Nicolas Ayache first thought of going to medical school before eventually deciding on a career in science. Throughout his years of study, he never lost sight of medicine, taking an interest in information technology's role in medical image data processing. With backing from former INRIA chairman Gilles Kahn, in 1989 he set up a first research project dedicated to medical applications. Today he leads one of the most important computational medical image analysis teams. He has actively contributed to structuring this emerging new discipline in France and internationally, in particular by co-founding a journal, Medical Image Analysis, and co-founding the first International Medical Image Computing and Computer Assisted Intervention Conference (MICCAI). Nicolas Ayache has spearheaded many scientific innovations and breakthroughs. In particular, with his team and his academic, clinical and industrial partners, he has developed groundbreaking multi-dimensional image analysis and simulation methods and image-guided surgery prototypes. The purpose of his research is to help doctors improve diagnosis and therapy.
Created in 2006, the Microsoft Award is designed to recognise and reward scientists working in Europe who have made a major contribution to the advancement of science through the use of computational methods. This award of 250 000 euros is handed each year by the French Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society. It aims to support the future researches of the winner