SAN JOSE, Calif. (Sept. 26, 2012) — Each year, nearly four million newborn babies never live past their first days – all for lack of warmth.
At least a billion people globally have limited – or no access – to clean water. And while almost half the world’s population cooks with wood or other biomass fuels, indoor-air pollution generated by cooking fires contributes to the premature deaths of nearly two million people annually.
Enter the “techmanitarians” – a dozen international innovators who toil with unequaled resolve to eliminate these and other persistent global challenges. Their noble achievements will be recognized Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012 at the Santa Clara Convention Center during Silicon Valley’s leading awards program, The Tech Awards, presented by Applied Materials in association with the Center for Science, Technology, and Society at Santa Clara University.
“We are inspired by the laureates’ desire to improve the world through the creative use of technology and their perseverance to this end,” said Tim Ritchie, president of The Tech Museum. “Their lives and work serve as a challenge to us: Do we desire to make our work count for others, and are we willing to use our considerable assets to build a better world?”
This year, two cash prizes will be awarded – $75,000 and $25,000 – in each of six of The Tech Awards categories: Intel Environment Award; Microsoft Education Award; The Swanson Foundation Young Innovator Award; Nokia Health Award; Flextronics Economic Development Award, and The Sustainable Energy Award.
Since the inception of The Tech Awards program in 2001, 257 laureates have been recognized. Their pioneering work has included designing earthquake-resistant construction technology to creating a heat-sensitive label for vaccine vials to make sure children receive potent immunizations to building a simple, low-cost, mobile phone-based device that allows remote monitoring and operation of irrigation pumps.
“Through their outstanding creativity and conviction, this year’s laureates are providing innovative solutions to some of humanity’s most urgent problems,” said Mike Splinter, Chairman and CEO of Applied Materials. “In many ways, the Tech Awards embody the spirit of Silicon Valley and the belief that technology can improve people’s lives and make the world a better place.”
As part of The Tech Awards, Indian philanthropist N.R. Narayana Murthy, will be honored with the James C. Morgan Global Humanitarian Award sponsored by Applied Materials. This award honors individuals whose broad vision and leadership help to alleviate humanity’s greatest challenges. Murthy founded tech services giant Infosys Limited along with six colleagues and went on to become one of India’s most influential advocates for health care and rural development.
Murthy served as the first CEO for 21 years and currently holds the role of Chairman Emeritus at the global technology services company. Infosys established the Infosys Foundation in 1996. The Infosys Foundation works in partnership with non-governmental organizations to help underprivileged rural communities in India that are focusing on five initiatives: healthcare, education, culture, destitute care and rural development.
Murthy, who has been lauded by TIME magazine, honored by CNBC and praised by Ernst & Young as World Entrepreneur of the Year, joins an impressive roster of past recipients that includes former eBay head and champion of equitable society Jeff Skoll, education and cross-cultural dialogue advocate Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan, Nobel Laureate and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Applied’s former Chairman and CEO James C. Morgan, who inspired the award.
The Tech Awards laureates 2012 represent regions as diverse as Africa, India, South America and the United States. Their work impacts people in many more countries worldwide.
During their week-long stay in Silicon Valley, the laureates are engaged in specialized business and media training, networking with leading tech companies and venture capitalists, as well as learning about the experiences of fellow laureates.
Applications will be accepted for next year’s laureates beginning November 1, 2012.