European inventor of the year announced May 3.

The inventor of the MP3 format Karlheinz Brandenburg was nominated Friday (April 7) for the European Inventor of the Year award.

Brandenburg is among 11 nominees selected by former Dutch Prime Minister Wim Kok for the title, which will be awarded on May 3 in Brussels.

The new prize is jointly organized by the European Commission and the European Patent Office to highlight major research and development achievements, especially in marketable high-tech fields.

Brandenburg, 51, from Germany, revolutionized the music world with the MP3 format, now the standard for music storage. There are an estimated 200 million people with MP3 software on their computers, and 50 million MP3 players were sold last year alone, according to a European Union statement.

He first developed the idea of MPEG-1 Layer 3 in his PhD on digital audio coding and perceptual measurement techniques for Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg in Electrical Engineering.

Brandenburg is currently a professor at the Institute for Media Technology at Ilmenau Technical University, and a director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology IDMT in Ilmenau, Germany. He has been granted 25 patents and has several more pending.

Other nominees for the award include British vacuum cleaner-maker James Dyson, Italian microprocessor pioneer Federico Faggin, and Germany's Peter Gruenberg, whose work boosting hard disc storage density has assisted most commercially-available PCs and MP3 players.