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She is the winner of the European Inventor Award – Lifetime achievement

Katalin Kariko

The European Patent Office (EPO) has honoured Hungarian-American researcher Katalin Karikó with the European Inventor Award 2022 in the category “Lifetime achievement”, for her seminal work in developing modified messenger RNA (mRNA) for vaccines and medical therapies.

For more than four decades, Karikó has championed the therapeutic potential of mRNA, overcoming both scepticism and countless challenges in her quest to unlock its effective use for humans. Her work not only paved the way for the most successful mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines but also opens the door to new therapies for many other diseases and conditions.

“Katalin Karikó has generated an impact that goes far beyond the now well-documented medical success”

“With her vision that significant medical benefit could be achieved with the mRNA molecule, Katalin Karikó has generated an impact that goes far beyond the now well-documented medical success,” says António Campinos, President of the European Patent Office. “Her dedication to science and perseverance together with the innovative quality of her research have gifted the world with a breakthrough innovation that holds potential for new perspectives in the fight against some of the worst medical threats to mankind around the globe.”

Karikó was honoured at the European Inventor Award 2022 ceremony, a hybrid event watched online by a worldwide audience. The Award is one of Europe’s most prestigious innovation prizes and is presented annually to outstanding inventors from Europe and beyond who have made an exceptional contribution to society, technological progress and economic growth.

Photo of Katalin Karikó: Oliver Ruether