Ed Canton

Lemelson-MIT Award for Global Innovation: An Innovators’ Call to Action

Are you or someone you know an innovator who is doing developing technological solutions to pressing problems in developing countries? If you know someone who is building a better life for people in need, then we want to acknowledge them. They might be the next 2012 Lemelson-MIT Award for Global Innovation winner.

The Lemelson-MIT Award for Global Innovation (formerly the Lemelson-MIT Award for Sustainability) recognizes individuals whose technological innovations improve the lives of impoverished people in the developing world. Recipients of the award outstanding technology-focused innovators who have improved the quality of life in the areas of health, shelter, energy, agriculture, air quality, water, soil, education, or ecosystem management in developing nations and have disseminated technology that is scalable or replicable.

Eligible individuals are those who:

  • have created a product, process or material that has been adopted for practical use with demonstrated outcomes;
  • made a technology more affordable; redesigned a system; or otherwise demonstrated remarkable technological inventiveness in addressing international development issues;
  • are U.S. citizens or permanent residents, or working legally in the United States;
  • can show evidence of disseminating technologies that are further scalable or replicable.

The Lemelson-MIT Award for Global Innovation also establishes inventor role models who can inspire young people to solve problems in the developing world through invention. The media recognition of award winners helps to elevate their innovations and increase public awareness of international development challenges.

You can see a video of this year’s winner, Elizabeth Hausler, CEO and founder of Build Change, below and learn about her work developing earthquake resistant housing solutions in Haiti.


Other recent winners include:

  • BP Agrawal, founder of Sustainable Innovations, a two-time World Bank Development recipient for his work to improve access to clean water to clean water and health care In Rajasthan, India.
  • Joel Selanikio, co-founder of DataDyne, for his innovations in utilizing mobile technologies for public health data collection.
  • Martin Fisher, CEO of KickStart, for his invention of a low cost irrigation pump for small scale farmers in rural Africa.

The award seeks nominees who have not only developed a technological solution to an issue affecting the developing world, but also have an economic, social and cultural model that is sustainable for the long term.

If you have ideas of people who should be nominated or want to nominate someone yourself, please contact me at Lemelson_awards@mit.edu or visit the Lemelson-MIT Award for Global Innovation website. Support your fellow innovators!

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