The Jury

The Jury is composed of a President and 14 other scientists of international reputation who carry out their duties as individuals and not as representatives of an institution or country. Members of the Jury are selected to cover the following scientific disciplines: Biological Sciences; Chemistry; Earth Science; Engineering; Information/Computer Science; Mathematics and Physics.
Two additional Guest Jury Members serve on the Jury.

Members of the Jury including the President, are chosen on the basis of scientific criteria. They are drawn from both academia and industry. They are appointed each year by the Commission. Normally, up to one third of the Members of the Jury are replaced each year.

President of the Jury


European Space Agency/European Space Research and Technology Centre, Noordwijk

Born in Greiz, Germany, 20 June 1941, Dr Ulf Merbold graduated from Stuttgart University in 1968 with a diploma in physics. In 1976 he received a doctorate in Sciences (Dr.rer.nat.). He was the first ESA astronaut to fly in space and the first non-American to fly on the Space Shuttle. He became an ESA astronaut in 1978 and was assigned to fly on the first Spacelab mission STS-9 (FSLP) on board Columbia, from 28 November to 8 December 1983. During his second flight he flew as Payload Specialist on Space Shuttle Discovery, STS-42 (IML-1) between 22-31 January 1992. His third spaceflight, Euromir'94, took him on a 32-day mission to the Russian Space Station MIR from 3 October to 4 November 1994, making him the first ESA astronaut to fly to the MIR space station. Since the end of 1999, Ulf Merbold has been responsible for the Utilisation Promotion Management in the Microgravity Promotion Division of the ESA Directorate of Manned Spaceflight and Microgravity, at ESTEC, Noordwijk, the Netherlands.

Members of the Jury

(Information/Computer Science)

Siemens Austria

Studied Physics at the University in Vienna and graduated with a Ph.D. Since then she has been with Siemens. Starting in the business unit for program and system development as a project leader for international automation systems she later became the head of a software development department. Currently she is responsible for the department of Interactive Media Systems within the business unit Audio and Video systems, her special interests there are connected with marketing and product planning. For several years this department has been working on leading edge technologies for media content management systems and this involves extensive work with an international development team that is distributed right across Austria and the USA. Dr. Stiller-Erdpresser is also one of the founding members of the University of Applied Sciences for Telecommunication and Media, St. Poelten.


University of Coimbra

Born in 1962. Graduated in Biology Helena Freitas obtained her Ph.D. at the University of Coimbra, Portugal, in 1993. In 19945 she completed her post-doctoral work at Stanford University (USA). She is currently Associate Professor of Plant Ecology at the Department of Botany of the University of Coimbra since 1997 where she co-ordinates an interdisciplinary unit involved in several national and international projects on Mediterranean ecosystems, bio-diversity, plant-soil interactions, and nature conservation. The unit expertise supports a significant capacity to interact with other units, through the participation in research programmes and post-graduate courses. Professor Freitas was president of the Portuguese NGO for the Conservation of Nature (LPN, IUCN member) from 1999 to 2002.


Technical University of Denmark

He earned a masters degree in mathematics and physics from the University of Aarhus, Denmark, 1966, and a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Warwick, England, 1972. He has held positions as assistant professor, University of Aarhus, 1966-69; research fellow, University of Warwick, 1969-72; associate professor, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, 1972-80. Visiting professor fall 1986 University of Maryland, College Park, US.
He has produced numerous research papers in topology, geometry, and global analysis. Author of several books including “Geometry in Nature” and “Shadows of the Circle”.
President of the Danish Academy of Natural Sciences since 1984. Member of the Danish Natural Science Research Council 1992-98, four of the years as vice-chairman.
He is currently professor of mathematics at the Technical University of Denmark and is presently chairman of the Raising Public Awareness of Mathematics committee of the European Mathematical Society.


Univesity of Sussex

Colin Osborne studied chemistry at the University of Sussex and then took a PhD in physical organic chemistry. He started work in patents and industrial property but after two years changed career to teaching in schools in London and Brighton. After 24 years he changed career again to manage the Royal Society of Chemistry’s education programme for schools. This includes the production of books, videos, CD-ROMs, events for students and teachers and careers material. He still finds chemistry fascinating, especially the applications of chemistry in all walks of life.

Prof. Jane GRIMSON

Trinity College Dublin

Professor Jane Grimson obtained her batchelors degree in Engineering from Trinity College Dublin and her Masters and Doctorate in Computer Science form the Universities of Toronto and Edinburgh. She is currently Vice-Provost of Trinity College Dublin. She was previously President of the Institution of Engineers of Ireland and of the Irish Academy of Engineering and is currently President of the Irish Computer Society and of the Healthcare Informatics Society of Ireland. She is a member of the European Research Advisory Board and of the Executive Board of the European Science Foundation.
Her main research interest is concerned with the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to improve healthcare. ICT has the potential to provide a more efficient and cost-effective healthcare system, reducing medical errors and improving quality, allowing doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals to concentrate on providing the best care to their patients.
Professor Grimson has also been active in promoting engineering as a career among young women. Engineering is about providing innovative solutions to improving quality of life and women have a key role to play in shaping the future.

Prof. Pál ORMOS

Institute of Biophysics, Biological Research Centre of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences

Pál Ormos studied physics at the Szeged University during which time he became interested in biological problems. After graduating in 1975, he started to work in the Institute of Biophysics, Biological Research Centre of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Szeged. He has spent most of his career at this Institute where he is now the director. During his scientific career his field of interest has been the physical aspects of the function of proteins, the molecular mechanism of biological energy transduction.
Recently, he moved into the field of nanotechnology where he is engaged in building nanomachines that are generated and activated by light.
Since 1998 he is correcponding member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. He is president of the Hungarian Biophysical Society, vice president of the Inrternational Union of Pure and Applied Physics and chair of its Commission on Biological Physics.


