European Inventor Award

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The European Inventor Award or European Inventor awards are presented annually by the European Patent Office, supported by the respective Presidency of the Council of the European Union and by the European Commission, to inventors who have made a significant contribution to innovation, economy and society in Europe. Inventions from all technological fields are considered for this award. The winners in each category are presented with an award shaped like a sail. There is no cash prize associated with the award.

The prize was formerly known as European Inventor of the Year Award and was renamed in 2010.

Award categories[edit]

The European Inventor Award is presented in the following five categories:

  • Industry
  • SMEs
  • Research
  • Non-European countries
  • Lifetime achievement

Since 2013, the public is invited to vote on the EPO website in order to select the winner of a Popular Prize from among the finalists.[1]

Nomination and selection[edit]

Each year the European Patent Office calls on its patent examiners, on examiners at the patent offices in the EPO's member states and on public at large to propose inventions for the award that were patented at the European Patent Office and have made a significant contribution towards innovation, economy and society in Europe.

A shortlist of nominees is then drawn up from the proposals and submitted to an international jury. The independent jury selects three inventors in each category for the final round, and eventually chooses the winners.

European Inventor Award 2014[edit]

The 2014 award ceremony was held in Berlin at Deutsche Telekom's Berlin Representative Office (Former Kaiserliches Telegrafenamt) on 17 June. The 2014 winners were:

  • Industry: Koen Andries (BE), Jérôme Guillemont (FR), Imre Csoka (FR), Laurence F.F. Marconnet-Decrane (FR), Frank C. Odds (UK), Jozef F.E. Van Gestel (BE), Marc Venet (FR), Daniel Vernier (FR) for their invention: the drug against multi-resistant tuberculosis
  • SMEs: Peter Holme Jensen, Claus Hélix-Nielsen, Danielle Keller (DK) for their energy-efficient water purification
  • Lifetime Achievement: Artur Fischer (DE) for his wall plug, synchronised flash and many more
  • Popular Prize Winner: Masahiro Hara, Takayuki Nagaya, Motoaki Watabe, Tadao Nojiri, Yuji Uchiyama (JP) for developing the QR code,

European Inventor Award 2013[edit]

The 2013 award ceremony was held in Amsterdam at Beurs van Berlage in the presence of Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands. The 2013 winners[2] were:

The 2013 winners[4] are:

  • Industry: Claus Hämmerle and Klaus Brüstle (Austria) from Austrian manufacturer Julius Blum for their invention of a damper system for soft closing of furniture doors, drawers and wall cabinets called Blumotion.
  • Research: Patrick Couvreur, Barbara Stella, Véronique Rosilio, Luigi Cattel (France, Italy) for their invention of nano-capsules which destroy cancer cells without harming healthy tissue.
  • SMEs: Pål Nyrén (Sweden) for inventing pyrosequencing ─ a far faster, less complicated and cheaper method of sequencing DNA strands.
  • Lifetime Achievement: Martin Schadt (Switzerland), inventor of the world's first flat-panel liquid crystal display, better known as LCD.
  • Non-European countries: Ajay V. Bhatt, Bala Sudarshan Cadambi, Jeff Morriss, Shaun Knoll, Shelagh Callahan (USA), for creating and developing Universal Serial Bus (USB) technology.

For the first time, the public was invited to vote in order to select the winner of a Popular Prize from among the 15 finalists.[3] The winner in this category is José Luis López Gómez (Spain) from Patentes Talgo, whose invention to use a unique ‘independent guided' wheel design rather than a standard axle on high-speed passenger trains makes those trains some of the most comfortable and safe in the industry.

European Inventor Award 2012[edit]

The 2012 award ceremony was held in Copenhagen at the Royal Danish Playhouse in the presence of Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark. The 2012 winners[4] were

  • Industry: Jan Tøpholm, Søren Westermann and Svend Vitting Andersen (Denmark), for their tailor-made hearing aid.
  • Research: Gilles Gosselin, Jean-Louis Imbach and Martin L. Bryant (France), for their new drug for hepatitis B treatment.
  • SMEs: Manfred Stefener, Oliver Freitag and Jens Müller (Germany), for their portable direct methanol fuel cell.
  • Lifetime Achievement: Josef Bille (Germany), for his device for laser eye surgery.
  • Non-European countries: John O' Sullivan, Graham Daniels, Terence Percival, Diethelm Ostry and John Deane (Australia), for their contribution to wireless LAN for high speed data transfer (Wi-Fi).

