Renowned philanthropist and Infosys co-founder N.R. Narayana Murthy receives Global Humanitarian honors at The Tech Awards
Twelve laureates also recognized for life-changing uses of technology
SILICON VALLEY, CA – Indian philanthropist N.R. Narayana Murthy and a dozen innovators from around the world were honored Thursday at The Tech Awards, Silicon Valley’s most esteemed program for honoring the people who create pioneering technology to benefit humanity.
Murthy received 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. The Tech Awards, a signature program of The Tech Museum of Innovation, also recognizes 12 laureates in six sponsored categories: Intel Environment Award; Microsoft Education Award; Katherine M. Swanson Young Innovator Award; Nokia Health Award; Flextronics Economic Development Award, and Accenture Sustainable Energy Award.
“Technology uses the power of science to make life better for all of society,” Murthy said. “I believe that technology not only has the power to make a difference in health, nutrition and sheltering the poor, but it also can enhance one’s confidence and dignity. The Tech Awards recognizes this. And I am honored to be a part of this distinguished program.”
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. Infosys established the Infosys Foundation in 1996. The foundation works in partnership with non-governmental organizations to help underprivileged communities in India that are focusing on healthcare, education and rural development initiatives.
“As an entrepreneur and a philanthropist, Narayana Murthy has focused on helping people achieve the economic empowerment that offers a path out of poverty,” said Mike Splinter, Chairman and CEO of Applied Materials, Inc. “His passion and commitment to address humanity’s greatest challenges exemplify the spirit of The Tech Awards.”
Presented by Applied Materials, The Tech Awards has recognized 257 laureates since its inception in 2001. Their pioneering work has included building a "solar suitcase" to provide emergency lighting and power for medical procedures, developing an eco-techniques toolkit that improves the living conditions in rural communities and the creation of a heat-sensitive label for vaccine vials to make sure people receive potent immunizations.
This year’s laureates represent regions as diverse as Africa, India and Latin America, and their work impacts people in many more corners of the globe. For their commitment to applying technology in practical ways to resolve some of the world's most challenging issues, the laureates are given a week filled with unique Silicon Valley business experiences and training and an unrestricted cash award up to $75,000. Judging for The Tech Awards is conducted by Santa Clara University's Center for Science, Technology and Society (CSTS). The CSTS acts as an independent party that organizes and convenes six panels of expert judges representing academia and the public and private sectors.
The Tech Museum of Innovation President Tim Ritchie encouraged the night’s attendees to be inspired about the future, our capacity to solve problems and to make a difference. “Is there some need that speaks to your heart? Some work, some community, some problem that needs your mind, your time, your sympathy, your best work? Step up to the place where your joy and the world's needs meet,” he urged.
With PBS Newshour correspondent Hari Sreenivasan as master of ceremonies, the gala unfolded against the backdrop of an exhibition specially curated for The Tech Awards that included some of the world’s most iconic photos projected on five towering screens. Contributed free of charge by National Geographic photojournalists, the compelling images were shown for the evening only, as a tribute to The Tech Awards laureates. Another gala highlight included live appearances by two former laureates who were brought together by Polycom RealPresence Platform to share their experiences and progress since winning the award.
THE TECH AWARDS LAUREATES 2012
Intel Environment Award
LEHR, Inc. Propane Outboard Motors
Region of Impact: North America
Problem: Small gasoline engines cause excessive pollution, yet electric/battery solutions do not provide the performance required to be a universally viable alternative.
Solution: Patented gaseous-fueled engines that significantly reduce/eliminate pollution while improving performance and reducing cost of ownership.
Impact: To date, about 100,000 lawn and garden engines have been sold that eliminate evaporative emissions while reducing VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) emissions. 1,000s of marine outboard engines sold eliminate fuel spills into water while reducing methyl-mercury-causing particulate emissions by up to 96 percent.
Arup K. SenGupta
Region of Impact: Cambodia, Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Vietnam
Problem: According to World Health Organization (WHO), over 200 million resource-poor people are threatened with arsenic poisoning by drinking contaminated groundwater in Cambodia, Nepal, India, Bangladesh and Vietnam.
Solution: Use of appropriate simple-to-operate technology in rural setting to transform arsenic crisis into an economic enterprise while protecting human health.
Impact: Over 200,000 people including school children are benefiting in arsenic-affected countries.
Microsoft Education Award
Region of Impact: Africa
Problem: Basic health and agriculture knowledge isn’t reaching the world’s poorest billion people due to illiteracy and lack of electricity.
Solution: A simple and durable, battery-operated, audio computer playing locally produced lessons that address the practical needs of people in oral cultures.
Impact: 250,000 lessons delivered to 20,000 farmers in the poorest regions of Ghana. Farmers harvested 48 percent more crops for a 3x ROI, and 90 percent of maternal health lessons led to healthier behaviors.
