Press release | 4.6.2019
Munich, 4 June 2019 - The European Patent Office (EPO) invites members of the public to vote for their favourite inventor to receive the European Inventor Award 2019 Popular Prize. Votes can be cast for inventors or inventor teams from among the 15 nominated finalists (play short video). The winner of the Popular Prize will be announced by the EPO at this year's Award ceremony in Vienna on 20 June. The ceremony, honouring outstanding inventors from Europe and around the world, will be broadcast live on the EPO's Innovation TV app and Facebook page.
The European Inventor Award is presented annually by the EPO in recognition of exceptional inventors whose creativity and genius have improved the lives of people around the world. While the winners of the Award's five categories - "Industry", "Research", "Non-EPO countries", "Small and medium-sized enterprises" and "Lifetime achievement" - are selected by an independent international jury of innovation experts, the public alone decides who will receive the Popular Prize during the Award ceremony.
Voting is easy: An online vote open to everyone runs until 16 June at https://popular-prize.epo.org/. All 15 finalists and their inventions are showcased on the EPO website for the public to pick their favourite. Moreover, anyone casting their vote will be entered into a draw, giving them the chance to win an innovative device: This year, voters can win one of 15 personal air conditioners that humidify, purify and chill air in a sustainable and healthy way. One vote per person can be cast every 24 hours until the closing date.
This year's finalists come from 12 countries: Austria, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, the UK and the US.
In the Industry category, the European Inventor Award 2019 finalists have been nominated in fields as diverse as plastic recycling, breakwater construction and agriculture. Austrian businessmen and engineers Klaus Feichtinger and Manfred Hackl invented machines that can turn plastic waste into a more valuable resource by converting it into high quality pellets for new products; Spanish inventors Antonio Corredor Molguero and Carlos Fermín Menéndez Díaz devised a unique concrete mould that makes it faster and easier to build more effective breakwaters from concrete blocks; and Dutch engineers Alexander van der Lely and Karel van den Berg developed a robot that makes milking more "cow friendly", improves milk yields and helps farmers to manage their operations more efficiently.
In the category Research, the Popular Prize contenders have all contributed to progress in medicine. French immunologist Jérôme Galon created a tool that assesses the risk of relapse in cancer patients by counting the number of immune cells near tumour sites; German researcher Matthias Mann developed techniques to map all proteins at work in human cells using mass spectrometry - revealing tell-tale signs of disease before a person falls ill; and Italian oncologist Patrizia Paterlini-Bréchot invented a quick, non-invasive and highly sensitive filtering technique that can detect a single circulating tumour cell in roughly 50 billion blood cells, and thus contributes to the early detection of cancer.
In the Non-EPO countries category, the finalists are US eco-entrepreneurs Eben Bayer and Gavin McIntyre who grow bio-degradable packaging and other sustainable materials from mushrooms; Israeli computer vision expert Amnon Shashua and his team whose Advanced Driver Assistance System uses a single-lens camera and cutting-edge artificial intelligence to detect and avoid traffic hazards in real time, making more than 40 million cars worldwide safer to drive; and Japanese chemist and engineer Akira Yoshino, the father of the lithium-ion battery that today powers billions of devices around the globe.
The Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) category comprises inventors who are improving aquaculture, marine technology and protective gear. Norwegian engineer and entrepreneur Esben Beck developed an underwater robot that uses image recognition, AI and lasers to identify, target and shoot sea lice that attack salmon; Dutch materials scientist Rik Breur manufactures an environmentally-friendly marine anti-fouling wrap that prevents algae and barnacles attaching to boats and makes vessels more fuel efficient; and UK engineers Richard Palmer and Philip Green developed a new material that is flexible but hardens on impact and, when incorporated into protective gear, provides protection to sportspeople, motorcyclists, industrial workers and even soldiers.
The finalists in the Lifetime achievement category are: Spanish molecular genetics pioneer Margarita Salas Falgueras who invented a faster, simpler and more reliable way to replicate traces of DNA that has become the standard in DNA testing today in areas ranging from oncology to forensics; Austrian experimental physicist Maximilian Haider who solved a 60-year-old research problem, improving image resolution in transmission electron microscopes and enabling atomic level imaging; and Polish mathematics genius, software engineer and prolific inventor Marta Karczewicz whose hundreds of inventions have made it possible to stream high quality video, run video conferences and use virtual and augmented reality on mobile devices.
The European Inventor Award is one of Europe's most prestigious innovation prizes. Launched by the EPO in 2006, it honours individual inventors and teams of inventors whose pioneering work provides answers to some of the biggest challenges of our times. The finalists and winners are selected by an independent jury consisting of international authorities in the fields of business, politics, science, academia and research who examine the proposals in terms of their contribution towards technical progress, society, economic prosperity and job creation in Europe. The Award is conferred in five categories at a ceremony that will this year take place in Vienna on 20 June. The general public decides on the winner of the Popular Prize.
With around 7 000 staff, the European Patent Office (EPO) is one of the largest public service institutions in Europe. Headquartered in Munich with offices in Berlin, Brussels, The Hague and Vienna, the EPO was founded with the aim of strengthening co-operation on patents in Europe. Through the EPO's centralised patent granting procedure, inventors are able to obtain high-quality patent protection in up to 44 countries, covering a market of some 700 million people. The EPO is also the world's leading authority in patent information and patent searching.
Director External Communication
EPO Press Desk
Tel. +49 89 2399 1833
Mobile: +49 16 3839 9527