The Award


The Innovation Award Laser Technology is a European research prize awarded at 2-yearly intervals by the association Arbeitskreis Lasertechnik e.V. and the European Laser Institute ELI. The award can be conferred on an individual researcher or on an entire project group, whose exceptional skills and dedicated work have led to an outstanding innovation in the field of laser technology. The scientific and technological projects in question must center on the use of laser light in materials processing and the methods of producing such light, and must furthermore be of demonstrable commercial value to industry. The media exposure associated with the award offers an opportunity to promote a wider public interest in the technological advances of laser technology.

Technological Fields of Interest

It takes a great deal of experience and specialized knowledge, not to mention considerable dedication on the part of the authors, to successfully carry a technical development project through from the basic research stage to industrial or commercial maturity. The aim of the Innovation Award Laser Technology is to focus a spotlight on the interface between applied scientific research and industrial practice.

The range of possible fields extends from the development of new laser beam sources and systems for use in laser materials processing to the qualification of innovative laser manufacturing processes for use in an industrial production environment. Acceptable forms of proof of the commercial gain to be achieved through implementation of the R&D results include new products or product features, enhanced product quality, simplified and more stable process flows, or a more cost-effective or higher-throughput manufacturing system.

The introduction of innovative laser-based manufacturing techniques relies on the experimental testing, development and application of new laser systems or laser-assisted manufacturing processes. The success of an innovation can be judged on the basis of the cost-benefit ratio demonstrated by pre-production models, industrial prototypes, or series production. The immediate value of breakthrough innovations in laser technology developed in an applied research context can be measured in terms of the industry-targeted transformation of laboratory results. As a rule, it is possible to assess the potential stimulus to innovation through feasibility studies, demonstration models, or pilot production runs, and by their patentability.

In keeping with the original purpose of the award, applications are especially invited from individuals working in industry or at universities or independent research centers who have successfully conceived and implemented an innovative idea relating to laser technology, following the project through from earlystage laboratory research to ultimate industrial application.

Conditions For Entry

Applications are accepted in the name of individual researchers and on behalf of whole project groups who have conceived and implemented an outstanding innovation in laser technology that conforms with the technological fields of interest detailed above. In the case of a project group, one individual must be designated as the applicant representing the group. Applications by jury members are not permitted.

Applicants must be able to provide documentary evidence of the innovative value of their work and its benefit to industry. The innovation must have been implemented in industry no more than 3 years prior to application for the award. Applicants must work for universities, R&D centres or companies established in Europe.

Only fully completed applications will be accepted. The application and supporting documentation must be in English and submitted in timely manner before the closing date. By submitting an application, the candidate confirms and agrees to permit publication of the work in question and to attend the official presentation ceremony held during the International Laser Technology Congress AKL - unless prevented from doing so by unavoidable circumstances.

Prize Money

The prizewinner will receive the sum of 10,000 euros in recognition of his work, and be furthermore awarded the title of »AKL Fellow« and »ELI Fellow«. The official presentation of the award will take place at the International Laser Technology Congress AKL in Aachen.

Selection Procedure

A shortlist of the best candidates will be compiled by an international jury consisting of equal numbers of members drawn from the association Arbeitskreis Lasertechnik e.V. and the European Laser Institute ELI. The members of this panel of experts are nominated on a two-yearly basis by AKL e.V. and ELI. The international jury members are recruited from industry and the research community. They are responsible for assessing the quality of the applications, if necessary calling on the services of external experts to offer their opinion. The prize-winner as well as the second and the third placed are selected on the basis of merit. Any and all legal recourse is explicitly barred.

The jury´s decision is based principally on the following criteria:

  • Proven commercial benefit
  • Innovative quality of the resulting laser beam source, laser manufacturing process or laser system
  • Scientific / technological quality of the underlying research
  • Creative approach to technology demonstrated by the designated individual or project group
  • Importance of the contribution of the applicant’s work to the overall innovative process
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Members of the Jury

  • Dr. Lutz Aschke, Photonics Systems Group, Krailling, Germany 
  • Dr. Pavel Bakule, ELI Beamlines Facility, Dolní Břežany, Czech Republic
  • Dr. Guido Bonati, FISBA AG, St. Gallen, Switzerland
  • Dr. Stefan Hengesbach, QuiX Quantum B.V., Enschede, Netherlands
  • Dr. Willem Hoving, Photonics Consultancy, Geldrop, Netherlands
  • Dr. Alexander Knitsch, TRUMPF Laser- und Systemtechnik GmbH, Ditzingen, Germany
  • Eric Mottay, h-nu, Bègles, France
  • Prof. Juan M. Pou Saracho, Universitade de Vigo, Vigo, Spain
  • Dr. José Antonio Ramos de Campos, LASEA Belgium, Seraing, Belgium
  • Pablo M. Romero, AIMEN, O Porriño, Spain
  • Dr. Markus Kogel-Hollacher, Arbeitskreis Lasertechnik e.V., (Chairman, no voting rights)
  • Prof. Dr. Stefan Kaierle, European Laser Institute, (Chairman, no voting rights)
  • Mrs. Katharina Schulte, Arbeitskreis für Lasertechnik e.V., Aachen, Germany, (secretary)

Public Relations

In accordance with the objectives of the award scheme, the names of the winner, the second and the third placed will be announced to the professional community and the public at large in an official award ceremony organized in conjunction with the International Laser Technology Congress AKL. Press releases will be issued to inform the trade press and general media.

By their participation in the award competition, candidates acknowledge and accept that their project work will be publicized by the means cited above in the event that they are selected to receive an award, and agree to actively support the public relations activities of the two associations AKL and ELI by supplying background information for the press.