Rolex Announces Enterprise Awards Jury For 40th Anniversary Year

Eminent Judging Panel to Select World-Changing Pioneers

Jan 25, 2016, 10:00 ET from Rolex Philanthropy

GENEVA, Jan. 25, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Rolex today announced the names of the renowned scientists, environmentalists, innovators and explorers who will comprise the international jury that will select the 10 winners of the commemorative edition of the Rolex Awards for Enterprise.

The 2016 series of the Rolex Awards marks the 40th anniversary of this global philanthropic program that has given vital support to 130 pioneers working on highly original projects on every continent, who all share one objective: to make the world a better place.  

Among the Jury members are an Olympic champion, a Nobel Prize-winner, a renowned underwater photographer and an astronaut who is also a best-selling author. They will meet in Geneva in April 2016 to select the winners of the Rolex Awards for Enterprise, comprising five Laureates and five Young Laureates who have or are developing ground-breaking initiatives that have the potential to improve life on the planet.

A total of 2,322 people representing 144 nationalities applied to the 2016 Rolex Awards. For the first time, the highest number of applicants (24 percent) were from Africa.

Launched in 1976 to mark the 50th anniversary of the iconic Rolex Oyster, the Rolex Awards for Enterprise support men and women who demonstrate the passion and the tenacity to advance human knowledge in five areas: science and health; applied technology; exploration and discovery; the environment; and cultural heritage. To encourage the next generation of leaders, an extension of the program devoted to Young Laureates, aged between 18 and 30, was introduced in 2009.

Projects are evaluated based on their feasibility, originality, sustained impact on people and the environment and, above all, the spirit of enterprise demonstrated by the applicants. Laureates each receive 100,000 Swiss francs (approximately US$100,000) and Young Laureates each receive 50,000 Swiss francs (approximately US$50,000), with the grants used to advance the projects.

The members of the Jury are:

  • Ghada Amer, electrical engineer (Egypt)
  • Antje Boetius, marine biologist (Germany)
  • María Emilia Correa, sustainability leader (Colombia)
  • David Doubilet, underwater photographer (United States)
  • Marcus du Sautoy, mathematician and science communicator (United Kingdom)
  • David Edwards, biomedical engineer and innovator (United States)
  • Chris Hadfield, astronaut (Canada)
  • Stefan Hell, physicist (Germany)
  • Segenet Kelemu, agricultural scientist (Ethiopia)
  • Johann Olav Koss, social entrepreneur (Norway)
  • Rohini Nilekani, philanthropist and social entrepreneur (India)
  • Joseph J. Y. Sung, gastroenterologist and university vice-chancellor (Hong Kong).

"As we begin the fifth decade of the Rolex Awards for Enterprise, we welcome the outstanding group of Jury members who are giving their time to help us choose the latest winners of our long-standing, international philanthropic program," said Rebecca Irvin, Head of Philanthropy at Rolex.

"The demographics of the applicants they will be scrutinizing closely reflect the world at large: the growth of entrepreneurism in developing countries; the importance of innovative technology to our lives; and the increasing power and presence of women today," she added.

The 10 new Laureates will be announced and honoured at a special 40th anniversary ceremony in Los Angeles, CA, in November 2016.

Facts About the 2016 Rolex Awards for Enterprise Applications

  • Those projects with an applied technology component rose to 27 percent from 18 percent in 2014.
  • More than one-quarter – exactly 26 percent – of the applications are in the environment category.
  • The top five source countries represented among the applications are the United States, India, Nigeria, Brazil and Egypt.
  • The proportion of women applicants is 33 percent.
  • The age of the youngest candidate is 19 years.
  • The age of the oldest candidate is 87 years.

Rolex Philanthropy
The Rolex Awards for Enterprise and its sister program, the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, comprise the two major international philanthropic programs run by the Rolex Institute. The Arts Initiative brings together emerging artists with masters in architecture, dance, film, literature, music, theatre and the visual arts for a year of intensive collaboration. The aim is to help ensure that artistic excellence is passed on to the next generation. Both programmes foster innovation and advance the work of those who exemplify the vision, ingenuity and excellence that define the Rolex brand. For more information, please visit:


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SOURCE Rolex Philanthropy