European Inventor Award 2019: Vote now for your favourite inventor to receive the Popular Prize

  • European Patent Office (EPO) invites members of the public to vote online and select the winner of the Popular Prize from among the 15 European Inventor Award finalists; winner will be announced at Award ceremony in Vienna on 20 June
  • Online poll is open until 23:59 hrs CET on 16 June 2019 at https://popular-prize.epo.org/
  • Inventions cover wide range of technology fields including eco-packaging, rechargeable batteries, genetics, agriculture, video coding, cancer diagnosis, electronic microscopy, advanced driver assistance systems in cars and plastic recycling
  • Award ceremony will be broadcast live on Innovation TV and Facebook

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.

15 outstanding inventors and teams contending for the
Popular Prize

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.

More information about the Popular Prize is available at:

About the European Inventor Award

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.  

About the EPO

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.  

Media resources

  • Additional information, photos and videos about the European Inventor Award 2019 can be found in the EPO Media Centre.
  • Smart TV users can download our app “Innovation TV” and watch videos about all finalists on their TV screen.
  • The award ceremony on 20 June will be broadcast live on “Innovation TV”, the EPO website and the EPO’s Facebook page.

Media contacts European Patent Office

Jana Mittermaier
Director External Communication

Rainer Osterwalder
Press Spokesperson

EPO Press Desk
Tel. +49 89 2399 1833
Mobile: +49 16 3839 9527
press@epo.org

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