Press release

British scientist named one of Europe’s top inventors

British scientist Luke Alphey has been named as one of Europe’s top inventors by the 2015 European Inventor Award.

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British scientist and entrepreneur Luke Alphey today (11 June 2015) joined an elite group of innovators as he was named one of Europe’s top inventors by the 2015 European Inventor Award for his ground-breaking work on the control of mosquitos.

Launched by the European Patent Office (EPO) in 2006, the European Inventor Award is one of Europe’s most prestigious innovation prizes, honouring individuals and teams whose pioneering work provides answers to some of the biggest challenges of our times.

Nominated in the highly competitive research category, Luke narrowly missed out on the top prize but was praised for his ground-breaking research into infectious diseases and mosquitoes.

Intellectual Property Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe said:

We are delighted that Luke’s hard work was rewarded with this nomination. Now in its tenth year, the European Inventor Award showcases the importance of intellectual property (IP) in supporting innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship.

As part of the UK’s long-term economic plan we will continue to deliver an IP system that supports our innovators, creators and entrepreneurs. This will make sure that Luke, and others like him, maintain the UK’s position as one of the best places in Europe to innovate and protect new ideas - and the best place to set up or expand a business.

Luke has successfully developed a patented method to control insect pests that damage crops and spread disease.

By programming an extra gene into mosquito DNA, the resulting mosquito larvae is unable to reach reproductive maturity. The invention has been trialed in countries around the world to control the invasive Aedes aegypti mosquito that spreads painful infectious diseases such as dengue fever, yellow fever and chikungunya.

Notes to editors

  1. The UK Intellectual Property Office is responsible for Intellectual Property (IP) rights in the United Kingdom, including patents, designs, trademarks and copyright. The UK sees IP enforcement, whether civil or criminal, as crucial for innovation and economic growth, and supports the coordination and cooperation across the IP community to tackle counterfeiting and piracy.

  2. The European Patent Office (EPO) offers inventors a uniform application procedure which enables them to seek patent protection in up to 40 European countries. Supervised by the Administrative Council, the Office is the executive arm of the European Patent Organisation.

  3. European Inventor Award winners are selected by an independent jury consisting of international authorities in the fields of business, science, academia and research, who examine the proposals in terms of their contribution towards technical progress, social development, wealth and job creation in Europe. Award categories include; Lifetime Achievement, Industry, SMEs, Research and Non-European Countries. Members of the public are invited to vote for an overall ‘Popular Prize’ winner based on shortlisted candidates.

Published 11 June 2015