On June 9 the prestigious innovation prize, the European Inventor Award, recognised inventors whose creativity and scientific skills are driving progress in Europe.
The awards, which were held in Lisbon this year, were launched by the European Patent Office in 2006 to give inventors the public recognition they deserve and to incentivise future winners.
“Today’s award ceremony is a tribute to the spirit of innovation and the work of dedicated individuals who through their inventions advance the state of the art for all of us,” said EPO President Benoît Battistelli. “The inventions recognised with this year’s award give new hope to people suffering from disease, increase diagnostic efficiency, protect the environment and save thousands of lives on the road. The significance and impact of the work of these inventors underlines the importance of the European patent system for the benefit of economic strength and technological progress in Europe.”
The 2016 winners in the five categories were:
- Bernhard Gleich, Jürgen Weizenecker and team (Germany)
- Alim-Louis Benabid (France)
Small and medium-sized enterprises
- Tue Johannessen, Ulrich Quaade, Claus Hviid Christensen, Jens Kehlet Nørskov (Denmark)
- Robert Langer (USA)
- Anton van Zanten (Germany, The Netherlands)
- Helen Lee
The winners were presented with a trophy in the shape of a sail, described by the organisers as a “an enduring symbol of exploration and human ingenuity”.
Any member of the public can nominate a person or team for the European Inventor Award, this year nearly 400 proposals were received. The 15 finalists are then chosen by an independent, international jury who evaluate technological originality and social or economic impact. This year their inventions covered a vast range of fields including electronics, nutrition, medical technology, communications and biochemistry.