Luxury watch maker, Rolex, has today announced the five winners of its 2019 Awards for Enterprise programme. Having narrowed a field of more than 950 candidates to a final ten, the Rolex jury – along with an influential public vote – selected the five pioneering projects to become this year's Rolex Award Laureates. Each of the fine winners will receive a substantial cash prize to help fund their activities as well promotional and logistical support from Rolex itself.
The 2019 Laureates are:
João Campos-Silva, 36, Brazil
In the Amazon, the giant arapaima, the world’s largest scaled freshwater fish, which weighs up to 200kg, is headed for extinction. But in a close partnership with local associations and fishing leaders, the Brazilian fisheries ecologist has a plan to save not only the arapaima but with it, the livelihoods, food supply and culture of the indigenous communities who depend on the region’s rivers for survival.
Grégoire Courtine, 44, France
A scientist based in Switzerland, Courtine is developing a revolutionary approach to help people with paralysis walk again. His method relies on re-establishing communication between the brain and spinal cord using an implantable electronic ‘bridge’, potentially encouraging nerve regrowth and restoring control of the legs.
Brian Gitta, 26, Uganda
Delaying treatment for malaria for weeks while waiting for test results is common in rural Africa. Gitta is conducting trials on a novel, low-cost, portable device, the Matiscope, which provides results in minutes using light and magnets – without the need for a blood sample. In 2017, Africa had 200 million cases of malaria.
Krithi Karanth, 40, India
Conservation scientist Krithi Karanth is determined to reduce the friction between wildlife and people living near Indian national parks by reducing threats to people, property and livestock, raising conservation awareness in communities and schools and, importantly, assisting with compensation claims through a toll-free helpline service.
Miranda Wang, 25, Canada
Long involved in investigating how to solve the problem of plastic pollution, California-based, Canadian entrepreneur and molecular biologist Miranda Wang is spearheading an innovative process of turning unrecyclable plastic waste from items such as plastic bags and packing materials into valuable chemicals for use in industrial and consumer products, including making cars and electronics.
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