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Global Academic Challenge Launched to Promote Innovation and Jobs Worldwide

IEC and IEEE announce US$45,000 Global Academic Challenge to examine the impact of electrotechnology and inspire the next generation of innovation

GENEVA, Switzerland, 27 October – Electrotechnology impacts every aspect of our daily lives through businesses, societies, the environment and our interaction with each other. However this impact has rarely been reflected upon by academic institutions.

To stimulate the debate around this integral issue, IEC, which publishes global technical guidelines that allow millions of devices and systems to work together safely, and IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional association, are launching "The Challenge."

The Challenge invites academic institutions worldwide to submit and debate research that explores the wide range of sociological, political, economic, and environmental benefits provided by electrotechnology.

The world's academicians and universities will compete for US$45,000 in prize money, which will be awarded to first-, second- and third-place winners at a special awards ceremony in Oslo, Norway, in October 2012. The Challenge will be to identify, analyze and debate why and how electrotechnology influences economic, social and environmental development, and the impact of broadly accepted standards.

"The Challenge is a really exciting opportunity for us to reflect on the last 100 years of electrotechnological innovation, which has seen more inventions produced than in the history of mankind," IEC CEO and General Secretary Ronnie Amit said. "We are appealing to the leading academic thinkers from the spheres of science, engineering, economics and beyond to demonstrate how electrotechnology has shaped and influenced how we live, work and conduct business today. We are urging the academic community to discuss such questions as: What role will electrotechnology potentially play in our future and how can it help solve some of our global challenges?"

The submissions will be judged by a highly distinguished panel: Jacques Régis, former CEO of Hydro Quebec, Montréal, Canada, and IEC Immediate Past President; Dr. Moshe Kam, Department Head, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Drexel University, and 2011 IEEE President; and Paul Markillie, Innovation Editor, The Economist.

"Electrotechnology innovation builds on a platform of universally accepted technical rules and specifications, which enable companies to do business more efficiently on a global scale." IEEE Executive Director James Prendergast said. "The global economy is increasingly complex and competitive, and companies need to comply with ever-stricter environmental and other regulations. It needs a common set of rules to allow companies to build products that can be exported easily and efficiently to many countries and provide governments with the means to measure and compare the performance and safety of devices. "

Visit the Challenge website for further information and the full rules.