European Inventor Award 2011[edit]

The 2011 award ceremony took place at the historic Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Budapest. The 2011 winners[5] were

  • Lifetime Achievement: Per-Ingvar Brånemark (Sweden). He is the pioneer of osseointegration, now a widely practised medical method based on titanium implants, which creates a stable connection between the implant and bone. Today it is a standard implant technique among dentists and is widely used in reconstructive surgery. Millions of people worldwide have benefited from his landmark method.
  • Industry: Ann Lambrechts, Bekaert (Belgium). Lambrechts' invention has opened up a world of new architectural possibilities by improving the bending strength of reinforced concrete structures. The steel fibre elements that she developed greatly increase the tensile strength of concrete, reduce construction time and have enabled many spectacular new structures such as the Gotthard tunnel.
  • SMEs: Jens Dall Bentzen, Dall Energy Aps (Denmark). His special low-emission furnace burns biofuels with a moisture content of up to 60% and is therefore ideal for eco-friendly, highly efficient and hence inexpensive power generation from biomass in factories and production plants.
  • Research: Christine Van Broeckhoven, Vlaams Interuniversitair Instituut voor Biotechnologie (Belgium). Her pioneering method for identifying disease genes in Alzheimer's sufferers paved the way for the development of modern drugs and treatments to combat Alzheimer's disease. Each of the genes and proteins that Broeckhoven has identified acts as potential "target" for researchers working to develop treatments for neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Non-European countries: Ashok Gadgil, Vikas Garud, University of California/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, WaterHealth International (USA/India). Using gravity and a carefully planned hydraulics design to ensure even water flow, their UV disinfection device requires only a 40 watt UV light bulb to disinfect 1 000 litres of water per hour. The water purification device has been installed in more than ten countries worldwide, delivering clean water to over two million people.

European Inventor Award 2010[edit]

Renamed the European Inventor Award, the 2010 awards ceremony took place in Madrid, Spain on 28 April 2010. The ceremony at the Eurostars Tower Hotel was attended by Their Royal Highnesses Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia of Asturias.

The 2010 winners[6] were

  • SMEs/Research: Jürgen Pfitzer and Helmut Nägele (Germany), who made a breakthrough by developing an easily formable, biodegradable organic polymer.
  • Industry: Albert Markendorf (Switzerland) and Raimund Loser (Germany), whose portable 3D scanning and measuring system opened up a new level of accuracy in industrial measuring systems and revolutionised the field.
  • Non-European countries: Sanjai Kohli and Steven Chen (USA), whose work paved the way for GPS systems that are used commercially and are a part of our everyday lives (joint winners).
  • Non-European countries: Ben Wiens and Danny Epps (Canada), who developed electrochemical fuel cells which are now a commercially successful alternative to fossil fuels (joint winners).
  • Lifetime Achievement: Wolfgang Krätschmer (Germany), who discovered a whole new field of research in physics.[7]

European Inventor of the Year 2009[edit]

The European Inventor of the Year ceremony 2009 took place at Prague Castle in the Czech Republic on 28 April 2009.

The 2009 winners were

  • Industry: Jürg Zimmermann (Switzerland) and Brian Drucker (USA) for the invention of an effective drug to combat chronic myelogenous leukaemia.[8]
  • SMEs/Research: Joseph Le Mer (France) for inventing a heat exchanger of such a brilliantly simple design that it makes heating systems both inexpensive and energy-efficient.[9]
  • Non-European countries: Zhou Yiqing and his team (China) for an anti-malaria drug based on a herbal agent, which has been instrumental in saving hundreds of thousands of lives.[10]
  • Lifetime Achievement: Adolf Goetzberger (Germany) for his work on the commercial use of solar energy, helping to make solar cells a viable alternative to fossil fuels.[11]

European Inventor of the Year 2008[edit]

The third European Inventor of the Year awards took place in Ljubljana on 6 May 2008, marking Slovenia's presidency of the EU Council in the first half of 2008. Prizes were presented to inventors - individuals and teams - in four categories.

