The winners of the 2019 EU Prize for Women Innovators were announced in Paris last week. Backed by Horizon 2020, the EU research and innovation programme, pioneers in the field of biotech made the greatest impact this year.

Three female innovators were awarded €100k, with €50k going to the ‘Rising Innovator’. Irina Borodina (Lithuania), the co-founder and CTO of biotech, BioPhero, a company which produces ‘pheromones as a safe, affordable and effective alternative to pesticides’ was one of the three €100k winners; along with Martine Caroff (France), founder of two biotech companies: LPS-BioSciences which ‘specialises in bacterial endotoxins for vaccines, in vitro diagnostics, cosmetics as well as medical devices and HEPHAISTOS-Pharma which develops immunotherapy for oncology’; and Shimrit Perkol-Finkel (Israel), co-founder and CEO of ECOncrete Tech, which ‘provides environmentally sensitive concrete products on which life can grow thereby enhancing the biological and ecological value of urban, coastal, and marine infrastructures’. While the Rising Innovator title went to Michela Puddu (Italy), ‘co-founder and CEO of Haelixa, a company that uses intelligent DNA-based tracing solutions to ensure ethical and transparent business practices, with special focus on sustainable products such as organic cotton’.

“I hope that with this prize, our winners will go on to inspire many other women to create innovative businesses,” said European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas.

Irina Borodina


Martine Caroff


Shimrit Perkol-Finkel


Michela Puddu