Dago de Leeuw, a physicist at Philips Research Laboratories in the Netherlands, leads a team of physicists recognized for their pioneering research in plastic electronics. De Leeuw and colleagues from The Netherlands, Denmark, Germany and the UK developed a new class of transistors based on polymers. The transistors are strong but flexible and are cheaper than conventional silicon-based devices.

Ian Smith, a chemist at the University of Birmingham, heads an Anglo-French group recognized for its investigations into chemistry near absolute zero. Smith and co-workers observed reactions taking place at temperatures never before achieved in the laboratory. Their work provides insights into processes inside the galactic clouds of gas and dust in which new stars form.

A jury of eminent scientists selected three winners from a hundred pan-European teams. Genetics research led by Alan Lehmann at the University of Sussex also took a share of the prize.