This year’s World Intellectual Property Day celebrates women in innovation and creativity. We recently profiled some impressive female inventors to celebrate individuals who have made significant contributions to society, and acknowledge a need to close the innovation gender gap. Below, we look at women who have blazed new trails across sectors and around the globe, demonstrating the potential of innovative industries and the power of invention.
Africa: Azza Abdel Hamid Faiad, Egypt
Abdel Hamid Faiad holds a patent for a new process that is used to convert plastic waste into biofuel. Not only did she begin the project at the young age of 16, but this cost-effective, eco-friendly solution has the potential to create $78 million worth of biofuel each year, reducing reliance on fossil fuel in developing countries.
Asia: Dr. Seema Prakash, Bangladesh
Dr. Prakash's Glass Bead Liquid Culture Technology created a way to clone plants in a dramatically more cost-effective manner – a 98 percent cost reduction compared with the standard cost. While this has supported farmers in resource-challenged locales, the technology has potential to increase food productivity, conserving biodiversity and sustainable eco-agriculture.
Australia: Professor Fiona Wood, Australia
Professor Wood invented “spray-on” skin, an innovation that involves taking a small patch of healthy skin and using it to grow new skin cells in a laboratory. The new skin cells are then sprayed on damaged skin. This process, which has been used on more than 1,000 patients worldwide, significantly reduces recovery time and scarring.
Europe: Dr. Helen Lee, United Kingdom
Industry: Diagnostic Medicine
Dr. Helen Lee developed an innovative blood diagnostic kit to improve testing in resource-poor countries. The test allows for on-the-spot detection of infectious diseases – such as HIV, hepatitis B and chlamydia – with quick, easy-to-read results that enable better disease detection and tracking.
North America: Dr. Ann Tsukamoto, United States
Dr. Tsukamoto co-patented the process to isolate the human stem cell; stem cells are located in bone marrow and serve as the foundation for the growth of red and white blood cells. Understanding how stem cells grow and how they might be artificially reproduced is vital to biomedical research. Her work has greatly advanced understanding of the blood systems of cancer patients and has laid the foundation for tomorrow’s cures.
South America: Graciela V.O. de Cuadros, Ecuador
Ms. V.O. de Cuadros invented the collapsible hammock. The collapsible support frame eliminates the need for trees or other external supports, and a rotatable hammock shade frame helps shield the user from the sun.
These women remind us why a strong intellectual property ecosystem is paramount for continued innovation. Intellectual property rights support and protect innovators – fostering progress that reaps benefits across the globe.