MED-EL founders nominated for European Inventor Award 2014

European Patent Office honors most important innovations of recent years

Innsbruck, Austria, 29 April 2014 -

Today, 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.

For more information, visit www.epo.org/european-inventor.

About MED-EL

Austria-based MED-EL Medical Electronics is a leading provider of hearing implant systems with 29 subsidiaries worldwide. The family-owned business is one of the pioneers in the industry. The two Austrian scientists Ingeborg and Erwin Hochmair developed the world's first microelectronic-multichannel Cochlear-Implant in 1977. The cochlear implant was and remains the first replacement of a human sense, the sense of hearing. In 1990 they laid the foundation for the successful growth of the company when they hired their first employees. To date, the company has grown to more than 1500 employees around the world.

Today MED-EL offers the widest range of implantable solutions worldwide to treat various degrees of hearing loss: cochlear and middle ear implant systems, EAS (combined Electric Acoustic Stimulation) hearing implant system and auditory brainstem implants as well as the world's first active bone conduction implant. People in over 100 countries enjoy the gift of hearing with the help of a product from MED-EL. www.medel.com

Picture is available at epa european pressphoto agency (http://www.epa.eu) and http://www.presseportal.de/pm/62623

Press contact

Thomas Herrmann

MED-EL Medical Electronics

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A - 6020 Innsbruck

T: +43 (0) 577 885-182

E: thomas.herrmann@medel.com