology to replace deposited glass- or silicon-backed displays with flexible plastic substrates, allowing for cheaper processing.
Polymeric light-emitting diodes (PLEDs) are being developed for use in light and image display screens and could be used in a new range of innovative applications such as pliable TV and computer screens and switch-on wallpaper.
The PLED project was co-ordinated by Prof. Richard Friend in association with researchers from Cambridge Display Technology in the UK, Materia Nova in Mons (Belgium), Linköping University (Sweden), Philips Electronics in Eindhoven and Covion Organic Semiconductors in Frankfurt am Main (Germany).
Prize-winners were selected from a shortlist of eight high-level finalists chosen from among the 230 research teams and 900 scientists that entered competition. Their work emphasises the crucial role played by European R&D in key science and technology fields ranging from information and computer sciences, geophysics, and life sciences, to engineering, molecular chemistry and materials engineering. The prizes were presented by EU Research Commissioner, Philippe Busqui in the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei in Rome.
A second award of €300 000 was presented to a project which considerably improves the efficiency of positioning and navigation systems. The work was to overcome the difficulties caused by variations in the earth's rotation axis, with a new model which improves the accuracy of global positioning and navigation systems from 2 metres to within only 2 to 3 centimetres
Led by Prof. Veronique Dehant of the Royal Observatory of Belgium, in association with researchers from France, Poland, Spain, Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, the Ukraine and Russia, this project will have applications for European and international satellite systems, such as Galileo. It will also contribute to improving the efficiency of travel and personal security, and increase the reliability of geophysical measurements.
The Descartes Prize for outstanding scientific and technological achievements resulting from European collaborative research in named in honour of one of Europe's greatest figures of learning René Descartes: mathematician, natural scientist, and philosopher. The prize is open to all fields of scientific endeavour and is designed to highlight the benefits of working together and the importance of the results achieved.