Luxury watchmaker Rolex has announced the names of five laureates for its Rolex Awards For Enterprise 2019 in Washington D.C. today. The Awards are given for projects focusing on the environment, science and health, applied technology, cultural heritage, and exploration. However, awards have been presented to individuals outside of the aforementioned categories as well. The award provides an opportunity for the laureates to receive funding and other benefits for their projects which are based around improving life on planet earth. The Rolex Awards were set up way back in 1975 to mark the 50th anniversary of the Rolex Oyster, the world’s first waterproof wristwatch.

One of the selected laureates for this year’s awards is Krithi Karanth, a conservation scientist from India. Kirti (40) plans to reduce the friction between wildlife and people living near Indian national parks by reducing threats to people, property, and livestock, raising conservation awareness in communities and schools and also assisting with compensation claims through a toll-free helpline service.

The four other individuals selected for awards include João Campos-Silva from Brazil, Grégoire Courtine from France, Brian Gitta from Uganda and Miranda Wang from Canada.

João Campos-Silva (36) has a plan to save the giant arapaima, the world’s largest scaled freshwater fish found in the Amazon, from extinction. That’s not all, the Brazilian fisheries ecologist also has a plan to save the livelihoods, food supply and culture of the indigenous communities who depend on the region’s rivers for survival.

Grégoire Courtine (44) is a scientist based in Switzerland, Grégoire is in the process of developing a revolutionary approach to help people with paralysis walk again. His method relies on re-establishing communication between the brain and spinal cord using an implantable electronic “bridge”, potentially encouraging nerve regrowth and restoring control of the legs.

Brian Gitta (26) is currently conducting trials on a low-cost portable device which will help detect malaria in minutes without taking a blood sample. In 2017, Africa had 200 million cases of Malaria.

Miranda Wang (25), who is based out of California, is a Canadian entrepreneur and molecular biologist who has been pioneering a process which turns unrecyclable plastic waste from items such as plastic bags and packing materials into valuable chemicals for use in industrial and consumer products, which include automobiles and electronics.