Swedish, Greek and Spanish companies have scooped three grand prizes and an award of Ecu200,000 each at the European IT Prize awards.
These were held in Vienna this week and jointly organised by the European Commission and Euro-Case, (the European Council of Applied Science and Engineering).
The prizes were awarded to a certificate manager from Sweden, which enables secure identification in the digital society; a copy protection system from Greece developed especially for CD-Rom; and a new generation of multiband antennae from Spain for the base stations for European cellular phone systems.
"Today, job creation is one of the most important challenges facing Europe. In an ever changing world, the importance of high quality research and development for job creation cannot be over-emphasised," said Viktor Klima, Chancellor of Austria, who announced the winners.
"Research and development is one of the most efficient means of contributing to social welfare and individual wellbeing. Europe has a huge potential for innovation. These prizes recognise the companies who will help realise it and reflect Europe's staying power in the field of IT," he said.
The EITP is now in its fourth year. To qualify for the awards, products had to have a high IT content and evident market potential. Selection criteria included technical excellence, potential market value and potential for improving competitiveness.
"The entries are getting better every year, with Eastern Europe's contribution having taken a real step forward. In the past, IT has been dominated by the US but we are seeing entrepreneurship and new starters all the time in Europe," said Bjorn Svedburg, chairman of Euro-Case.
iD2 Technologies of Sweden, a winner with its certificate manager, is evidence of the growing trend to produce secure applications for IT, such as smartcards, the Commission said.
MLS Laserlock of Greece, another winner, designed a complete software copy protection system to prevent software piracy and provide flexibility to developers and transparency to legitimate end users, it said.
"With this prize, we will remind everyone that Europe invents and promotes state-of-the-art technology and will continue to do so," said a spokesman for MLS Laserlock.
The Spanish mobile technology was developed by the Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya + Sistemas Radiantes F Moyano, the Commission said.
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