2015 European Inventor Awards - The Winners...
So the dust has settled, after the votes were counted, and the prestigious 2015 European Inventor Awards have been announced. Here are the winners in their respective categories...
Related further reading...
Lifetime Achievement Award
Andreas Manz (Switzerland) was honoured for the invention of microlab chip technology Thanks to his work it is now possible to conduct complex medical, biological or chemical analyses quickly and efficiently on microchips no bigger than just a few millimetres in size. The pioneer in research on microfluidics therefore paved the way for point-of-care diagnostics now used throughout the world. Another ground-breaking variation of the lab-on-a-chip from Manz is its use for rapid DNA testing for the prevention of hereditary diseases.
As a diabetic myself, every day I marvel at my blood glucose level tester and give silent thanks to Andreas Manz and his fantasic invention.
Ian Frazer (Australia) and the late Jian Zhou (China) received the Popular Prize for their invention of the world's first vaccine against cervical cancer. Gardasil is a breakthrough as it protects girls and women from the cancer-causing human papillomavirus (HPV), and has already saved the lives of large numbers of women worldwide.
The Popular Prize is decided solely by the public who pick their favourite from among the15 finalists in an online poll. The public's choice was clear this year, with the Australian-Chinese research team receiving more than 32% percent of the 47 000 votes cast online. The total number of votes more than doubled over last year.
Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME's)
Laura van 't Veer (Netherlands) was awarded the prize for the invention of a gene-based tissue test which makes it possible to offer targeted treatment for breast cancer. It provides women in the early stage of breast cancer with a reliable prognosis as to whether chemotherapy is actually necessary.
The technology has already helped over 40 000 women with treatment for cancer, and means that nowadays 20 to 30 per cent fewer women have to undergo lengthy chemotherapy.
Franz Amtmann (Austria) and Philippe Maugars (France), together with their teams at Dutch company NXP Semiconductors, received the award for their contribution to the development of Near Field Communication (NFC) - a contact-free, secure technology for data transfer between mobile devices. The invention opens up an almost unlimited range of new possibilities for mobile devices - enabling smartphones, for example, to be used in future as virtual wallets, controls for smart homes, access to secure areas, or as a tool for Industry 4.0 applications. NFC has advanced security on the basis of minimum transmission distances and data encryption.
Ludwik Leibler (France) was honoured for the invention of vitrimers: a new class of plastics which has the potential to stem the mountains of plastic waste. The material can be repaired easily and is completely recyclable. In the solid state the new glass-like plastic is stable, but when heated it can be repeatedly shaped and turned into complex objects by welding. Vitrimers therefore offer a lightweight and robust alternative to glass or metals, making them suitable for use in aircraft and vehicle manufacturing, and in the electronics, construction and sports industries.
Sumio Iijima, Akira Koshio and Masako Yudasaka (Japan) received the award for the ground-breaking discovery of carbon nanotubes, a previously unknown structural form of carbon, and for the development of a sustainable process to produce them. Carbon nanotubes make computers faster, car and aircraft parts more stable, and solar modules more efficient. The manufacturing process developed by the Japanese team of researchers makes it possible to even use carbon nanotubes for cancer treatment in bio-medicine.
"The inventors honoured today have contributed immensely to advancing technology. Their inventions improve our everyday lives, create economic value, generate employment and even save lives. The inventiveness and creativity of the award winners highlight Europe's role as a prime technology region for inventors from all over the world. The European patent system provides the appropriate conditions for inventors seeking protection for their inventions in up to 38 member states," said EPO President Benoît Battistelli at the award ceremony.
So that's it for another year and our warmest congratulations to the winners in this 10th anniversary year of the European Inventor Award.
It doesn't stop there though, nominations from all over the world are welcome for next years event. The only proviso is that nominees must hold a European Patent.
To nominate go to:
For more information about the awards:
To see all of the fifteen finalists for 2015 go to:
To look back at last year go to:
Of further interest:
Jian Zhou's widow,
Xiao Yi Sun (pictured above), still works with Ian Frazer and accepted the award on her late husbands behalf.
Philippe Maugars (Left) and Franz Amtmann.
(L-R) Akira Koshio, Sumio Iijima, and Masako Yudasaka.
The 10th jubilee edition of the European Inventor Award was held on 11 June 2015 at the Palais Brongniart (La Bourse) in Paris, France.