OECD-STI-Biotechnology Unit
Paris, France

Elettra Ronchi, Ph.D.,-is Co-ordinator of Health and Biotechnology Activities at the OECD, Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry. Elettra Ronchi holds a Ph.D. in molecular genetics and neuroendocrinology from the Rockefeller University/Cornell Medical School in New York, (US). She has held research, teaching and assistant appointments at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute of the Rockefeller University in New York, the University La Sapienza of Rome and at the Ecole Normale Superieure, in Paris. She has lectured and published extensively on topics linked to new developments in molecular genetics and biotechnology and their impact on health care systems.
Dr. Ronchi has acted as consultant and science adviser on biotechnology, health system management and technology transfer for human health to the United Nations and the OECD since 1992. In 1995 Dr. Ronchi joined the OECD to lead a programme of work on new emerging technologies related to human health, particularly new biotechnologies. Dr. Ronchi sits as expert and as OECD representative on a number of committees and advisory boards, including the UN Interagency Committee on Bioethics and the Bioethics Committee of the Council of Europe.

Dr. Dominique Robert Emiel FONTEYN

Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy

Dominique Fonteyn completed his doctoral studeis in 1989 at the K. U. Leuven in the field of low temperature solid state physics before becoming a researcher at the Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy. His main expertise is in the field of modelling of atmospheric chemistry. He has successfully extended this to chemical data assimilation using a comprehensive chemical transport model using the 4D-VAR method.
His fields of interest range from aerosols, heterogeneous stratospheric chemistry, mesospheric chemistry to planetary atmospheres chemistry (Martian atmosphere). He is involved in many international collaborations.
His also co-Principal Investigator of SPICAM Light, onboard the ESA/Mars Express probe.

Prof. Nadezhda BAGDASARYAN
(Social Sciences)

Dean of the Social Science and Humanities Department at the Bauman Moscow Technical University

Professor Bagdasaryan, member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, is the first social scientist to be invited as a jury member.
She has published extensively in the areas of university education, sociology and philosophy of culture, and cross-cultural communications and has worked in collaboration with UNESCO.
Since 1969 She has held a post at the Bauman Moscow Technical University where currently she is the Dean of the Social Sciences and Humanities Department, and senior professor for sociology and cultural sciences.

Michéle PERON

European Southern Observatory

Michele Peron obtained her Master's degree in applied mathematics from the University Pierre and Marie Curie, Paris in 1985. She started her professional career as an engineer at the Institut d'Astrophique de Paris. In 1989 she joined the European Southern Observatory where she has worked as a scientist ever since.
From the outset, she participated in the development of MIDAS, a data analysis system used widely by the astronomical community to process observational data.
In 2000, she became Head of the Data Flow Systems Group (DFS) at the ESO. This group of ~30 physicists, mathematicians and software engineers is
Responsible for the design and implementation of a set of software components which are critical for the end-to-end operations of the Very Large Telescope (VLT) located in Chile's Atacama desert.
The VLT observatory is the World's largest and most technologically advanced ground-based optical astronomical facility. The DFS system includes, in particular, observation preparation tools, archival systems and data processing packages.

Guest Jury Member


Principal Director of the European Patent Office, Munich

Jan Steenbakker studied mechanical engineering at the University of Delft, Holland. Graduating in 1976, he commenced in the same year at the Dutch Patent Office, moving in 1979 to the European Patent Office. In addition to his background in mechanics, he has substantial experience of assessing inventions across a range of technical fields including telecommunications, biotechnology and vehicles, and has a particular interest in medical and agricultural applications.
He was nominated Principal Director of the European Patent Office in 2002, in which role he is now responsible for all matters relating to the search, examination, granting and opposition of European Patents in the field of telecommunications.

The Alumni Jury

First prize winner in 1997 (Milano)

Currently 23 years old and working on his Ph.D. at the University of Constance, Eike started studying at chemistry in Constance because of his interest in polymerisation catalysts. His diploma thesis dealt reactions belonging to the activation step of “zirconium” catalysts.
During his studies became more and more interested in computational chemistry and combined calculations with the experimental results. Recently he set up a cluster of multiprocessor workstations to perform quantum chemical calculations. He is currently working in the group of Dr. N. Burzlaff together with five Ph.D. students at the research group of Prof. Dr. H. Fischer where the focus is on cataysis.

Lorraine RUZIÉ
Second prize winner in 1999 (Thessaloniki)

In 1999, Lorraine became the youngest contestant (16) ever to obtain a second prize and a special award with the Royal Geographical Society. At school, she developed a passionate interest in the study of volcanoes. Since 1999, she has been intent on to becoming a volcanologist. At the moment she is studying at the Lycée Saint-Louis Earth Sciences and plans to go to University next year. She says: “Participation in the Contest really was great for me, and was one of the major factors that made me decide to pursue a scientific career.

Second prize winner in 1996 (Helsinki)

Emil studied programming during the secondary school at Neumann Janos Computer Science Secondary School (Budapest) and is now studying electrical engineering at BMF Kando Kalman Faculty of Electrical Engineering. After the secondary school he found a company interested in exploiting his work on micro-computer devices, network development and internet based applications and these devices were installed and work in real applications, such as security systems and industrial networks. In the last two years Emil is working on image processing and combining his studies with development work in the field of medical x-ray imaging.