The 2008 winners were

  • Industry: Norbert Enning, Ulrich Klages, Heinrich Timm, Gundolf Kreis, Alois Feldschmid, Christian Dornberg and Karl Reiter, Audi (Germany) for revolutionising automotive manufacturing by making car frames lighter and safer through the use of aluminium.[12]
  • SMEs/Research: Douglas Anderson, Robert Henderson and Roger Lucas of Scotland's SME Optos (United Kingdom) for developing a new laser scanning technology for the eye which allows powerful but pain-free examination of the retina.[13]
  • Non-European countries: Philip S. Green, SRI International (USA) for developing a robotic surgical system that has helped to improve surgery in Europe by allowing surgeons to perform complex procedures with the highest precision.[14]
  • Lifetime Achievement: Erik De Clercq, University of Leuven (Belgium) for landmark contributions to antiviral treatment, including the development of the drug cocktail for AIDS which has become the gold standard of our day.[15]

European Inventor of the Year 2007[edit]

The second European Inventor of the Year awards took place at the International Congress Center in Munich, Germany on 18 April 2007. Prizes were presented to inventors - individuals and teams - in four categories.

The 2007 winners were

  • Industry: Franz Lärmer and Andrea Urban, Bosch GmbH (Germany), for their Bosch Process[16]
  • SMEs/Research: Catia Bastioli and her team at Novamont S.p.a (Italy), for inventing biodegradable plastics made from starch[17]
  • Non-European countries: Joseph P. Vacca and the team at Merck Research Laboratories (USA), for Crixivan, a protease inhibitor[18]
  • Lifetime Achievement: Marc Feldmann, Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology (United Kingdom), for identifying the role of cytokines in the treatment of autoimmune disorders[19]

European Inventor of the Year 2006[edit]

The first European Inventor of the Year awards took place at the AutoWorld Museum in Brussels on 3 May 2006. Prizes were presented in six categories.

The 2006 winners were

  • Industry: Zbigniew Janowicz and Cornelis Hollenberg, who invented a method for making proteins in Hansenula yeast[20]
  • SMEs: Stephen P.A. Fodor, Michael C. Pirrung, J. Leighton Read and Lubert Stryer for their invention of the DNA chip[21]
  • Research: Peter Grünberg for his discovery of the giant-magnetoresistance effect, or GMR[22]
  • New EU member states: John Starrett, Joanne Bronson, John Martin, Muzammil Mansuri and David Tortolani, for their prodrugs of phosphonates[23]
  • Non-European countries: Larry Gold and Craig Tuerk, who found out that nucleic acids can bind a protein to potentially intercept other proteins that cause diseases like AMD[24]
  • Lifetime Achievement: Federico Faggin, for inventing the microprocessor[25]

Jury[edit]

The 2013 jury comprises

  • Jens Dall Bentzen, biomass scientist, owner of Denmark-based Dall Energy Aps
  • Wolfgang Heckl, Director General of the Deutsches Museum and professor of scientific communication at the School of Education at the Munich University of Technology
  • Ann Lambrechts, Head of R&D for Building Products at NV Bekaert (Belgium).
  • Peter Marsh, manufacturing editor at the Financial Times
  • Mario Moretti Polegato, inventor of the Geox shoe
  • Blanka Říhová, professor, researcher in the field of anti-cancer drug development.
  • Ernő Rubik, architect, designer, university professor and inventor of the Rubik's Cube
  • Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament and leader of the Party of European Socialists (PES).
  • Thierry Sueur, Vice President of Intellectual Property and of European and International Affairs at Air Liquide

The jury in 2011 was

  • Jerzy Buzek, President of the European Parliament
  • Wolfgang Heckl, Director General of the Deutsches Museum
  • Bowman Heiden, Innovation Director for the Qatar Science & Technology Park
  • Emma Marcegaglia, Managing Director of Marcegaglia s.p.a. and President of Confindustria
  • Ernő Rubik, architect, designer, university professor and inventor of the Rubik's Cube
  • Margarita Salas, President of Royal Board of the National Library of Spain and the Institute of Predictive and Personalized Medicine of Cancer
  • Thierry Sueur, Vice President of Intellectual Property and of European and International Affairs at Air Liquide

