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Media release

Entries open for the NZ$250,000 Ryman Prize

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

Web Peter St George Hyslop

2017 Ryman Prize winner, Professor Peter St George-Hyslop


The search is on for the best work in the world that has enhanced quality of life for older people.

Entries are now open for the 2018 Ryman Prize, the only award of its kind which is targeted at the health of older people.

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

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

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

Last year’s winner was Professor Peter St George-Hyslop, who was delighted to be recognised for his more than 30 years of research into neuro-degenerative diseases.

Professor Peter St George-Hyslop 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.

Professor St George-Hyslop said he was delighted for two reasons.

“At a personal level, it is obviously thrilling to have one’s professional work and the work of one's colleagues publicly recognised.

However, there is a much larger importance to this prize. It signifies a sea-change in how society perceives disorders affecting the health and well-being of their older members.

It signals a growing understanding of the urgency of getting to grips with these increasingly common, devastating conditions that impact not only those individuals affected by them, but also their family and their caregivers, and the state in which they live.’’

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 to help restore sight to more than a million people.

Ryman Prize director David King is expecting a large number of entries from all around the world for the 2018 prize.

“The aim of the prize is to reward great work so we’re looking forward to seeing what innovations come forward this year. We also hope that the idea of winning the prize will mean that a whole lot of people out there with great ideas to help older people will put them into action.’’

“We are now entering the greatest period of demographic change the world has ever seen. As the number of people aged 75+ in the world grows, so too do the issues they face. People are living longer and their health needs are becoming more complex. We hope the prize will help address these issues.’’

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. In Peter’s case, it was for more than 30 years of dedicated work into diseases of old age.

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.

Entry forms for the 2018 Ryman Prize are available at www.rymanprize.com. Entries close at midnight on Friday, August 31, 2018.


About the Ryman Prize:

The Ryman Prize is administered by the Ryman Foundation. The annual prize consists of a $250,000 grant which is awarded to the best invention, idea, research concept or initiative that has enhanced quality of life for older people.

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

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, which is set to more than double over the next 30 years. The rapid ageing of the population will be even more pronounced in the developing world.

The Ryman Prize jury includes:
Professor 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.
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.
Professor 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.

Media advisory:
For interviews or further information, photos, interviews or comment please contact Ryman Prize director David King on 03 366 4069 (00643 3664069) or 021 499 602 (006421 499 6902) david.king@rymanhealthcare.com.

www.rymanprize.com

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