The 2019 EU Rising Innovator is Michela Puddu a Tor Vergata University Graduate

The 2019 EU Rising Innovator is Michela Puddu a Tor Vergata University Graduate

Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation announced in Paris the four winners of the 2019 EU Prize for Women Innovators, the prize funded under Horizon 2020, the EU research and innovation programme.

The winners of the 2019 EU Prize for Women Innovators are Irina Borodina, Martine Caroff, Shimrit Perkol-Finkel.

The Rising Innovator 2019 is Michela Puddu co-founder and CEO of Haelixa, a company that uses intelligent DNA-based tracing solutions to ensure ethical and transparent business practices, with special focus on sustainable products such as organic cotton.


Award Background

The jury consisted of independent experts from business, venture capital, entrepreneurship and academia. 154 applications were submitted from across the EU and the countries associated to Horizon 2020, the EU’s funding programme for research and innovation, which provides the prize money for the awards. 13 finalists were shortlisted for the award in April 2019.

The aim of the EU Prize for Women Innovators is to raise public awareness of the need for more innovation and more women entrepreneurs, to recognise the success of women in innovation and create strong role models. Women are underrepresented in terms of creating innovative enterprises – only 31% of entrepreneurs in the EU are women.

From Tor Vergata to Zurich

Michela Puddu, born in Rome 32 years ago, is a graduate in “Science and Technology of Materials” at Tor Vergata University of Rome and owns a PhD doctorate in “Chemical Engineering” at the Zurich Polytechnic.

The jury of the European Union Prize for Innovative Women evaluated the project taking into account mainly three criteria: innovation, economic and social impact, inspiration.


Michela Puddu, consumers are demanding more and more transparency and want to be sure that the products they purchase respect ethical and sustainability principles, especially the environment. How does the DNA label work?

The tracer is composed of DNA sequences encapsulated within inorganic oxide particles which are harmless to the substances to be traced.It is applied or sprayed, as is the case for organic cotton, directly on the product remaining unaltered in all subsequent industrial processing.

Synthetic DNA is like a system for storing information (origin of the product, producer, date, composition, etc.).Each sequence is unique and guarantees absolute transparency, authenticity and sustainability of the production chain.

Unlike traditional traceability systems, the DNA tracer is not subject to tampering and fraud as can be the case with methods that are physically detached from the product, for example certificates, bar codes, up to the blockchain.

Our traceability system is aimed at all players in the production chain.

Undoubtedly it is the end consumer who benefits from it with certainty and real reliability of information on the product and its authenticity and sustainability.


Which products can it be applied to?

“The” label “is applicable to any production sector, from textiles to precious stones to the agricultural sector”.


Do you need professional researchers to perform product analysis?

The analysis of DNA sequences can be performed by us or by the companies themselves through tests already in use for forensic or clinical analysis.There is a sort of “paternity test” of the product that does not damage it in any way. You can also use a simple portable device already on the market.

Translated from the University Press Office Article