The jury in 2009–2010 was

  • Jürgen Dormann, Chairman of the board at Metall Zug AG
  • Zbyněk Frolík, Managing Director of LINET spol. s r.o.
  • Bowman Heiden, Operations Director for the Qatar Science & Technology Park
  • Jonathan Liebenau, Reader in Technology Management at the London School of Economics
  • Emma Marcegaglia, Managing Director of Marcegaglia s.p.a.
  • Olivier Tardy, Senior Partner and Managing Director at the Boston Consulting Group in Paris
  • Sylvester Vizi, former President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences
  • Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker, Secretary General of the European Research Council

The jury in 2007–2009 was

  • Nani Beccalli-Falco, President and CEO of GE International in Brussels, Belgium
  • Franjo Bobinac, President of the Management Board and CEO of Gorenje gospondinjski aparati in Velenje, Slovenia
  • Kastitis Gecas, Director of the Lithuanian Innovation Centre in Vilnius, Lithuania
  • N. R. Narayana Murthy, Chairman and Chief Mentor at Infosys Technologies Limited in Bangalore, India
  • Ruud Peters, Executive Vice President and CEO of Philips International in Eindhoven, The Netherlands
  • Edoardo Tusacciu, President of PlastWood s.r.l in Calangianus, Italy
  • Eugene van As, Chairman at Sappi Limited in Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Carmen Vela Olmo, Managing Director of INGENASA in Madrid, Spain
  • Wang Zhibiao, President of the Chongqing Haifu Technology Co., Ltd in Chongqing, China

For the 2006 awards, the jury comprised

  • Wim Kok, former Prime Minister, the Netherlands (chairman)
  • Gilles Capart, Chairman of PROTON Europe, Belgium
  • Dimitri F. Dimitriou, CEO of DyoDelta Biosciences, United Kingdom
  • Leif Edvinsson, Director of Intellectual Capital at Skandia, Sweden
  • Robert Peugot, Executive Vice President at PSA Peugeot-Citroën, France
  • Maive Rute, SME Envoy for the European Commission, Estonia

References[edit]

  1. ^ Popular Prize for the European Inventor Award
  2. ^ European Inventor Award 2013 nominees and winners
  3. ^ Popular Prize for the European Inventor Award 2013
  4. ^ European Inventor Award 2012 nominees and winners
  5. ^ European Inventor Award 2011 nominees and winners
  6. ^ European Inventor Award 2010 nominees and winners
  7. ^ EU press release: European Inventors of the year 2010– The most inventive minds in Europe
  8. ^ European Inventor of the Year 2009 in the category "Industry"
  9. ^ European Inventor of the Year 2009 in the category "SMEs and research"
  10. ^ European Inventor of the Year 2009 in the category "Non-European Inventors"
  11. ^ European Inventor of the Year 2009 in the category "Lifetime achievement"
  12. ^ European Inventor of the Year 2008 in the category "Industry"
  13. ^ European Inventor of the Year 2008 in the category "SMEs and research"
  14. ^ European Inventor of the Year 2008 in the category "non European Inventors"
  15. ^ European Inventor of the Year 2008 in the category "lifetime achievement"
  16. ^ European Inventor of the Year 2007 in the category "Industry"
  17. ^ European Inventor of the Year 2007 in the category "SMEs/research"
  18. ^ European Inventor of the Year 2007 in the category "Non-European inventors"
  19. ^ European Inventor of the Year 2007 in the category "Lifetime achievement"
  20. ^ European Inventor of the Year 2006 in the category "Industry"
  21. ^ European Inventor of the Year 2006 in the category "Small and medium-sized enterprises"
  22. ^ European Inventor of the Year 2006 in the category "Universities and research institutes"
  23. ^ European Inventor of the Year 2006 in the category "New EU member states"
  24. ^ European Inventor of the Year 2006 in the category "Non-European countries"
  25. ^ European Inventor of the Year 2006 in the category "Lifetime achievement"

External links[edit]