The Award recognises technological breakthroughs and casts a spotlight on the individuals driving brighter future. It showcases inspiring ideas and underlines the vital role inventors play in building a smarter, more sustainable world. You can also play a role in one of Europe's most prestigious innovation prizes by nominating your favourite inventor.
Nominations for the 2024 European Inventor Award are now closed. We thank you all for your contributions.
The road to the Award
Once we have received proposals from the public, our staff, patent offices worldwide, or even inventors themselves, the journey begins. First, an EPO panel evaluates the proposals to ensure they meet all formal requirements and represent breakthrough technologies.
Our panel drafts a shortlist of some 50 candidates, which is submitted to an independent jury. During a lively meeting, the jury evaluates the list and after several voting and discussion rounds, they select the finalists and winners.
We reveal the names of these outstanding inventors six week prior to Award ceremony and invite the public to vote for their favourite in the Popular Prize.
At the Award ceremony in Malta this summer, we will announce the winners in our five categories, the Popular Prize and the Young Inventors Prize.
Let’s get technical
Do you know of an inspiring inventor or ground-breaking invention that you think is worthy of the Award? We would be thrilled to learn about them. Before submitting your proposal, take a moment to review the entry requirements, eligibility criteria and formal conditions.
The section below provides all the information you need to submit a proposal in the traditional categories (Industry, Research, SMEs, Non-EPO countries, and Lifetime achievement) as well as the Young inventors prize. Remember to check your proposal carefully – if the details are incorrect, incomplete or do not meet the conditions below, your candidate may be eliminated from the competition.
- Criteria for Industry, Research, SMEs, Non-EPO Countries, and Lifetime Achievement
- An inventor must be granted at least one European patent for an invention by the European Patent Office.
- The patent must be maintained in force in at least one EPO member state (except for the Lifetime achievement category).
- The patent should show a high degree of inventiveness, display a recognisable benefit to society or the environment and demonstrate proven or potential economic success in Europe.
- Inventors nominated for the Industry, Research, SMEs and Lifetime Achievement categories must be citizens of one of the EPO’s member states. Inventors from outside the EPO’s member states can only be nominated for the Non-EPO Countries category.
- Inventions from all fields of technology for which a European patent can be granted can be nominated for the European Inventor Award.
- Not eligible
- The patent has not yet been granted by the EPO
- The relevant patent is subject to pending opposition or appeal proceedings
- The relevant patent is within a nine-month notice of opposition period
- The patent has been revoked
- The patent has lapsed or expired in all EPO member states
- The inventor has already been a finalist or winner in a previous European Inventor Award competition (see the list of past finalists and winners).
- Criteria for Young Inventors Prize
The Young Inventors Prize is open to any public/published initiative, by an individual or a group of individuals worldwide with a maximum age of 30 years at the time of the Award ceremony. The initiative should clearly demonstrate how it intends to solve a problem within the UN Sustainable Development Goals framework by using a solution from any field of technology.
Candidates may be of any nationality - this prize is not limited to individuals with EPO Member State nationality.
Only public/published initiatives will be considered as this avoids the risk of unwillingly disclosing information that may impact future patent applications.
Each nomination must be accompanied by supporting information. Examples of supporting documents include granted patents or utility models, published scientific papers, business plans, videos or documentaries, or web articles. Please note that not all supporting documentation carries the same weight. For example, a granted patent is a clear statement of originality and potential technological impact, whereas ideas disclosed on a blog may not necessarily be so. The jury will use the hierarchy below when assessing proposals.
- A proposed candidate for the Young Inventors Prize may also be nominated for the categories above if they fulfil the respective requirements. However, a nominee cannot be selected as a finalist in both.
For further information, please refer to the European Inventor Award FAQ.