The European Inventor Award is one of Europe’s most prestigious innovation prizes. This year marked the 10th edition of the annual award which was held at the Palais Brongniart (La Bourse) in Paris, France. Launched by the EPO in 2006, it honours individual inventors and teams of inventors whose pioneering inventions provide answers to some of the biggest challenges of our times. The winners were selected by an independent jury consisting of international authorities in the fields of business, science, academia and research, who examined the proposals in terms of their contribution towards technical progress, social development, wealth and job creation in Europe.
More than 300 individuals and teams of inventors were proposed for this year’s award, 15 of whom were selected as finalists by the independent international jury. The 2015 finalists were from 11 countries: Austria, Australia, China, France, Japan, Latvia, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and the US. Their inventions covered a wide range of technological fields including biochemistry, civil engineering, energy, electronics, industrial chemistry, material science, medical technology, nutrition and physics.
The 2015 finalists in the five categories were:
- Industry: Jean-Christophe Giron (France) – Gunnar Asplund (Sweden) – Franz Amtmann, Philippe Maugars (Austria, France)
- Small and medium-sized enterprises: Laura van ‘t Veer (Netherlands) – Michel Lescanne (France) – John Elvesjö and Mårten Skogö (Sweden)
- Research: Luke Alphey (United Kingdom) – Hendrik Marius Jonkers (Netherlands) – Ludwik Leibler (France)
- Non-European countries: Ian Frazer, Jian Zhou (Australia, China) – Sumio Iijima, Akira Koshio, Masako Yudasaka (Japan) – Elizabeth Holmes (USA)
- Lifetime achievement: Ivars Kalvins (Latvia) – Kornelis A. Schouhamer Immink (Netherlands) – Andreas Manz (Switzerland)
“These ground-breaking inventions showcase Europe’s role as a prime technology region and a hub of innovation for inventors from all over the world,” said EPO President Benoît Battistelli. “The European patent system not only provides appropriate conditions to inventors from around the world for realising their creativity but also incentivises investors and entrepreneurs to strengthen their R&D activities and thus contribute to the economic prosperity of a region of 600 million people. These inventions once again show that the development of the European economy lies in its innovative capacity.”