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European Inventor Award 2021: Meet some of today’s most inspiring innovators at digital event on 17 June


  • Watch the European Inventor Award ceremony online on Thursday, 17 June 2021 at 19:00 CEST
  • Event broadcast at will showcase the stories of remarkable scientists and innovators in an all-new format
  • The public is invited to vote online for their favourite inventor to win the Popular Prize; poll open now at
  • Winners of the Award in all categories will be revealed during the event

Munich, 1 June 2021 – The European Patent Office (EPO) is hosting the first-ever digital edition of the European Inventor Award ceremony on Thursday, 17 June, which viewers will be able to watch at The ceremony, an important event in the science and innovation calendar, will give audiences around the globe an opportunity to learn about outstanding inventors from Europe and beyond who have devised ingenious solutions to some of today’s most pressing problems. The 15 Award finalists have made significant advances in fields ranging from diagnostics and ultrasound imaging to biometrics, sustainable plastic production and wildlife protection.

European Inventor Award 2021: Meet some of today’s most inspiring innovators at digital event on 17 June
European Inventor Award 2021: Meet some of today’s most inspiring innovators at digital event on 17 June

Awards will be presented to the winners of each of the five categories: Industry, Research, SMEs, Non-EPO countries, and Lifetime achievement, in addition to the winner of the Popular Prize, who is selected by the public. Through short films and interviews, and featuring elements of extended reality, the action-packed ceremony will highlight the stories of these remarkable individuals and teams who through their creativity, hard work and perseverance have pushed the boundaries of innovation to develop inventions that are improving our daily lives.

Public vote is open for the Popular Prize
The public is invited to vote for their favourite inventor for the European Inventor Award 2021 Popular Prize. While the winners of the Award's five categories are selected by an independent international jury, it is the public alone that decides who receives the Popular Prize. Voting is easy and open to everyone. Votes can be cast anytime until 17 June at for inventors or teams of inventors from among this year’s 15 finalists. The winner will be announced during the Award ceremony.

The 15 finalists of the European Inventor Award 2021 are:



Non-EPO countries

  • Chinese researchers Bo Pi and Yi He (China) have enabled fingerprint sensors in our smartphones to detect both fingerprints and the presence of blood flow – making them much more secure.
  • Kim Lewis and Slava S. Epstein (USA) have developed a device that enables scientists to cultivate previously inaccessible microbes for drug development.
  • Indian-American chemist Sumita Mitra has invented a nanomaterial-based dental filler that has brought us more robust, durable and aesthetically pleasing fillings.


  • Spanish entrepreneur Carmen Hijosa (Spain) has created a new material made of pineapple leaves as an alternative to leather.
  • British brothers Ben and Pete Kibel have created an innovative fishing hook cover that can prevent commercial longline fishing from killing seabirds.
  • Swedish innovators Henrik Lindström and Giovanni Fili (Sweden) have developed improved flexible solar cells to power our electronic devices.

Lifetime achievement

  • German scientist Metin Colpan has invented efficient tools to analyse nucleic acids, paving the way for rapid and effective genetic data analysis.
  • The work of German physicist Karl Leo has led to the development of highly efficient, cost-effective organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) now found in the screens we use every day.
  • Serbian-American biomedical engineer Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic has devised a novel approach to tissue engineering, opening new horizons in regenerative medicine.

More information

About the European Inventor Award
The European Inventor Award is one of Europe's most prestigious innovation prizes. Launched by the EPO in 2006 and now in its 15th year, it honours individual inventors and teams of inventors whose pioneering inventions provide answers to some of the biggest challenges of our times. The finalists and winners are selected by an independent jury consisting of international authorities from the fields of business, politics, science, academia and research who examine the proposals for their contribution towards technical progress, social development, economic prosperity and job creation in Europe. The Award is conferred in five categories (Industry, Research, SMEs, Non-EPO countries and Lifetime achievement). In addition, the public selects the winner of the Popular Prize from among the 15 finalists through online voting. This year, the Award has been reimagined as a digital ceremony for a global audience, taking place on 17 June at 19:00 CEST. Viewers can watch the ceremony in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish.

About the EPO
With 6 400 staff, the European Patent Office (EPO) is one of the largest public service institutions in Europe. Headquartered in Munich with offices in Berlin, Brussels, The Hague and Vienna, the EPO was founded with the aim of strengthening co-operation on patents in Europe. Through the EPO's centralised patent granting procedure, inventors are able to obtain high-quality patent protection in up to 44 countries, covering a market of some 700 million people. The EPO is also the world's leading authority in patent information and patent searching.

Media contacts European Patent Office
Luis Berenguer Giménez
Principal Director Communication, Spokesperson
Tel.: +49 89 2399 1203