Today, the interplay between the science- and economic communities does not work well when it comes to disruptive and breakthrough innovations. SprinD brings a proven approach to breakthrough innovation to Europe at last. It does not rely on peer-review-based identification and selection processes, but rather aims at recruiting for- ward-looking innovation managers to select research and innovation projects which are both research-intensive and application-oriented. Rafael Laguna is an essential figure driving forward this mode of thinking in Europe by identifying, selecting and funding high-risk, high-gain break- through innovation projects. The jury selected this initiative because its first approved projects so far have awarded impact-oriented, socially beneficial transformative innovation, setting the pace for a new European innovation culture.