Following the brilliant and passionate opening address by Anni SINNEMÄKI, the Finnish Minister of Labour, many experts (and above all female ones) from public bodies and private organizations from all over Europe took turn, covering a wide range of issues including: intellectual property rights and patenting, technology transfer, open innovation, venture capital, networking, the new challenges of scientific research, as well as those of advanced training and lifelong learning.
In parallel with the conference programme, an international panel was in charge of evaluating the projects presented by European women inventors and innovators which, after a pre-screening phase, had been selected to participate in the EUWIIN Awards final. The first prize was awarded to the Finnish Eija Pessinen for her “Relaxbirth”, a revolutionary childbirth bed, already adopted by several hospitals, appreciated by judges for both its revolutionary design and 'human value'.
However, they were the Italian, along with the Icelandic, women to get most awarded among all the participating teams, as from them altogether not only good ideas emerged but also important projects: in fact, the group of Italian women inventors and innovators had been widely acknowledged for both the quality and the degree of innovation of their submitted projects. Alessandra Luchini – who already had received “The Premio” in the recent ITWIIN National competition – has been awarded for her Hydrogel Nanoparticles (to early detect certain serious diseases), Emanuela Ughi for her “Bhaskara” (an innovative system to teach Mathematics), Roberta Martinetti for a new device for bone tissue reconstruction, and Daniela Rader for her Energy Saving Centre. The Special Award for innovation in Science Information and Communication has been given to Elisabetta Durante for the “DISTI” (District of Scientific and Technological Information for Innovation) project.
Rita Assogna from the European Patent Office of Munich, and President of ITWIIN, has commented the winning performance of Italian women: “Although in Helsinki the competition was large and fierce, the result did not surprise me. The work of the Italian candidates has overturned, to the eyes of all the participants, the cliché of a 'Mediterranean' country with a scarse innovation culture”.