Industry Spain: European Inventor Award 2016

Editor: Rosemarie Stahl

The European Inventor Award is one of Europe’s most prestigious innovation prizes. It honors inventors whose pioneering inventions provide answers to some of the world’s biggest challenges.

Virna Cerne, Ombretta Polenghi (Italy), nominated for the European Inventor Award 2016 in the category Industry.
Virna Cerne, Ombretta Polenghi (Italy), nominated for the European Inventor Award 2016 in the category Industry.
(Photo: echolot pr GmbH & Co. KG)

When the European Patent Office (EPO) presents the European Inventor Award 2016 on 9 June in Lisbon, one of the 15 finalists will also be crowned winner of the Popular Prize. While the awards in the five categories “Industry”, “Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs)“, “Research”, “Non-European countries” and “Lifetime achievement” are decided by an international jury, the public alone decides which inventor takes home the Popular Prize. Every vote counts and it is easy to take part: An online poll open to everyone runs until 31 May on the EPO Website. All 15 finalists and their inventions are presented there so the public can pick their favourite. Voters will be entered into a draw, giving them the chance to win a prize. One vote is possible every 24 hours until the closing date.


The 15 Competitors and their Categories

Vying to be the public’s pick in the Industry category are Italian food scientists Virna Cerne and Ombretta Polenghi for inventing a gluten substitute from corn, the German team of Bernhard Gleich and Jürgen Weizenecker for Magnetic Particle Imaging (MPI), and the Belgian-French team of Joan Daemen and Pierre-Yvan Liardet for their contribution to the development of secure smartcard encryption.

In the SMEs category, the three finalists in the running are: Danes Tue Johannessen, Ulrich Quaade, Claus Hviid Christensen and Jens Kehlet Nørskov fora novel method for reducing smog from diesel vehicles, French researcher Helen Lee for developing a diagnostic kit for developing countries, as well as Lithuanian scientist Arminas Ragauskas for inventing a safer way of measuring brain pressure by means of ultrasound.

In the category Research, contenders for the Popular Prize are: Frenchman Alim-Louis Benabid, for his invention of a new method for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, Portuguese couple Elvira Fortunato and Rodrigo Martins for developing paper transistors, and Czech engineer Miroslav Sedláček for a fluid turbine that harnesses the energy of slower-moving water to generate electricity.

In Lifetime achievement, the following inventors have a chance of winning the Popular Prize: French cardiologist Alain Carpentier for his implantable artificial heart, the Swede Tore Curstedt, inventor of an effective drug to treat respiratory distress syndrome in premature babies, as well as Dutch-German automotive engineer Anton van Zanten, who developed electronic stability control (ESC) for cars.

In the Non-European countries category, the candidates are: Hugh Herr from the United States for his bionic leg prostheses, Robert Langer, also from the US, for the invention of anti-cancer drugs that are encapsulated in biodegradable plastics, and the Indian-born Stanford University professor Arogyaswami Paulraj, who together with his team developed faster wireless connectivity, which makes it possible to send large amounts of data over frequencies with limited bandwidth.