The award was given for the 14th time in May 2019 by the B&C Foundation. In this way, it honors outstanding business-oriented research achievements in Austria. The University of Innsbruck was honored for developing a quantum computer in the category "University Research". The researcher Wolfgang Lechner developed specialized quantum computers to solve optimization tasks more efficiently than previous algorithms. The applied LHZ architecture, which has been patented in the meantime, could set new standards and give Austria a leading role in the development of quantum computers.
The Viennese company and its project "Airskin" won the award in the category "Research & Development in SMEs". Airskin is a pressure-sensitive sensor skin turning every robot including grippers and tool into a collaborative device. In this way the robot can be operated even without a protective fence. 97 projects were submitted for the Houska Award this year. The evaluation of the submitted projects and selection of a winner take place in a two-phased process by two high-caliber advisory boards and an internationally recognized jury of experts.
Austria's best research projects were the focal point of the Houska Award gala ceremony of B&C Private Foundation, which was staged at the voestalpine Stahlwelt in Linz and featured about 300 top decision makers from the business and research communities. At the beginning of the event, Sepp Hochreiter, computer scientist and artificial intelligence researcher at the University of Linz and Wolfgang Eder, CEO of voestalpine, discussed the role of Europe in the innovation race between Silicon Valley and Peking.