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Composites on Tour Initiative Wins Science Prize

10 December 2004

The Descartes Prize for Science Communication was awarded to the Composites-on-Tour initiative from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium) submitted by the JEC Group in the ""Innovative action for science communication"" category.

The Descartes Prize for Science Communication is a new trophy awarded for the first time this year to reward the best work in science communication. The Descartes Prize created by the European Commission aims at identifying and drawing attention to the very best in research. The winners were selected out of 19 finalists from eight countries with the awards ceremony held in Prague on December 2, 2004.

The Commission set up a series of partnerships that already award scientific prizes, with JEC submitting the application of one of its JEC Composites Awards prize-winners, ""Composites-on-Tour"".

""As we all know, the JEC Group is dedicated to promoting composite materials on a global level. Thanks to initiatives such as ""Composites-on-Tour”, composites can gain broader public coverage,"" commented JEC General Manager Frédérique Mutel. ""This project caught our eye straight away and it has now been awarded the prestigious Descartes Prize. We’re very happy and proud to have helped this valuable initiative and motivated team gain public recognition. Our congratulations to the creator behind the project, Professor Ignaas Verpoest, who, with his catching enthusiasm and tenacity, convinced us all of the value of this vast project and implemented it successfully. We’re also very happy to prove our ability to join forces and work together as a network, combining talents to promote composite materials"".

""With the ""Composites-on-Tour initiative"", we just wanted to clarify the mystery of composites,” explains Professor Ignaas Verpoest, ”and in this way also heighten the general public’s interest in new materials and scientific innovations. More than 30,000 people from 40 cities and 8 European countries visited our travelling exhibition on composites. The exhibition, conceived by researchers from the universities of Leuven, Liverpool, Napoli and Delft, travelled 15,000 km in the world’s first full-composite trailer built by the Composittrailer company. It was also exhibited at the Jec Composites Show in Paris (23,000 visitors).

The second part of the ""Composites-on-Tour"" initiative was connected with the world of designers; the exhibition on the ""International Composites Design Competition"" by VIZO/DesignVlaanderen in Brussels and the historical exhibition ""From bakelite to composite"" in the Design Museum Gent, together attracted another 30,000 visitors. The link between composites and good design enabled us to reach a whole new public and convey the message that innovative design would be impossible without innovations in materials science!""

""The Descartes Prize for ""Science Communication"" will allow us to further explore the link between composites, design and science communication,"" concluded Professor Verpoest. ""In 2005-2006, we intend to launch Composites-on-Tour-2 in co-operation with the JEC Group"".