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European Inventor Award 2024 celebrates global innovators transforming industry and society

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The European Patent Office (EPO) has announced the winners of the European Inventor Award 2024 at a ceremony in Malta. The laureates, selected from a wide array of candidates and finalists, were celebrated for their innovative contributions that span fields such as automotive manufacturing, computer vision, magnet technology, and renewable energy.

This year’s winners of the European Inventor Award were chosen from 16 finalists, out of over 550 initial candidates proposed from around the world. The finalists represent 14 countries: Ukraine, United Kingdom, Tunisia, Germany, Sweden, Brazil, USA, Iceland, Poland, Finland, France, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Malta, and Japan. Many of their innovations aim to improve the everyday lives of people around the world and tackle society’s biggest challenges, such as environmental issues, health, and sustainable energy.

The Laureates

Industry: Fiorenzo Dioni and Richard Oberle, for revolutionising the automotive industry with their high-precision aluminium casting methods. Find out more about the inventors.

Research: Cordelia Schmid, for her contributions to computer science, enabling enhanced machine learning applications that extend into everyday technologies. Find out more about the inventor.

Non-EPO Countries: Masato Sagawa, recognised for creating the strongest permanent magnets, which are crucial in various high-tech applications. Find out more about the inventor.

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SMEs: Olga Malinkiewicz and her team, for advancing solar energy technology with their cost-effective and environmentally friendly perovskite solar cells. Find out more about the inventor.

Lifetime Achievement: Dame Carol Vivien Robinson, whose work in mass spectrometry has significantly advanced biochemical research and medical diagnostics. Find out more about the inventor.

The Popular Prize and Young Inventors Prize

Young Inventors Prize

Launched in 2022, this prize recognizes the initiative and creativity of young people. The winner receives EUR 20,000. The second and third-placed finalists receive EUR 10,000 and EUR 5,000, respectively.

First place: Rochelle Niemeijer, a 29-year-old Dutch scientist, won first place for her portable AI-driven chemistry kit that quickly identifies bacteria causing infections like urinary tract infections. This invention allows for faster and more accurate medical treatment decisions. Find out more about the inventor.

Second place: Valentyn Frechka, a 23-year-old Ukrainian inventor, ranked second for developing a method to turn fallen leaves into sustainably made paper, significantly reducing the need for tree harvesting in paper production. Find out more about the inventor.

Third place: The young Tunisian team of Khaoula Ben Ahmed, Ghofrane Ayari, Souleima Ben Temime, and Sirine Ayari were awarded third place for their innovative smart wheelchair control system, which enhances mobility and autonomy for individuals with physical disabilities. Find out more about the inventor.

Popular Prize

Chosen by the public, this year’s winner is Olga Malinkiewicz, who is also the winner of the SMEs category for her pioneering work in printing solar panels.

Next generation of the Young Inventors Prize in 2025 to take place in Iceland

During today’s ceremony in Malta, the European Patent Office (EPO) announced a new concept for the award, starting in 2025. From next year onward, the award will be held biennially, with the upcoming edition focusing on young innovators below 30 years-old whose inventions address one or more United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). An independent jury of former finalists will evaluate the entries, ensuring a fair and insightful selection process that honours the innovative spirit and achievements of the next generation of inventors. The 2025 edition will be celebrated in Iceland, marking the first of these newly biennial-focused awards, and the nominations period for all technological fields remains open from today until the end of September.

In alternating years, starting in 2026, the EPO will return to the original concept of the European Inventor Award, featuring its traditional categories of ‘Industry’, ‘Research’, ‘SMEs’, ‘Non-EPO countries’, ‘Lifetime Achievement’ and ‘Popular Prize’.

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