INNSBRUCK, Austria -- The European Patent Office (EPO) officially announced the nominees for this year's European Inventor Award. Among the three nominees of the category lifetime achievement are Dr. Ingeborg and Prof. Dr. Erwin Hochmair, both founders of the MED-EL company. In the 1970s the scientists laid the foundation for the development of the first micro-electronic multi-channel cochlear implant and have since then opened the world of hearing to over 100,000 people suffering hearing loss. The European Inventor Award annually honors scientists worldwide who substantially contribute to the technological progress and economic growth. Among the winners in the category lifetime achievement are scientists like the physician Martin Schadt for the invention of the LCD technology or Virologist Erik De Clercq for his contribution to antiviral therapy. The official presentation of the award winner will take place on 17th June in Berlin, Germany.
It's about the spirit of invention
The European Inventor Award was initiated by the EPO in 2006. The key premise for the jury is the inventors' creativity, which brings forward technological progress and helps improve the daily lives of many people in the world. "The development and launch of the first micro-electronic multi-channel cochlear implant changed the lives of many hearing impaired people. Thanks to this high-tech device and the technology of electrical stimulation people with severe-to-profound hearing loss are given the chance to hear again and lead a normal life", justifies the EPO the nomination of Dr. Ingeborg and Prof. Dr. Erwin Hochmair. Along with them, scientists from the areas of medicine and electrical engineering are also nominated for the category lifetime achievement.
Interdisciplinary research from the beginning
The foundation for the development of the modern cochlear implant was laid in the 1970s by Ingeborg and Erwin Hochmair at the Vienna University of Technology. In 1977 the first micro-electronic multi-channel cochlear implant, developed by the two scientists, was successfully inserted in Vienna for the first time. "We are very pleased about the nomination. To be nominated once more puts public emphasis on the topic of hearing loss and the chances given through cochlear implantation", say Dr. Ingeborg and Prof. Dr. Erwin Hochmair.