Region of Impact: Global
Problem: Research shows that despite hundreds of millions of dollars spent worldwide on HIV "awareness" campaigns over 30 years, accurate knowledge of HIV still remains dangerously low.
Solution: Re-imagine the worldwide public health solution to focus on actual "education" rather than "awareness" and develop the most effective and flexible HIV education software after 5+ years of cross-disciplinary research at Stanford.
Impact: Provide HIV education with unprecedented efficacy to more than 200 organizations and governments in 73 countries, educating millions around the world, and including breakthrough implementations in regions that had banned sex education.
Katherine M. Swanson Young Innovator Award
Region of Impact: Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia
Problem: 1.5 Billion people around the world lack access to electricity, and prohibitively high upfront prices for quality solar products prevent millions of off-grid families from purchasing them.
Solution: Low-cost, embedded Pay-As-You-Go technology that allows customers to pay for energy use in small amounts with cash-in-hand. Remotely regulated over cellular networks and integrated with existing mobile money platforms, these energy payments are cheaper than typical weekly kerosene expenditures.
Impact: Clean, bright light and cell-phone charging financially accessible to customers in Tanzania, Kenya, and Zambia.
Art Center College of Design, Designmatters
Region of Impact: Peru
Problem: In Cerro Verde, a slum on the outskirts of Lima, Peru, 30,000 people live without access to running water and sanitation.
Solution: Design and co-create with Cerro Verde families, innovative and cost-effective products tested by the community and implemented by Un Techo Para Mi Pais, a Latin American NGO dedicated to working with families living in extreme poverty.
Impact: Empower families and communities through responsible design to conserve water, reduces illness and generate social, cultural, and economic change.
Nokia Health Award
Region of Impact: Global
Problem: Every year almost 2 million people die prematurely from indoor pollution caused by smoky open cooking fires; these same fires contribute more black carbon than all the cars and trucks in the world combined.
Solution: The BioLite Homestove: A low-cost, highly efficient wood-burning stove that dramatically reduces smoke and harmful black carbon emissions while reducing fuel needs by 50 percent.
Impact: Paying for itself in six to seven months, a single HomeStove lowers the rates of potentially fatal respiratory diseases while saving ~2000lbs of wood per year and averting the C02 emissions of a compact car.
Region of Impact: Global
Problem: 1.1 Million preterm babies die every year, 75% could survive with inexpensive treatment.
Solution: A low-cost infant warmer specifically designed to address the needs of babies suffering from hypothermia.
Impact: Thousands of babies may be impacted by the warmers currently distributed with 11 partnerships in eight countries.
Flextronics Economic Development Award
Pamela C. Ronald, David Mackill, Kenong Xu
Region of Impact: Global
Problem: Yields of rice, the most important crop for over half of our planet, are catastrophically reduced during floods. Because rice provides up to two thirds of the diet of many people in the developing world, many who live on less than $1 day, these losses have devastating impacts on farmers and their families.
Solution: Identification of a submergence tolerance gene and precise introduction of the gene into locally adapted varieties favored by farmers using modern molecular breeding.
Impact: In 2011, 1,000,000 farmers grew Sub1 rice, with millions more expected in the next few years. Yields of Sub1 rice are three to five folds greater than conventional varieties during floods.
Grameen Foundation USA
Region of Impact: Uganda
Problem: Lack of agricultural information among the poorest & hardest to reach rural farmers.
Solution: Social Enterprise with 800 CKWs that use smartphone-based knowledge to share expert agriculture information with small holder farmers and collect data through mobile surveys.
Impact: 17% increase in knowledge of 6 representative agriculture practices, 37% difference in higher maize prices vs. non-CKW-served farmers, and 51% difference in “access to extension services and training” vs. non-CKW-served farmers.
Accenture Sustainable Energy Award
Region of Impact: India
Problem: 400 million people in India, and more than 1.5 billion worldwide are without access to reliable electricity.
Solution: Simple, affordable, pay-as-you-use pricing and mobile payment for off-grid solar energy solutions.
Impact: By 2015, more than 250,000 households with access to aspirational amounts of clean energy, 6.5 megawatts of distributed solar power installed, more than 160,000 tonnes of CO2 displaced.
Region of Impact: Africa
Problem: Clean cooking fuel is inaccessible for thirty million people in Uganda and 28 million poor farmers have no access to fertilizers.
Solution: Simple, locally made technology that can be used by local people to convert locally sourced farm and municipal waste into clean cooking fuel and organic fertilizers.
Impact: 6,000 families already benefiting from the technology, with 10,000 more expected to be reached by the end of 2013.
For more information about The Tech Awards, visit: thetechawards.thetech.org