“He has no fear of drilling the hardest boards and persistently searches for solutions to problems that others would not even tackle,” says Prof. Ellen Hieckmann, describing her colleague Prof. Karl Leo at the Institute of Applied Physics at TU Dresden. It is certainly precisely this drive for research and his perseverance, but equally his acumen, an almost endless motivational force and his entrepreneurial spirit that led to Karl Leo being named European Inventor of the Year 2021 in the “Lifetime Achievement” category yesterday evening.
“Leo’s method for boosting organic semiconductors with electron producing substances (“doping”) has transformed the electronics industry and delivered improved products for millions of people. His highly efficient organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display technology, which provides greater image brightness, higher colour resolution and better power efficiency, can now be found in almost all newer smartphones and other electronic devices that we use every day,” states the European Patent Office in its press release.
“Karl Leo’s life’s work has had a profound impact across multiple sectors, advancing technology which is environmentally friendly, and improving products that are used by millions of people worldwide,” said EPO President António Campinos. “Throughout his distinguished career he has also demonstrated an ability to identify commercial applications from cutting-edge fundamental research, putting technology to work to solve problems, and creating businesses and jobs in the process.”
The European Inventor Award is one of Europe’s most prestigious innovation prizes. Launched by the EPO in 2006, it honors individual inventors and teams of inventors whose pioneering inventions provide answers to some of the biggest challenges of our times.
The winners are selected by an independent jury consisting of international authorities in the fields of business, politics, science, academia and research, who examine the proposals in terms of their contribution towards technical progress, social development, economic prosperity and job creation in Europe.
For Karl Leo, this award is a very special honor: “I am delighted about this prestigious recognition and would like to thank my entire team, those who have supported me over the years and without whose cooperation this success would not have been possible. At the same time, the award is also an incentive for me to continue with our fundamental work and hopefully to bring many more innovative organic products from the lab to the market.”
In the past weeks, numerous companions of Karl Leo, including his former doctoral student Jan Blochwitz-Nimoth, but also the Rector of TU Dresden, Prof. Ursula Staudinger, supported him with video messages. Watch all video messages at:
More information on the European Inventor Award 2021:
Prof. Karl Leo