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European Inventor Award

Jury members

Jury meeting 2017 The independent jury that judges proposals for the European Inventor Award consists of international authorities in the fields of business, science, academia and research. In 2017, the jury is chaired by Mario Moretti Polegato.


Eleni Antoniadou

is a multidisciplinary researcher in regenerative medicine, artificial organ bioengineering and space medicine. Her focus is on the development of artificial organs based on stem cells, as an alternative therapeutic technique to transplant surgery. She is co-founder of start-up initiative “Transplants Without Donors”, serves as President of the European Health Parliament in Brussels and works to raise awareness about organ trafficking. Dr Antoniadou has received several awards, including the NASA-ESA Award in 2012, the UK's Young Business Woman of the Year award in 2015 and the Giuseppe Sciacca International Award for Science and Research in 2016.

José Luís Arnaut

served as Portuguese Deputy Prime Minister between 2002 and 2004. His other government appointments include Minister for Cities, Local Administration, Housing and Regional Development, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Parliament and Chairman of the Parliamentary Commission for National Defence of the Parliament of the Portuguese Republic. A member of the Portuguese Bar since 1991, and American Bar Associations since 1992, he has been practising as a European Patent Attorney and, since 1996, as a European Trademarks Attorney at the Office for Harmonisation of the Internal Market of the European Union and Official Agent of Intellectual Property at the Instituto Nacional da Propriedade Industrial. Mr Arnaut is Managing Partner of CMS Rui Pena & Arnaut, a law firm with a leading position in the Portuguese market. He is also a member of the Executive Board of the European law firm CMS Legal.

António Campinos

has been Executive Director of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) since 2010. He previously held the roles of IP Commissioner and President of the Directive Council of the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) of Portugal and Chairman of the Ad Hoc working group on the Legal Development of the Madrid System for the International Registration of Marks. From 2005 to 2007, he was head of the Portuguese delegation to EUIPO’s Administrative Board, becoming Chairman in 2007, prior to his election as President. Since 2013, Mr Campinos has also served as President of the Administrative Council of the Centre d’Études Internationales de la Propiété Intellectuelle (CEIPI).

Virna Cerne

is the director of the Research & Development Centre and a member of the Executive Board at the Dr Schär group in Triest, Italy. Ms Cerne and her team are at the forefront of gluten-free baked goods development, and medical nutrition. They also offer solutions for other specific nutritional requirements. Ms Cerne holds a master's degree in Food Science and Technology from the University of Udine.

Tore Curstedt

is one of the world's foremost experts in surfactant research, and together with Bengt Robertson developed the market-leading animal-derived surfactant Curosurf (=CUrstedt-RObertson-SURFactant) which has saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of preterm babies with respiratory distress syndrome. During a career as a laboratory physician spanning over 40 years, Professor Curstedt has published about 200 original articles and more than 30 review articles, as well as contributing to a number of books. He retired in 2013 from his position as assistant director at the Karolinska University Laboratory, and is now engaged in clinical trials aimed at bringing to market a cost-effective synthetic surfactant manufactured entirely without animal products. For his pioneering efforts in reducing infant mortality, Curstedt has received numerous awards, including the Swedish Heart-Lung Foundation's Lars Werkö Prize (2004; jointly with Bengt Robertson) and the Chiesi Prize for Excellence in Neonatology (2011).

Dora Groó

is responsible for international affairs at the Institute of Fisheries and Aquaculture of Hungary's National Agricultural Research and Innovation Centre, and President of the Association of Hungarian Women in Science. A medical doctor by training, she has a PhD in experimental medicine. Dr Groó was Director of the Hungarian Science and Technology Foundation for 18 years, and has been working on European research framework programmes since 1999. She has represented Hungary in the Enwise expert group (ENlarge "Women In Science" to the East) and participated in several gender-related international projects. Dr Groó is national representative for the COST Action genderSTE, and Board of Administration member of the European Platform of Women Scientists.

Wolfgang M. Heckl

Director General of the Deutsches Museum in Munich, holds the Oskar von Miller chair for science communication as a professor of experimental physics and nanotechnology at the Technical University in Munich. He received the Communicator Prize from the German Science Foundation and was awarded the European Descartes Prize for Science Communication. He is spokesman of nanotechnology at the National Academy of Science and Engineering acatech and chairman of the board of the Max-Planck-Institute for the Science of Light. He is the author of more than 200 peer review publications, and recently wrote a bestselling book entitled Die Kultur der Reparatur.

Roger Highfield

is the Director of External Affairs at the Science Museum Group, a collection of British museums devoted to the history and contemporary practice of science, medicine, technology, industry and media. He has twenty years’ experience as science editor of the Daily Telegraph and was editor of the New Scientist between 2008 and 2011. Mr Highfield has won or been shortlisted for many awards, including the British Press Awards. He has written or co-authored seven popular science books, and had thousands of articles published in newspapers and magazines.

Ingeborg Hochmair

holds a PhD in electrical engineering from the Technical University of Vienna. She is CEO, CTO and co-founder of MED-EL Medical Electronics Corporation, which she founded together with her husband Dr Erwin Hochmair in 1990. Together, they developed the very first microelectronic multichannel cochlear implant. She has received two honorary degrees in medicine for her pioneering scientific work and her continuing contribution to the development of implantable devices for people with hearing loss.

Helen Lee

is a researcher with an outstanding career in diagnostics. Dr Lee withdrew from the world of business in the mid-1990s to focus on research. In 1996, she started her ongoing pursuit of technologies and diagnostic assays for resource-strapped regions, as head of the Diagnostics Development Unit at Cambridge University. The unit has filed 12 families of patent applications, and holds around 20 national patents. In 2002, Dr Lee founded the company Diagnostics for the Real World Ltd, and has chaired the Diagnostic Steering Committee at the World Health Organization. She is also the recipient of the 2005 Lord Lloyd Kilgerran Award, the 2006 British Female Inventor in Industry Award, the 2006 European Women of Achievement Award and the 2007 Asian Women of Achievement Award.

Angelika Niebler

is a German politician and member of the European Parliament (MEP) for Bavaria with the Christian Social Union, and co-chair of the Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union Group in the EPP Group. Professor Niebler currently serves as vice-chair of the CSU party, and sits on the European Parliament's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, and its Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality. She is a substitute member of the Committee on Legal Affairs, a member of the Delegation for relations with the Arab Peninsula and a substitute member of the delegation to the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee. She also serves as a member of the European Parliament Intergroup on the Digital Agenda and the European Parliament's Sky and Space Intergroup. Professor Niebler was chair of the Parliamentary Committee on Industry, Research and Energy that created the European Research Council. Since 1991, she has worked as a lawyer in different law firms in Munich (since 2015 as of-counsel at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher). Since 2009, she has been lecturing at the Faculty of Business Management at the Munich University of Applied Sciences.

Mario Moretti Polegato - chair of the jury

is the inventor of the Geox shoe, whose innovative, breathable technology has earned him numerous accolades, including CNBC European Business Leaders' 2010 Innovator of the Year and Ernst & Young's 2002 Entrepreneur of the Year. Moretti Polegato is Chairman of the Italian Geox Group, which has grown into one of the world's top casual footwear companies. He also lectures on the subject of intellectual property at schools and universities throughout the world. He is Chairman of the International Advisory Board of Cardenal Herrera University in Valencia.