EPO launches the European Inventor Network

European Inventor Network logo

The European Patent Organisation launched the European Inventor Network last week to inspire a passion for science among younger generations while nurturing an entrepreneurial mindset. The Network, which comprises over 200 former European Inventor Award and Young Inventors Prize finalists, invites members to propose activities that drive a long-term interest in STEM. An internal committee at the EPO then selects activities and rewards a grant of €6 000, €4 000 or €2 000, based on the potential impact and outreach of the chosen initiatives.

As they are inventors and entrepreneurs, the finalists are ideally placed to identify activities, while also serving as role models to school children and students. In addition to proposing activities, Network members will support the European Patent Organisation in various ways. For example, inventors may be invited to give a lecture to staff, moderate a panel discussion, appear in the EPO’s innovation videos or provide expert insight in a podcast.

Prior to the launch, the Network identified the first set of activities, which have the potential to reach over 3 000 young learners. During the inaugural year, 21 inventors proposed a total of 36 activities, of which 24 received a grant. The proposals include a secondary school workshop in which learners will solve challenges using LEGO programmable robots, and a primary school water sampling event highlighting the importance of access to clean water. Initiatives such as these will be implemented in 11 countries and the inventors will be responsible for providing feedback on their activities to the EPO.

Nellie Simon, EPO Vice-President Corporate Services, made the announcement during the Inventor’s round-up, a panel discussion between the Vice-President, several 2023 Award finalists and Pascal Griset. Professor of History. The panel explored topics such as innovation, sustainability, the patent system from an inventor’s perspective and the importance of empowering younger generations to drive change.

In 2024, the European Patent Organisation will publish a second call for proposals for activities aimed mainly at primary and secondary school children.