Categories and prizes

At each European Inventor Award ceremony, we celebrate the finalists and winners in several categories and prizes.  


We introduced the categories below in the Award’s earliest years. A granted European patent and commercialisation in Europe are among the prerequisites to be eligible for one of the traditional categories. 


This Award recognises inventors of commercially successful technologies patented by large European companies. Generally, these companies employ more than 250 people and generate an annual turnover exceeding EUR 50 million. 


This category celebrates inventors working at universities, research institutions or their spin-offs. Inventions in this category will often have led to major technological progress and enhanced the reputation of the inventor's institution. 

Non-EPO Countries 

This category is open to all inventors from outside the EPO’s member states, regardless of the size or turnover of the company applying their patented invention. However, the invention or related products must be available in Europe. 


This Award honours the people behind inventions at small and medium-sized enterprises. These are companies which had fewer than 250 employees and an annual turnover of less than EUR 50 million when the patent was granted. Ideally, the invention will have been a commercial success and helped the SME to expand its business. 

Lifetime Achievement 

This category honours the long-term contribution of an individual European inventor whose dedication and tireless efforts - and patented landmark inventions - have had a major impact on their technical field and society. 


The prizes below enable broader participation in the Award by giving the public a voice and celebrating innovation outside the European patent system.  

Popular Prize 

The Popular prize is the only prize in which the winner is decided by a public vote. Voting commences when the finalists are announced and closes during the Award ceremony.  

For further information, please read the voting terms and conditions. You can also read the data protection statement and cookies policy relating to the Popular Prize.

Young Inventors Prize 

The newest prize recognises initiatives developed by young inventors (aged 30 and under). Open to innovators worldwide, the Young Inventors Prize celebrates solution that work towards the United Nations Sustainable development goals. A granted European patent is not a prerequisite and we reward the winner with EUR 20 000.  The second and third placed finalists receive EUR 10 000 and EUR 5 000 respectively.  

To learn more about eligibility, selection criteria and the role of the jury, please visit our nominations page