Innovation Awards 21-22 winners honored

At the invitation of the University of Montpellier and its partners in the I-SITE excellence program, players in the innovation ecosystem gathered at the Village des Sciences on Tuesday October 18 for the3rd Innovation Afterwork. Five researchers involved in innovation initiatives opening up new economic, technological or societal avenues for new uses were honored with the Prix de l'Innovation 2021-2022.

Before awarding the prizes, Philippe Augé, President of the UM, and Philippe Combette, Vice-President in charge of partnerships and innovation, announced the forthcoming launch of a3rd campaign to support the establishment of new partnerships. These partnerships include the arrival of new employees from companies or those with business start-up projects in research facilities, through the Companies on campus program. To be continued.

The jury, chaired by Franck Molina, Director of SyS2Diag and winner of the 2020 Innovation Award, selected one entry for each of the 5 research clusters. Of the 24 entries, only the most remarkable in terms of impact, innovation and recentness were selected. The winners were awarded a personal prize of 3,000 euros by Philippe Combette and Magali Roubieu, Director of Structuring Projects at UM. Xavier Garric, teacher-researcher and 2019 Innovation Award winner, shared his successful experience as co-founder and scientific advisor of WOMED, a company specializing in the treatment of female infertility.

The five 2021 Innovation Awards are :

Biology-Health Division

Alain THIERRY, Inserm researcher (UMR IRCM - Institut de Research en Cancérologie de Montpellier)

Alain Thierry is currently Inserm Research Director at the IRCM and heads the "Biomarkers for Precision Medicine in Oncology" team. 15 years ago, he began fundamental work on circulating DNA, which rapidly revealed a strong potential for clinical applications and innovation. Today, this work enables us to determine the choice of treatment, detect residual disease after surgery, monitor recurrence and detect resistance to treatment. Alain Thierry's team is considered to be one of the best in the world in this field.

Social Sciences Division

Sophie SPRING, Lecturer at the University of Montpellier (UMR MRM - Montpellier Research en Management)

Sophie Spring has designed a serious game dedicated to raising awareness of the challenges of social and environmental responsibility (SER) among entrepreneurs. Incubagame is a free game, open to all, downloadable to computer, phone or tablet. Game experiences are unlimited and offer access to simple, ergonomic teaching resources. The aim of the game is to discover the key issues involved in setting up a business (matching the project to the creator, market positioning of the offer, legal and financial set-up), including parameters linked to taking CSR dimensions into account right from the project development phase.

Mathematics, Computer Science, Physics and Systems Division

Vincent CREUZE, Lecturer at the University of Montpellier (UMR LIRMM - Montpellier Laboratory of Computer Science, Robotics and Microelectronics)

Vincent Creuze's work focuses on the "small" underwater robots weighing less than 100 kg designed at LIRMM. These innovations are now in daily use by French archaeologists, at depths of up to 2,500 meters, both for scientific missions to study and preserve heritage, and for missions of public interest. Vincent Creuze has been working since 2014 in collaboration with the French Ministry of Culture, Département des Recherches Archéologiques Subaquatiques et Sous-Marines. Thanks to these innovations, France is currently the first country to operate robots specialized in underwater archaeology on a daily basis. France's expertise in deep-sea archaeology is recognized worldwide by archaeologists and scientists, and receives extensive media coverage.

Agronomy - Environment - Biodiversity Division

Magali GIES, Post-doctoral researcher at CIRAD (UMR Qualisud)

Magali Gies, represented at the awards ceremony, completed her thesis in 2019 at the University of Montpellier, during which she developed a functional food based on fermented, probiotic, plant-based cereals with cholesterol-lowering potential thanks to the incorporation of phytosterols. Malnutrition/overnutrition is a global issue that concerns all populations, whatever their social background. This food is therefore aimed at populations in newly industrialized countries, where the prevalence of metabolic syndrome is growing exponentially. Today, Magali Gies is pursuing her work through the PROMET project (funded by the MUSE project) as a post-doctoral fellow at CIRAD.

Chemicals Division

Habib BELAID, Post-doctoral researcher at CNRS (UMR IEM - Institut Européen des Membranes)

Habib Belaid is a post-doctoral researcher at theInstitut Européen des Membranes (IEM) in Montpellier. His work focuses on the synthesis and characterization of biomaterials for healthcare applications. This has led to the development of new formulations of printable composite materials with biocompatible and bioresorbable properties, as well as bioactive and antibacterial properties. The launch of a new product and service will address a major healthcare issue in the field of bone tissue engineering in dentistry and cancerology.