The latest big news from over four decades of the Rolex Awards for Enterprise programme — a pillar of Rolex’s Perpetual Planet campaign — is the announcement of 2019’s five laureates: João Campos-Silva, Grégoire Courtine, Brian Gitta, Krithi Karanth and Miranda Wang have all been awarded by the 2019 Rolex Awards Jury, composed of world-renowned entrepreneurs, scientists, activists and explorers.
The five chosen laureates will receive funding and other benefits for their inspiring projects that will improve life on our planet.
Established over forty years ago in 1976 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Rolex Oyster chronometer, the world’s first waterproof wristwatch, the Rolex Awards for Enterprise was designed to foster a spirit of enterprise, advance human knowledge and well-being, and to protect our environment and cultural heritage.
Rolex has recently launched a campaign for a Perpetual Planet — aptly named after Rolex’s Perpetual self-winding mechanism that is present in each and every Rolex watch crafted today.
National Geographic is one of many notable partners of Rolex in this generous adventure and has been the host of the National Geographic Explorers Festival where the ten finalists of the 2019 Rolex Awards presented their projects.
The jury first met in February to select the 10 finalists from a field of 957 candidates who originated from a whopping 111 countries of the world. The public, for the first time, was invited to vote on its favorite projects through a social media campaign on the @Rolex accounts.
The results of the public vote were factored in the jury’s final decision. “Now, more than ever we need people to show us how to tackle the problems that face mankind with enterprise and determination,” said Arnaud Boetsch, Rolex Director of Communication and Image. “We congratulate the Laureates on their winning projects that promise to have significant impact on the world.”
Among the five winners, a host of highly commendable goals and enterprises are shared. The João Campos-Silva is dedicated to saving the world’s largest scaled freshwater fish, the giant arapaima of the Amazon from extinction. Grégoire Courtine is a Swiss scientist developing a revolutionary approach to help people with paralysis walk again through re-establishing communication between the brain and spinal cord using an implantable electronic “bridge”, potentially encouraging nerve regrowth and restoring control of the legs.
Brian Gitta of Uganda is conducting trials on a novel, low-cost, portable device, the Matiscope, which provides malaria test results in minutes using light and magnets, negating the need for a blood sample.
In 2017 alone, Africa had 200 million cases of malaria.
Krithi Karanth is a conservation scientist who is determined to reduce the friction between wildlife and people living near Indian national parks by reducing threats to people, property and livestock. Miranda Wang has for long been involved in investigating how to solve the problem of plastic pollution, spearheading an innovative process of turning unrecyclable plastic waste from items such as plastic bags and packing materials into valuable chemicals.
Moving forward, In 2021, Rolex will offer five Rolex Awards for Enterprise. The Awards are open to anyone over 18 years of age, of any nationality, whose ground-breaking project is helping to expand knowledge of our world and improve the quality of life on the planet. Candidates can apply in five areas: science and health, applied technology, exploration, cultural heritage and the environment. Laureates each receive 200,000 Swiss francs to advance their projects. They will also benefit from worldwide publicity and receive a Rolex chronometer.
The Rolex Perpetual Planet campaign is another powerful indicator of the connection between a Rolex watch and outstanding individual performance — an eternal and unbreakable bond that is enforced and indicated by every Rolex watch.
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