Vice-President of the European Parliament Mairead McGuinness and EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas award MTF founder Michela Magas with the EU Prize for Women Innovators 2017
Photo © European Union


We’re thrilled to announce that Music Tech Fest founder Michela Magas is European Woman Innovator of the Year!

Michela’s innovation is the global Music Tech Fest ecosystem that bridges art and science. It has, through initiatives like #MusicBricks, seeded new projects and products, supported them to commercial prototype, and connected academia with industry.

She has developed a new layer of innovation IP that protects and asserts the creative contribution of hackers and makers while recognising the original intellectual property within the tools and research that they build on - and brought together fields as diverse as pop music and neuroscience, fashion design and cryptography in a space of common understanding around a shared love of music.


Thank you, this is a huge honour, and I feel so humbled after Petra - after someone who has enabled so many people to have clean water - to be finding myself in this position. I can only hope that we can found a Women Innovators network here tonight, so we can continue to cross-fertilise with our work.

But I would like to say a few words if you are not tired yet of tonight’s show..

I am proud to represent the creative industries here today. It’s a sector that is incredibly important for our economy, and has impact across all sorts of other industries. This award is shared by the 5000 or so creative innovators - both women and men - who form the Music Tech Fest community, and by their director, Andrew Dubber, who’s kneeling at the moment with a mobile phone taking photos (laughter) - but someone who has been a huge champion of gender equality - we need more men like you!

Many of you might wonder why invest in music technology research. Well, I can tell you that today in our sector we have some of the biggest global champions - European companies that are leaders in this field - in Spotify and Soundcloud and many others, that are truly changing the business. In addition to this, our community has generated creative solutions for fields like neuroscience, microcomputing, and heavy machinery for forestry and agriculture. So never underestimate what a research field can do for the economy - knowledge is worth investing in.

I am also incredibly honoured to be able to represent these women - each really impressive for her intelligence and her drive, but particularly, in my opinion, for her long term view on the future of humanity. The long term view is so often overlooked. I am also very gratified that the organisers emphasised social conscience in this process. Social conscience I find a particularly European quality - and one we should cultivate.

I was inspired also by the judges - one of the judges is with us today - and that was particularly for the fact that they emphasised the role of the female perspective in business. Today is International Women’s Day, some of us are mothers, some of us are teachers, or entrepreneurs, but most of us seem to be driven by the need to understand the human condition. And yet this is often suppressed in the workplace, in favour of other drivers like competitive aggression. So I encourage you to use your sense of humanity to continue to inform your innovation and as benchmark for your business decisions. It comes from a good place.

Just one more very personal thing - I’m sorry if I’m going on for a bit longer - but I wish my father was still with us. He was an architect, a theorist and a great teacher to me. He was restricted by a severely troubled country which was even at war at one stage, with closed borders and limited means. But he said something very simple to me - he said:

“You know, I was dreaming again that I’m flying. And I look at the people below and think: ‘Why can’t they do this? It’s so easy!'”

I said: “Dad, you’re so lucky - most people are currently dreaming they are drowning.”

Well, my father has been published across the world, so what you have inside you can lift you over the walls that others build, and way across the borders. And at this time, more than any other, I hope you use it.

Thank you very much.