International Year of Chemistry, 2011

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Fondazione Cariplo Award for the scientific exploration of new research frontiers – 2011 Edition: Chemistry supporting progress and humankind well-being

Activity by Diana Pozzoli   |   added on Jun 29, 2011   |   Italy Official_iyc_logo

Sponsor(s): Fondazione Cariplo

The Fondazione Cariplo Award was established to recognize exceptionally innovative ideas; its goal is to fund unconventional and high-risk research studies still to be carried out. In the 2011 edition, will be funded new research frontiers in the field of Chemistry.

Fondazione Cariplo - an Italian grant making organization - wishes to celebrate the IYC with a special edition of Fondazione Cariplo Award, hence the 2011 award’s edition shall fund unconventional and high-risk in the field of Chemistry.


The Fondazione Cariplo Award for the scientific exploration of new research frontiers was established to recognize exceptionally innovative ideas. The goal is to fund research studies – still to be carried out – that would develop new scientific concepts, unconventional research hypothesis, out of the box experimental approaches, new methodologies or techniques, which could ultimately result in turning around current research paradigms or bring about new ones. Fondazione Cariplo wants to offer a funding scheme for ideas and projects, which fail to attract funds because of their unconventional content. The ultimate objective of the award is setting the scene for the development of the “off the beaten track” research - a fundamental driver of scientific and social progress - and to stimulate researchers to undertake unorthodox and transformative lines of research.


The 2011 edition is the fist edition of the Award. The advisory board of Fondazione Cariplo decided to start this new programme funding new research frontiers in the field of chemistry because reputed chemistry a strategic area of knowledge. Actually, it offers the opportunities to understand and build up scientific research notions, methodologies and techniques that could be employed to develop drugs, to create new materials and products, to support agriculture and to propose solutions to face climate change, transport and energy issues. For this reason, the subtitle of the 2011 edition will be: Chemistry supporting progress and humankind well-being.


The award prize will be a sum of money that will enable projects to make it off the ground. In fact, the award is meant to fund feasibility studies geared to demonstrate or test a particular approach or methodology, with the objective of funding the initial development stage of a research concept. The total amount to be awarded in the 2011 edition is € 500,000. The Foundation intends to assign one or more awards; each award should not be lower than €100,000.


A jury composed by international experts with diverse scientific backgrounds will express a collegial evaluation of the projects submitted. The 2011 jury is composed by: two Nobel Prizes in Chemistry, a director of chemical labs, a venture capitalist and a journalist. At this moment, the Fondazione Cariplo’s officers are recruiting jurymen/jurywomen and their names will be available and disclosed as soon as possible. The jury will assign awards based on this criteria:

·         degree of innovation compared to the state of the art and ability to come up with new scientific notions or establish new paradigms for research;

·         clear description of objectives;

·         significance and social desirability of the objectives;

·         expected results in terms of scientific advancements or technology improvement;

·         potential to overcome barriers that are critical to the progress of the specific research area;

·         potential impact on other scientific domains;

·         chance given to young scientists to submit innovative ideas;

·         project monitoring and identification of project milestones;

·         method selected for the dissemination of results;

·         consistency of human resources and equipment employed with the size of the project and the type of research.


The initiative is targeted to organizations engaging in scientific research and having the human resources and equipment necessary to carry out the scientific research (ex. Universities and public labs). Particular attention will be pay to young applicants. Individual applicants or the lead organization in any partnerships that want submit a project idea are  required to have the operational HQ in Lombardy and in the provinces of Novara and Verbania. This requirement does not apply to partner organizations.


Specific attention will be given to dissemination/communication activities, especially during the two key moments of the programme: initiative’s launch and award ceremony. During the award ceremony, will be celebrated the creative contributions of the winners in order to generate enthusiasm for the creative future of chemistry.


A media partner – IL SOLE 24 ORE - will support Fondazione Cariplo in these activities and will transfer information to audience tags but also to the social community. IL SOLE 24 ORE is a well know economical Italian newspaper, very interested in technology based business; for more information, it is possible to visit its web site:


This is the timeline of the initiative:

June 30: publication of the Call on the Fondazione Cariplo web site

July 15: public presentation of the Call

October 5: deadline to submit proposals

February 22-23 (2012): consensus meeting

April 2 (2012): award ceremony


We believe that the Fondazione Cariplo Award – 2011 edition to fund new research frontiers in the field of Chemistry is aligned both with the IYC goals and the theme “Chemistry—our life, our future”, besides representing an effective way to generate enthusiasm for the creative future of chemistry. Motivations underlying this assertion are multiple.

First of all, the Fondazione Cariplo award offers a unique opportunity to boost researchers to undertake unorthodox and transformative lines of research in the field of chemistry in order to discover exciting new principles and applications. High innovative researches often fail to attract funds and, for this reason, talented researchers prefer to propose mainstream research. Conversely, the scientific research and the chemical research need dynamism and innovative ideas to generate new opportunities and to overcome the challenges today’s world is facing. In other words, unconventional and transformative research is a fundamental driver of future progress.

Second, the city of Milan and Lombardy  - where Fondazione Cariplo has its headquarter - have a strong tradition in the chemical scientific research being the homelands of Professor Giulio Natta, the 1963 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. The Fondazione Cariplo award is a rare way to link today’s chemical researchers to Prof. Giulio Natta’s experience. Fondazione Cariplo intends to demonstrate that it is possible to develop an exceptionally innovative idea even in this historical moment and in the Lombardy region. The spreading of this message is of fundamental importance for young researchers and, especially, for Italian post graduate students, since Italy is facing a critical shortage of funds for scientific research besides suffering from a massive brain drain.

Third, the Fondazione Cariplo award is an easy mode to celebrate talented chemical researcher/s that will obtain the award. The winner/s could be proposed as today’s models or testimonials so as to encourage and disseminate interest in chemistry among young people.


Forth, the Fondazione Cariplo award is a simple manner to improve the public knowledge of chemistry and to show its role in overcoming the challenges facing today’s world with the ultimate goal to  increase the public appreciation of chemistry.

Topic: competition, demonstrations, chemistry, sustainable and green chemistry Audience: research scientists, universities, post graduate students
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