PATH's Ultra Rice® wins $50,000 prize at 2009 Tech Awards Gala

November 20, 2009 by PATH

Innovative rice fortification technology wins prize for improving children's health

Contact: Amy Wales, PATH, 206.285.3500,; Roqua Montez, The Tech Museum, 408.795.6225,; Anne Heise, Ogilvy Public Relations, 415.677.2731,

Seattle, November 20, 2009—PATH’s Ultra Rice technology has been awarded a $50,000 prize for its innovative approach to bolstering the nutritional health of children worldwide. The prize money was granted to PATH at the 2009 Tech Awards Gala—an annual event organized by The Tech Museum of Innovation, one of the country’s premier science and technology museums.

The Tech Awards program honors individuals and organizations that are applying technology to benefit humanity and spark global change in five Laureate categories: education, equality, environment, economic development, and health. Three Laureates in each category are honored and one Laureate per category receives the $50,000 prize at the Tech Awards Gala each year.

“We are very honored and profoundly humbled by this special recognition,” said Dipika Matthias, Ultra Rice project director at PATH. “The prize money will go directly to program activities—furthering the efforts of PATH and its partners to maximize the potential of children by enabling them to learn and grow through improved nutrition.”

PATH’s Ultra Rice was selected as a 2009 Tech Award Laureate in the health category from a competitive field of 650 nominations representing 66 countries across all five categories. Ultra Rice is a culturally appropriate and cost-effective rice fortification technology expressly designed to meet the needs of resource-poor, rice-consuming populations in developing countries disproportionately affected by widespread micronutrient malnutrition.

Ultra Rice’s micronutrient delivery system packs iron, zinc, folic acid, or other nutrients into manufactured rice grains that are made from rice flour and shaped to resemble the traditionally milled rice with which they are blended, typically at a ratio of 1:100. Nutrient-rich Ultra Rice grains can be manufactured to look like local varieties of rice and can be customized to include the specific nutrients needed by a particular population. Ultra Rice grains are cooked as rice is cooked customarily—requiring no change in food preparation habits.

PATH is a three-time Tech Award Laureate

The selection of Ultra Rice as a 2009 Laureate establishes PATH as the first-ever organization to be a three-time Tech Award Laureate winner. In 2007, The Tech Museum selected PATH’s Vaccine Vial Monitor (VVM) as a Tech Award Laureate in the health category. The VVM is a heat-sensitive label for vaccine vials that provides information on temperature exposure—helping health care workers ensure children receive safe, potent immunizations that have not been damaged by heat. Laureate status was also bestowed onto PATH in 2003 for its Uniject™ device, a prefilled, single-use injection device that makes injections easier to give.

About PATH

PATH is an international nonprofit organization that creates sustainable, culturally relevant solutions, enabling communities worldwide to break longstanding cycles of poor health. By collaborating with diverse public- and private-sector partners, PATH helps provide appropriate health technologies and vital strategies that change the way people think and act. PATH’s work improves global health and well-being. To learn more about PATH visit