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Three nominees for the award 2021

Updated: Dec 18, 2020

Dysmus Kisulu, the Young Climate Movement and Panos Kouris are the three finalists for the Marc Cornelissen Brightlands Award. The award will be presented on 20 January next year by Theo Bovens Commissioner of the King in the Province of Limburg and chairman of the Curatorium of the award.

The Award is a tribute to the polar explorer and sustainability pioneer Marc Cornelissen, who died during a polar expedition in 2015. He was already using unorthodox means at the end of the last century to draw attention to the impending climate catastrophe. The prize, which was then established, goes to the candidate who, like the Marc Cornelissen, stands out for his or her efforts towards a more sustainable world.

25 candidates

For the third edition, 25 candidates from over the globe came forward this year, significantly more than two years ago. The professional jury, consisting of Emmo Meijer, Ellen Cornelissen, Bert Kip, Mariëlle Heijltjes, Freek van Eijk and Marcel Wubbolts, first made a shortlist of six sustainability pioneers. They pitched their idea for a sustainable innovation during an online event at the Brightlands Greenport Campus in Venlo. In the end, the professional jury chose the three finalists.

Three finalists

With Solar Freeze, Dysmus Kisulu from Kenya wants to market affordable, communal refrigeration systems for farmers that allow them to keep their fruit and vegetables longer fresh. The mobile refrigerators have to run on solar panels, farmers can rent the cooling per hour at low cost, is the intention.

The Young Climate Movement carries the sustainable voice of young people through, among other things, drawing up a climate agenda and transition plans and campaigns and connects this voice with politicians, policy makers and the business community.

Panos Kouris, based at Vertoro on the Brightlands Chemelot Campus, is developing a plant for converting residual biomass (sawdust, agricultural waste, lignin) into crude oil. This oil can be used as a renewable raw material for existing fossil oil refineries and petrochemical plants or as marine fuel.


The Marc Cornelissen Brightlands Award is an initiative of the foundation of the same name under the chairmanship of Maria van der Hoeven. Its aim is to encourage sustainability pioneers to persevere and invite them to use the Brightlands community to innovate in areas such as circularity, nutrition, digitisation and health. In addition to a piece of art, the award also includes a sum of €35,000 to be spent on the next step in the winner's sustainability mission. In 2018, medical entomologist Bart Knols took credit for his approach to combating the malaria mosquito. The first winner was Erasmus professor and expert in health communication Martine Bouman.