Marc Cornelissen (1968 - 2015)
Thinking, dreaming, daring and doing, across geographical, scientific and organizational boundaries: this was who Marc Cornelissen was until his unexpected death in 2015. As a professional adventurer he had one passion, creating a sustainable world, and he was not afraid to choose paths other than the traditional ones to achieve this goal.
This attitude and spirit are also the foundation on which Brightlands scientists, students, entrepreneurs and professionals work together and connect across boundaries in their efforts to meet the grand challenges of sustainability and health. His ideas, bravery, enterprise and impact have been praised by the World Wildlife Fund, international top scientists such as Robbert Dijkgraaf and opinion leaders like André Kuipers who want to “keep his work and spirit alive.” Brightlands pays tribute to his amazing legacy with the Marc Cornelissen Brightlands Award.
After graduating from TU Delft, he traded a budding career as an architect for that of a professional adventurer. On his own steam, Marc reached the geographic North and South Poles (1997 and 2000), a feat that has only been accomplished by a handful of people worldwide. His expeditions to remote and hard-to-reach areas have been the basis for documentaries, books, publications and inspiring lectures and training programs for business. Marc has seen the impact of climate change with his own eyes, particularly in the North Pole region. This inspired him to support climate research in the pole regions, draw attention to the problem and develop projects which focus mainly on finding solutions. Among other things, this led to an initiative he started, the Ben & Jerry’s Climate Change College, and his ambassadorship for the World Wildlife Fund.
For further information, visit or listen to part of the speech given by two of his fans, André Kuipers and Robbert Dijkgraaf, at the memorial service for Marc Cornelissen.