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Prime Minister launches US$150,000 international prize

Written by Ryman Prize Foundation
on May 07, 2014


New Zealand’s ‘Nobel’ for the health of older people announced.

A US$150,000 (NZ$202,000) annual prize has been launched to reward the world’s best advances that enhance quality of life for older people.

The Ryman Prize is an annual cash prize aimed at rewarding excellence by creating the equivalent of a Nobel Prize for innovation in the health of older people.

An international jury has been convened to consider applications, and the inaugural prize will be awarded in August by Nobel Prize-winning biophysicist Dr Erwin Neher.

The prize was launched at the University of Auckland today by the Right Honourable John Key, Prime Minister of New Zealand.

Dr David Kerr, Chairman of Ryman Healthcare, said the aim was to recognise the work of the brightest and best thinkers around the world.

“We’re looking for the best discovery, invention, medical advance, idea or initiative we can find anywhere on earth. We’ve opened it up to the world’s best thinkers. We’re hoping that, by offering such a lucrative prize, we can do some genuine good in the fight to enhance quality of life for older people.’’

Dr Kerr said the prize could go to an initiative or invention as simple as a new walking cane or mobility device, or as complex as a medical advance.

“The fact is that the world’s population is ageing quickly, and soon there will be more people than ever before in the 75+ age bracket. That age group faces a range of age-related illnesses on a scale never seen before. We want to do whatever we can to improve and enhance quality of life for this important group.’’

The prize money has been donated to The Ryman Foundation to administer. Entries for the prize close on June 12. The inaugural winner will be announced in August 2015.

The Ryman jury includes:

Dr Brian Draper, Conjoint Professor in the School of Psychiatry at the University of New South Wales.

Professor Sarah Harper, Director of the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing.

Fred Lee, a Florida-based health management thinker, author and motivational speaker.

Professor Tim Wilkinson, consulting geriatrician and Associate Dean of Medical Education, Otago School of Medicine.

Dr Naoko Muramatsu, health and ageing research specialist, University of Illinois at Chicago.

Dr Erwin Neher, Nobel Laureate and Professor at the University of Göttingen, Germany. Dr Neher is a biophysicist who won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1991.

Dr David Kerr, Ryman Healthcare Chairman, Fellow and Past President of the New Zealand Medical Association, Fellow with Distinction of the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners.

About the Ryman Foundation, the Ryman Prize and Ryman Healthcare:

1: The Ryman Foundation is funding a US$150,000 annual prize. The money will be awarded to the best invention, idea, research concept or initiative that has enhanced the quality of life for the elderly. The Ryman Foundation has been set up to administer The Ryman Prize.

2: The Ryman Prize is awarded in New Zealand but is open to anyone, anywhere in the world with a bright idea.

3: The prize is a philanthropic initiative aimed at improving the lot of those over 75 years of age. In Western countries such as New Zealand and Australia this is a significant demographic, this is set to triple in numbers over the next 30 years. The prize pool has come from an anonymous donor.

4: Ryman Healthcare was established in 1984 and owns and operates 28 retirement villages in New Zealand and Australia which are home to 8000 residents. Ryman Healthcare is one of New Zealand’s largest listed companies, with 4000 staff and 14,000 shareholders.

About Ryman Healthcare:

Ryman was founded in 1984 and has become one of New Zealand’s largest listed companies. The company owns and operates 45 retirement villages in New Zealand and Australia which are home to more than 13,900 residents and the company employs 6,800 team members.

Media advisory: For further information, photos, interviews or comment please contact Group Corporate Affairs Manager Silke Marsh on +64 27 294 3609 or Communications Advisor Maryvonne Gray on 027 552 0767.

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