Promoting Excellence in Scientific Research Since 1992
The Dimitris N. Chorafas Foundation awards scientific prizes for outstanding work in selected fields in the engineering sciences, medicine and the natural sciences. It rewards research characterized by its high potential for practical application and by the special significance attached to its aftermath. Every year, partner universities in Europe, North America and Asia evaluate the research work of their graduating doctorate students and propose the best for prizing. Depending on the years of association with the Foundation and the size of the sample from which the best researcher is chosen (which must be statistically valid), some partner universities receive two prizes per year; others have one annual prize. The Foundation prizes the best doctoral student(s) in the Hard Sciences in each partner university. These annual awards are of $5,000 each.
FGS Affiliation: Scientific Advisor
In December 2013, the Board of the Dimitris N. Foundation and the Weizmann Institute of Science signed a convention according to which the Feinberg Graduate School will serve as a Scientific Advisor to the Foundation.
Dr. Dimitris N. Chorafas (1926-2014), advisor, author, thinker, philanthropist
Dr. Dimitris N. Chorafas was the Founder and a member of the Board since 1992 and President from 1996 until 2014. A Greek citizen, Dr. Chorafas has advised financial institutions and industrial corporations in strategic planning, risk management, computers and communications systems, and internal controls.
A graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, the University of Paris, and the Technical University of Athens, Dr. Chorafas was a Fulbright scholar. Financial institutions which sought his advice include the Union Bank of Switzerland, Bank Vontobel, CEDEL, the Bank of Scotland, Österreichische Länderbank (Bank Austria), First Austrian Bank, Commerzbank, Dresdner Bank, Demir Bank, Mid-Med Bank, Istituto Bancario Italiano, Credito Commerciale and Banca Provinciale Lombarda.
Dr. Chorafas served in the faculty of Catholic University of America and as visiting professor at Washington State University, George Washington University, University of Vermont, University of Florida, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Alberta, Technical University of Karlsruhe, Ecole d'Etudes Industrielles de l'Université de Genève, Ecole Polytechnic Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Polish Academy of Sciences and Russian Academy of Sciences. Dr. Chorafas authored 160 books, some of which have been translated into several languages.
Prize winners must be at the top of their class; and must demonstrate by their work that they have considered the consequences of their research for man and nature, and that they are ready as individuals to accept responsibility for these consequences. Awards are made after a very careful selection process in each respective prize category.
Present Partner Universities
The following is a list of partner universities. The number of annual prizes received is listed next to the name of each university (in brackets).
- Charles University, Prague – Czech Republic 
- City University London, Cass Business School – Great Britain 
- EPFL, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne – Switzerland 
- ETHZ, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich – Switzerland 
- George Washington University – United States 
- Hebrew University of Jerusalem – Israel 
- Hiroshima University – Japan 
- Karolinska Institute – Sweden 
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology – United States 
- National Technical University of Athens – Greece 
- Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) – Norway 
- Politecnico di Milano – Italy 
- Purdue University – United States 
- Technical University of Berlin – Germany 
- Technical University of Munich – Germany 
- Tokyo Institute of Technology – Japan 
- Tsinghua University, Beijing – China 
- University of California, Los Angeles – United States 
- University of Fribourg – Switzerland 
- University of Toronto – Canada 
- Weizmann Institute of Science, Feinberg Graduate School – Israel 
Former Partner Universities
- Budapest University of Technology and Economics – Hungary
- Columbia University – United States
- Ecole Normale Supérieure – France}
- Erasmus University – The Netherlands
- London Business School – Great Britain
- Technical University of Vienna – Austria
- University of Ottawa – Canada
Domains of Research
The award is given in six areas, with a particular emphasis on research in:
- Life Sciences & Medicine
- Chemistry (including nanotechnology)
- Informatics/Computer Science
- Engineering of Finance & Risk Management).
