Inventors of the year awards 2007: Biodegradable plastics, airbags and medicinal breakthroughs

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Series Details IP/07/512
Publication Date 18/04/2007
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The European Inventor of the Year 2007 awards were handed out at a ceremonial gala held in April 2007.

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Awards went to scientists whose pioneering inventions revolutionised environmental technology, healthcare/medicine and automotive engineering. The following winners, selected by an international jury, received their trophies from Günter Verheugen and Alain Pompidou:

  • Industry
    • Dr Franz Lärmer and Andrea Urban (Robert Bosch GmbH, Stuttgart/Germany) for the Bosch Process, which has revolutionised sensor technology and made possible, among other things, the life-saving airbag;
  • Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs)
    • Dr Catia Bastioli and team (Novamont S.p.a., Novara/Italy) for inventing biodegradable plastics obtained from starch, a renewable raw material;
  • Non-European countries
    • Dr Joseph P. Vacca and team (Merck Research Laboratories, West Point, PA/USA) for inventing Crixivan, a protease inhibitor which has revolutionised HIV treatment worldwide;
  • Lifetime achievement
    • Professor Marc Feldmann (Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, London/GB) for identifying the role of cytokines in the treatment of autoimmune disorders (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis) and finding a treatment which has helped millions of people all over the world.

The European Inventor of the Year awards have been presented jointly by the European Patent Office (EPO) and the European Commission since 2006. They are intended to reward inventors and innovations whose contribution to technical progress in Europe and beyond has been significant, lasting and strengthened the European economy.

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European Commission: Memo, 18/04/2007: Winners of the European Inventor of the Year 2007 awards

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