Akara’s Niamh Donnelly and Beats Medical’s Ciara Clancy are among the 14 finalists in the European Innovation Council competition.
Two Irish entrepreneurs are in the running for top EU innovation awards.
Niamh Donnelly of Akara Robotics and Dr Ciara Clancy of Beats Medical are among 14 finalists from across Europe who have been shortlisted for this year’s EU Women Innovators Award.
Funded by the European Innovation Council under Horizon Europe, the EU’s research and innovation programme, the awards aim to celebrate the women behind ground-breaking innovations.
Three prizes worth €100,000 each will be awarded to the best innovators, while three prizes worth €50,000 will go to promising emerging innovators under the age of 35.
Clancy, who is founder and CEO of Beats Medical, is one of eight finalists in the Women Innovators category.
He trained as a physical therapist, but moved into medical technology a decade ago when he started Beats Medical. His company is developing technology to help people with Parkinson’s disease assess and manage their mobility symptoms.
Clancy has been recognized for her innovations before, being named a laureate of the Cartier Women’s Initiative in 2015 and Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur in 2017
Donnelly is co-founder and director of robotics at Dublin-based Akara. She is one of the six finalists in the rising innovators category, which recognizes entrepreneurs under the age of 35.
Spin-out Trinity has focused on developing AI and robots for the healthcare sector, making a mark with social care robot Stevie and disinfection robot Violet.
Donnelly has a key role to play when it comes to the technology and AI behind these robots, which are being tested in Ireland and beyond.
“Good for growth, good for people”
The EU Prize for Women Innovators was first launched in 2011. Over the past decade, more than 30 women scientists and entrepreneurs have been awarded and another 100 women have been shortlisted.
Last year, a third of the entrepreneurs nominated for the final were from Ireland. In the end, Irish sisters Ailbhe and Izzy Keane, the founders of Izzy Wheels, took home the title of Rising Innovator and a prize of €50,000.
“Supporting women entrepreneurs in Europe is good for growth, it’s good for people and it’s good for our planet,” said Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation and Research.
“This year’s finalists are ground-breaking innovations that could help revolutionize healthcare, develop more human-centered artificial intelligence and contribute to a more sustainable future.
Along with Clancy, the category of innovative women this year has finalists from Spain, Portugal, France, Germany and Slovakia. Its innovations include medical technology, healthcare, waste recycling, e-bike trailers and immersive communications.
The growing category of innovators is recognizing a range of social enterprises and AI innovations. Donnelly is joined by finalists from Germany, Poland, Bulgaria, France and Portugal.
The winners of the EU Prize for Innovative Women 2022 will be announced at the Summit of the European Innovation Council, which will take place in Brussels on December 7 and 8.
10 things you need to know straight to your inbox every day of the week. Sign up for the Brief diarySilicon Republic’s roundup of essential science and technology news.