The Tech Awards 2012

Deadline: 6 April 2012
Open to: Individuals improving the human condition through the use of technology
Prize: $75,000 or $25,000 in each of the 6 categories


A signature program of The Tech Museum, The Tech Awards is an international awards program that honors innovators from around the world who are applying technology to benefit humanity.

The Tech Awards honors individuals, non-profit organizations and for-profit companies who are using technology to significantly improve human conditions in 6 awards categories. The technology used can be either a new invention or an innovative use of an existing technology.


  • Environment
  • Education
  • Young Innovator
  • Health
  • Economic Development
  • Sustainable Energy

Intel Environment Award

Although technological innovation has sometimes been at odds with sound environmental practices, technology can contribute to clean water, improved air quality, and sustainable development. This category includes the challenges of balancing population growth with available resources, protecting animal and plant life, as well as addressing the escalating demands for safe and efficient energy.

Flextronics Economic Development Award

The potential of technology to create jobs and provide people with livelihoods seems limitless. From developments in the most advanced technological fields to streamlining agricultural processes, human ingenuity continues to break new ground. Technology can create markets, help bring goods to market, or deliver the marketplace to people, ultimately helping to reduce the gap between rich and poor.

Microsoft Education Award

Barriers to educational opportunities arise from social and economic injustices, learning disabilities, geographic isolation, and lack of resources of all types. Used creatively, technology can enhance the education of people of all ages, by enabling learning and improving the effectiveness of teaching. Technology has the promise of making lifelong learning a reality for more and more people around the world.

Katherine M. Swanson Young Innovator Award

This award honors innovators under the age of 26 on December 31, 2012 who are transforming our world for the better through innovative thinking, energy, and a spirit of optimism. A new category for 2012, this award endeavors to inspire youth around the world to apply technological creativity for the benefit of humanity.

Nokia Health Award

Technology is in the process of revolutionizing health care, from improving the quality of life for those with disabilities to eradicating deadly diseases. Biotechnology discoveries, enhanced imaging, and incredible new surgical procedures are some of the fields of endeavor. Technology can help feed the world’s populations, alleviate suffering, and find cures for life-threatening ailments.

Sustainable Energy Award

Demands on energy resources have never been greater. Many traditional sources of energy resources are being depleted. The imperative is to develop clean, safe, sustainable energy sources. Technology is a path toward meeting the world’s energy needs while minimizing the adverse effects on health and the environment. A new category for 2012, this award honors technological innovations in the burgeoning field of sustainable energy


Nominations and applications are evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • The technology application significantly improves the human condition in one of the five award areas: environment, economic development, education, equality, or health.
  • A serious problem or challenge with global significance is addressed by this use of technology.
  • The application of this technology, which may be either a new invention or an innovative use of an existing technology, makes a noteworthy contribution that surpasses previous or current solutions.
  • The technology application has the potential to serve as an inspiration or model for further innovation.
  • The technology application is in the field and has demonstrated a measurable benefit.

Additional Guidelines:

  • Nominators and Applicants may submit their nomination/application in one category only.
  • The Tech Award Laureates, including those named as category winners, are ineligible for The Tech Awards in the year immediately following the one in which they are honored, but may apply in subsequent years for technological innovations different from the one(s) for which they were already recognized.
  • Individuals not recognized in a given year may reapply in subsequent year and – with continued progress and evidence of impact – are encouraged to do so.
  • Nominations and applications must be submitted online in English.
  • Laureates must commit to be present at all 2011 events related to The Tech Awards, from October 16 through 20, 2011 in San Jose, CA, USA.
  • The purpose of awarding the $50,000 cash prizes is to contribute to solutions for the urgent challenges that The Tech Awards addresses. To promote the values of the Awards program and sustain the high level of credibility of both the Laureates and the Awards program, The Tech Museum requires that highly-funded Laureates designate another beneficiary as the recipient of the actual cash.


To submit a nomination for The Tech Awards 2012 click here. The 2012 deadline for nominations is April 6, 2012.

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