Although technological innovation has sometimes been at odds with sound environmental practices, technology can contribute to clean water, improved air quality, and sustainable development. This category includes the challenges of balancing population growth with available resources, protecting animal and plant life, as well as addressing the escalating demands for safe and efficient energy.
Intel Environment Award
Microsoft Education Award
Barriers to educational opportunities arise from social and economic injustices, learning disabilities, geographic isolation, and lack of resources of all types. Used creatively, technology can enhance the education of people of all ages, by enabling learning and improving the effectiveness of teaching. Technology has the promise of making lifelong learning a reality for more and more people around the world.
Katherine M. Swanson Young Innovator Award
This category recognizes the inspirational work of young people (under the age of 27 as of December 31) who are using technology to confront the world’s most vexing problems. The Young Innovator Award is intentionally broad in scope as it spans all the other categories of The Tech Awards: environment, education, health, and economic development. Additionally, it embraces the UNDP Millennium Development Goals for 2015: eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; achieve universal primary education; promote gender equality and empower women; reduce child mortality; improve maternal health; combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; ensure environmental sustainability; and develop a global partnership for development. For this category, judges will assign more importance to innovation than proven impact.
Technology is in the process of revolutionizing health care, from improving the quality of life for those with disabilities to eradicating deadly diseases. Biotechnology discoveries, enhanced imaging, and incredible new surgical procedures are some of the fields of endeavor. Technology can help feed the world's populations, alleviate suffering, and find cures for life-threatening ailments.
The Sobrato Organization Economic Development Award
The potential of technology to create jobs and provide people with livelihoods seems limitless. From developments in the most advanced technological fields to streamlining agricultural processes, human ingenuity continues to break new ground. Technology can create markets, help bring goods to market, or deliver the marketplace to people, ultimately helping to reduce the gap between rich and poor.