Meet the finalists
The European Inventor Award honours the individuals whose inventions impact our lives. Thanks to these pioneers, our world is becoming safer, smarter and more sustainable.
1 - 15 of 15 search results
Ushering in a new era of personalised medicine and drug development, Dutch molecular geneticist Hans Clevers and teams at the Hubrecht Institute and the University Medical Center (UMC) in Utrecht pioneered so-called "organoids". The "mini-organs" – including livers, lungs and intestines – are grown from the stem cells of individual patients and allow doctors to test the specific effects of drugs safely – outside the body.
Doctors can now create real-time images of human tissue for early detection of cancer, glaucoma and other ailments thanks to US engineers James G. Fujimoto and Eric A. Swanson and German physicist Robert Huber. Their breakthrough imaging technology, optical coherence tomography (OCT), is now standard procedure for eye examinations.
Thanks to the invention of a savvy Dutch chemist named Gert-Jan Gruter, the environmental impact of plastic bottles may soon be significantly reduced. For years, bottles and other plastic food and beverage containers have been made from a petroleum-based polyester known as PET (polyethylene terephthalate). But Gruter's invention has given us a viable, environmentally-friendly alternative that is poised to shake up the industry.
Hundreds of thousands of people around the world are waiting for life-saving donor organs. Many organs fail to reach their recipients because technology limits preservation time outside the body. A major improvement, the Organ Care System (OCS) developed by US heart surgeon Waleed Hassanein, preserves organ function for longer periods and ensures higher transplant success rates.
Thanks to a chance discovery, the world has a new superweapon in the fight against oil and chemical spills. It is a synthetic wax engineered by Günter Hufschmid and his team at German company Deurex. It can adsorb close to seven times its own weight in hydrophobic liquids without taking on any water itself, making it an ideal tool for cleaning up spills and leaks wherever they occur – whether it's on the floor of a mechanic's garage or around an oil-drilling platform at sea.
Space-based radio navigation positioning has made significant strides in recent decades. It is now poised to make a greater leap thanks to Galileo, Europe's global navigation satellite system (GNSS). Signalling technology developed by a team of European engineers not only helps Galileo deliver better accuracy and clear up signal clutter; it also pushes satellite navigation and its features to the next level.
Convenient audio streaming, storage and playback would hardly be imaginable without the contributions of Swedish sound specialist Lars Liljeryd. Blending his lifelong love of music and his largely self-taught knowledge of electronics, this iconoclastic inventor designed one of the world's most popular digital audio compression codecs.
With his invention of the energy-saving Blade Compressor, Steve Lindsey just might revolutionise the multibillion-euro air compressor market. Also known as the "fourth utility", compressors can be found across industries, in everything from manufacturing equipment to air-conditioning units. Lindsey's highly efficient, oil-free design offers a greener solution to commonly used piston compressors, delivering energy savings of some 20%.
Swiss inventor and entrepreneur Elmar Mock developed an ultrasonic welding technique that helped create the Swatch wristwatch and pave the way for design-driven consumer electronics. It also became the basis for Mock's consulting company, Creaholic, which churns out creative ideas by the hundreds - ranging from medical bone-welding techniques to water-saving handwashers and tiny piezomotors.
Patients suffering from the autoimmune disease known as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) could soon benefit from much better treatment outcomes. A new medication invented by French immunologist Sylviane Muller and her team at the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) in Paris not only alleviates symptoms, but is the first treatment of its kind to halt the progression of the disease.
Infectious diseases such as diphtheria, bacterial meningitis and whooping cough have been practically eradicated in the developed world, thanks to Rino Rappuoli. Over the course of a research career spanning more than four decades, the Italian microbiologist has pioneered "conjugate vaccines" that have launched a new generation of immunisations, now administered to millions of people worldwide.
The rise of multidrug-resistant bacteria is a fast-growing global challenge. By tapping into the medicinal properties of local plants, Moroccan biology professor Adnane Remmal has developed a way to “boost” the efficacy of antibiotics used to treat bacterial infections. His invention might help curb the overuse of antibiotics that is leading to antimicrobial resistance and halt the spread of multidrug-resistant (MDR) “superbugs”.
Treatment outcomes have greatly improved over the past decades thanks to the inventions of Italian nephrologist Giuseppe Remuzzi and fellow researchers Carlamaria Zoja and Ariela Benigni. The team's medications use angiotensin-converting-enzyme (ACE) inhibitors to treat chronic kidney disease and complications related to organ transplants.
Scientific understanding of the genetic and cellular causes of cancer and other diseases has taken a quantum leap thanks to German molecular biologist Axel Ullrich. In a research career spanning four decades, Ullrich has pioneered new classes of medical treatment – including growth-inhibiting drugs for breast, intestinal and kidney cancer.
Malaria is one of the ten deadliest diseases of our time and is diagnosed in only 10% of all cases. Changing the paradigm, Dutch haematologist Jan van den Boogaart and Austrian biochemist Oliver Hayden developed the first automated, computer-based blood test for malaria. Combining medicine and information sciences, the test is based on a computer algorithm that detects infections with unprecedented accuracy.