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https://www.epo.org/fr/node/381967

European Inventor Network

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The European Inventor Network aims to awaken a lifelong passion for innovation and creativity among younger generations.

Just as we are responsible for leaving a safe and sustainable world to our children, they are the ones who will shape the planet in decades to come. At this crucial period in the history of humankind, it is vital to pay it forward, to equip young people with the knowledge they will need when they become the planet's custodians. Innovation will be essential to their mission.

Through the European Inventor Network, we aim to empower young people to unleash their creativity and discover the wonders of science and technology. Inspired and equipped with knowledge, the next generation can begin to pave the way to a brighter future for all.

The Network's members are inventors and entrepreneurs of distinction, making them ideal role models to show school children and students that innovation, in all its form, is for everyone.

To reach this objective, the Network will financially support the alumni for implementing activities to inspire young generations and encourage creativity among children in schools, teenagers in secondary education and young adults in tertiary education. Members may propose any activity they feel will spur a long-term interest in technical fields (STEM) and foster an entrepreneurship mindset ("call for ideas" step).

An internal selection committee will select the activities and grant EUR 6 000, EUR 4 000 or EUR 2 000 based on the impact and outreach of the selected activities.

The alumni will implement and report on the activities within a predefined timeframe.

Rules and criteria

Eligibility criteria

The members of the European Inventor Network should have been finalists or/and winners of the European Inventor Award or the Young Inventors Prize.

Submission of activities

The members should propose activities using the form to propose activities. Each member may propose several activities. Please note, proposals that are incomplete or missing information will not be accepted. Members will be informed accordingly.

The proposal of an activity implies full and unconditional acceptance of all rules and criteria.

Type of activities to be proposed

Any activity which can spur in school kids/young teens a long-term interest in the relationship between innovation, science, technology, engineering and math studies (STEM) and its close connect with entrepreneurship can be proposed. Priority will be given to activities targeted at primary and secondary schools. The material costs can not exceed the amount of the grant (ex: for a grant of €2000 the material costs cannot exceed €2000). The focus of the activities could be for instance be on:

  • focus on innovation/entrepreneurship,
  • emerging technologies,
  • success stories

If possible, the activity should preferably demonstrate a link to one of the 17 UN SDGs.

Selection committee and evaluation criteria

An EPO internal selection committee whose role is to select the activities for which a payment will be granted by the network will review all the proposals submitted by the alumni.

The evaluation will be based on the following criteria: the impact and outreach, relevance and pedagogical content, target audience of the proposed activities. Furthermore, diversity in terms of geographical coverage, gender and targeted audience for the proposed activities will be considered by the internal selection committee.

Funding

The Network will fund the activities which have been selected by the internal selection committee granting EUR 6 000, EUR 4 000 or EUR 2 000 (depending on the impact of the activities) to the selected alumni for implementing the activities.

These grants should cover the preparation and implementation costs.Grants will be paid upfront of the activity's implementation following the announcement by the internal selection committee.

Travel/subsistence/material costs (if any) will be paid on top of the grant upon receipt of proof once the activity has been implemented. 

The material costs can not exceed the amount of the grant (ex: for a grant of €2000 the material costs cannot exceed €2000).

Contractual agreement

The members whose proposed activity has been selected will be asked to sign a legally binding agreement in which they agree to implement the activity under their own responsibility and to refund the payment if the activity is not implemented before the end of the bi-annual activity program.

Reporting on the activity

After the completion of the activity, the members (or their representatives) should provide:

  • a short report on the event including recommendations for similar events in the future or a short report or presentation on the event,
  • a confirmation from the school/university where the activity took place,
  • A video (preferred) or a photograph from the event for use on the EPO's social media (ex: photograph of the inventor posing next to the schools emblem at their entrance, an inventor writing on a board, set up of a science experiment, etc...). The picture should not display any young people under 18 unless a data protection agreement has been signed by the parents (the EPO will provide this data protection form if needed).
Data protection

Protecting your privacy is of the utmost importance to the European Patent Office (EPO). We are committed to protecting your personal data and ensuring respect for data subjects' rights when performing our tasks and providing our services. All data of a personal nature that identify you directly or indirectly will be processed lawfully, fairly and with due care.

The processing operations described below are subject to the EPO Data Protection Rules (European Inventor Network data protection statement).

Liability

The alumni shall abstain from any act, and in particular, any public expression of opening which may reflect on the dignity of the European Patent Office or which may pose a risk to or compromise the reputation and interests of the European Patent Organisation.

The EPO is not held accountable for the opinions and views expressed by the alumni during the implementation of the activities.

Publicity, communication, and dissemination

All grants awarded during a bi-annual program of activities will be published on the EPO's internet site.

The EPO may identify good practices and prepare relevant dissemination materials to be shared within and throughout all participating alumni.

FAQ

Why should I propose an activity?

As a successful inventor, you are a role model for the next generation of inventors. Your journeys make you an excellent ambassador to encourage an entrepreneurial mindset.

Can I propose more than one activity?

Yes, there is no limit to the number of activities which you may propose.

Who should carry out the activity?

If your proposal is selected, you will be responsible for implementing the activity.

However, if you are unable to commit due to time constraints, you may appoint a representative to guide implementation. The appointment of the representative would need approval by the EPO.

Who is the target audience?

The activity should be addressed to: primary school children (6 to 12 years old), secondary school teenagers (12 to 18 years old) or tertiary education students/young professionals (18 to 30 years old). Priority will be given to activities targeted at primary and secondary schools.

When should the activity take place?

The deadline for carrying out the activity is the 31 December 2024.

Is there available material to support me in my activity?

An e-learning module developed by the EPO and targeted at schools will be available from September 2023. The EPO can supply existing videos or presentations if needed (especially the videos of the European Inventor Award).

However, we encourage you to organise your activity based on your own material.

Where should the activity take place?

The activity should take place in a member state of the European Patent Convention. Within these states, activities may be hosted at any primary or secondary school. If the activity will take place at a university/engineering school/etc, this institution should offer courses for STEM studies. Activities may also be conducted at your place of work; however, you would be responsible for authorisation/approval from your organisation’s management.”. Activities taken place in private companies will not be considered for a grant.

Can members team up to propose an activity?

Yes, an activity can be proposed and implemented by a group. In such cases, an activity leader should be appointed. This activity leader should complete the activity proposal form.

How and when will the Network financially support the activity?

The Network will award grants of EUR 6 000, EUR 4 000 or EUR 2 000 depending on the outreach/impact of the activities. The selection committee decides on the grant’s amount based on the relevance, pedagogical content, impact and outreach, target and age of the audience.

The grants, which cover the preparatory and implementation time, are paid upfront of the activity implementation following the announcement by the selection committee.

The travel/subsistence (lump sum) and material costs will be paid on top of the grant upon receipt of proofs once the activity has been implemented.

Will the information about the activity be publicly available?

Yes, the report on the activity including video/photographs will be posted on the EPO’s website, intranet and on the social media.