The ceremony livestream for the winners can be accessed in this article on 21 June from 11:30 CEST.
The world would be a very different place if Germany hadn’t given us the printing press, Italy hadn’t given us the radio and Ukraine given us the X-ray.
History is shaped by such inventions and it is no exaggeration to say that the future of the planet may depend on them.
The European Patent Office (EPO) celebrates the best and most innovative breakthroughs in its annual European Inventor Award, which will take place in a virtual ceremony on 21 June.
New to 2022 is the Young Inventors prize, which pays tribute to the creativity and genius of international innovators aged 30 or under. Entry into this category isn’t dependent on a granted European patent, but honours those who are working towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals by offering technological solutions, helping to shape a better future for mankind.
“Their ingenuity and perseverance are an inspiration for all of us, and underline the vital role that the next generation of innovators will play in building a more sustainable world,” says EPO President António Campinos.
This year’s Young Inventors prize finalists are Brazilian Rafaella de Bona Gonçalves, who has developed biodegradable menstruation products to combat period poverty; Victor Dewulf from Belgium and Peter Hedley from the UK with an AI-driven waste recognition and sorting system; and American student Erin Smith, who has developed an app that uses video footage to detect the early signs of Parkinson’s disease.
A virtual ceremony accessible to all
The online event will open with a pre-show at 11:30 CEST with an informal discussion between science influencers Teresa Arnandis (@ladyscienceoffical) and Martin Skadal (@skadal), President Campinos, jury member and former finalist Carmen Hijosa, and Baptiste Borowczak, an intern from the EPO’s Pan-European Seal programme. They will take a closer look at emerging technologies, sustainability, innovation and the role of younger generations in these areas.
There will also be a look at this year’s European Inventor Award finalists competing for prizes in four categories: Industry, Research, Non-EPO countries and SMEs. A Lifetime achievement award will also be conferred on one inventor with an extraordinary career and life story; someone who has made an outstanding contribution to their field, one that has saved countless lives.
The Award ceremony will kick off at 12:00 CEST and celebrate the finalists, whose work spans the fields of sustainability, health, climate, energy and manufacturing, with initiatives ranging from a robotic exoskeleton for children who use wheelchairs, to a method of using plants to extract metal elements from polluted soil.
They include profoundly important health breakthroughs, such as a therapeutic cancer vaccine, and tools to make everyday life easier, such as the easy-open fastener dreamt up by a cellist seeking a one-handed solution to unclipping his bow.
An independent, international jury made up of former finalists has selected this year’s finalists from a long list of candidates put forward by EPO staff, national patent offices across Europe, and members of the public.