July 06th 2015

Award for MCI graduate at the famous MIT

Alexander Richter has received the prestigious Lemelson Award at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for his research in the field of microbial pest control.

The 2015 Lemelson-MIT Award in the “Eat it” category, which is open to innovative inventions in the fields of nutrition and agriculture made by students and graduates of US universities, goes to Alexander Richter, who graduated in Environmental, Process & Biotechnology at the MCI and is currently doing research as a Ph.D. student at North Carolina State University.

The focus of Richter’s work is the development of biodegradable nano particles for antimicrobial pest control. They offer the prospect of a reduction of up to 90 percent in the use of expensive chemical pesticides in agriculture. With his research, which is being tutored by Professor Orlin Velev of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at NC State University, the MCI graduate is making a valuable contribution to potential increases in agricultural productivity, which will help avert food shortages resulting from today’s increasing world population.

Alexander Richter received the prize in an award ceremony held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at the end of June. The Lemelson-MIT program was established in 1994 by the US inventor Jerome H. Lemelson and his wife Dorothy. The prizes are awarded annually to honor the best student inventor teams and graduates in the US for inventions in the fields of heath care, transportation, food and agriculture, and technical consumer goods. They are worth USD 10,000 for student teams and USD 15,000 for graduates. The judging criteria are inventiveness and creativity, social benefits and commercial applicability, and the impact of the invention on nature and society.

Prizewinner Alexander Richter feels “extremely honored by the award” and says, “I should like to express my thanks to the MCI for the excellent interdisciplinary university training I was given, which has served me in such good stead for my Ph.D. at NC State University and laid the foundations for success in the Lemelson-MIT inventor contest.” The MCI’s Rector Andreas Altmann congratulated the prizewinner with the following words: “As the Entrepreneurial School®, we promote and challenge young people with an entrepreneurial mindset and are delighted with Alexander Richter’s prestigious academic award and his inventions in the field of pest control." Marco Rupprich, Had of the Department of Environmental, Process & Energy Engineering at the MCI, adds: “Alexander Richter is not only doing outstanding work at the scientific level. He is also a partner in a high-tech start-up by the name of Benanova Inc. This shows once again that the combination of quality teaching and research and international networking at the MCI offers an excellent basis for an international career.”

Further information:
MCI Bachelor Environmental, Process & Energy Engineering
MCI Master Environmental, Process & Energy Engineering
Lemelson-MIT program

Press cotact:
Mag. (FH) Ulrike Fuchs
Marketing & Communication
+43 512 2070-1510