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Entries Open for THE US$170,000 Ryman Prize

Richest prize of its kind to reward the best work in the world for older people.

Entries are now open for the 2019 NZ$250,000 (US$170,000) Ryman Prize, the only award of its kind which is targeted at improving the health of older people. The prize is open to anyone, anywhere in the world.

The prize winner is selected by an international jury and entry is open to the world’s brightest and best engineers, thinkers, scientists, clinicians or inventors.

The prize will go to the best discovery, invention, medical advance, idea or initiative that enhances the quality of life for older people.

The Ryman Prize has been awarded four times since its launch in 2015.

Last year’s winner was Japanese inventor Takanori Shibata, chief senior research scientist at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) in Japan for his product to help ease the burden of older people suffering from dementia. His product, PARO is a drug-free therapeutic robot that uses sensors, robotics and sophisticated artificial intelligence software to mimic a real seal, which has proven to improve mood, reduce anxiety, decrease pain perception, enhance sleep and decrease feelings of loneliness in patients.

The 2017 Ryman Prize was won by Professor Peter St George-Hyslop, who leads research teams at Cambridge in the United Kingdom and the University of Toronto in Canada. His research work has focused on discovering the key genes and proteins that cause cells to degenerate, causing early onset Alzheimer’s disease.

The 2016 prize went to Professor Henry Brodaty, a leading Alzheimer’s researcher, and in 2015 the award went to Gabi Hollows, the founding director of the Fred Hollows Foundation, who was recognised for her work in helping restore sight to more than a million people.

While there are plenty of prizes for medicine, there are none specifically aimed at the area of the health of older people. The Ryman Prize, which is modelled on the Nobel Prize for medicine and the Pritzker Prize, aims to fill that gap.

The Ryman Prize is administered by the Ryman Foundation, and the winner will be awarded in New Zealand. Entries close at midnight on 28 June 2019. [APBN]