About the Dimitris N. Chorafas Foundation
Origin of the Foundation
The Foundation was instituted in 1992 in collaboration with the Conference of the Swiss Academies of Science, which integrated the Swiss Academy of Sciences (founded in 1815), the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences (instituted in 1943), the Swiss Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences (founded in 1946) and Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences (founded in 1981). In 1996 the Foundation became independent of the Academies of Sciences. Since 1996, it has worked in collaboration with 20 partner universities in fifteen different countries. The Dimitris N. Chorafas Foundation is registered as a not-for-profits entity in Canton Lucerne, Switzerland.
The Board of the Foundation
The Foundation is managed by a 3-member Board. This has been the policy followed since its establishment in 1992. The Board’s basic duties are to:
- Effectively manage the Foundation’s wealth.
- Do so in a manner consistent with a conservative investment policy.
- Assure the Foundations continues being a successfully operating entity.
- Handhold with the partner universities through the year, in collaboration with the Scientific Advisor.
- Control and approve the annual prize winners. This control consists of a general appreciation of the depth of the research, as well as the observation of prerequisites relating to the confirmation process.
Members of the Board
The following are the members of the Board of the Foundation:
Dr. Heinrich Steinmann has been a Member of the Board since 1992 and President since 2014. A Swiss citizen, Dr. Steinmann has been Executive Vice President and Member of the Group Executive Board of Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS), member of the Board of ASCOM Holding AG; Chairman, Hasler Foundation; Chairman, Rieter Holding AG; Member of the Board, Atel Aare Tessin AG für Elektrizität; Member of the Board, BT & T Time AG, and BT&T Life AG; Chairman, BT & T Trading AG; Chairman, Hirslanden Holding AG; Member of the Board, MAT Securitas Express AG; Chairman and CEO, Motor-Columbus AG; Vice chairman, Mizuho Bank (Schweiz) AG; Member of the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences SATW; and Member, Foundation University of Freiburg. Dr. Steinmann has authored many books in information technology and in management.
Ms. Eva Maria Binder has been the Executive Secretary of the Foundation since 1996 and Member of the Board since 2014. A German citizen, Ms. Binder worked since 1976 as Dr. Chorafas' research assistant; collaborated in the research, artwork and indexing of over 100 books authored by Dr. Chorafas. In 1992 Ms. Binder co-authored with Dr. Chorafas “Technoculture and Change. Strategic Solutions for Tomorrow's Society,” published in London by Adamantine Press.
Dr. Otto Weibel has been member of the Board since 2018. A Swiss citizen, In 1977 Dr. Weibel obtained his doctorate in chemistry at the ETH in Zürich. Thereafter he successfully managed the family corporation Otto Weibel AG, during which time he was also member of the Board and then president of the Swiss Coatings Federation. During his entrepreneurial career, Dr. Weibel undertook two research projects for the Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation.
The legal counsel of the Foundation is lic. iur. Anton Bühlmann. Mr. Bühlmann was born in 1957. He is a resident of Lucerne, where he practices his professional activities has studied law at the University of Zurich, where he graduated in 1986. After his admission to the bar in the canton of Lucerne in 1987 he entered the law firm Troller Hitz Troller, Lucerne in 1988 as attorney-at-law. Since 1994, he has been a partner of he law firm Troller Hitz Troller.The primary emphasis of Anton Bühlmann’s professional activity concerns commercial and corporation law, Swiss and international agreements and arbitration, trademark and company-name law, the law on competition, copyright law and the landlord and tenant law. He engages in counselling and appears in court. As additional functions, Anton Bühlmann is Chairman of the Conciliation Tribunal for tenancy matters of the Canton of Lucerne since 1994 and a member of the bar examination commission of the Canton of Lucerne. Since 2005, lic. iur. Anton Bühlmann has been a permanent lecturer for tenancy law at the University of Lucerne. He is also active as an author/coauthor of books and essays on civil procedure law and tenancy law. lic. iur. Anton Bühlmann has been the legal counsel of the Dimitris N. Chorafas Foundation since 2015.
The Scientific Advisor of the Foundation is the Feinberg Graduate School of the Weizmann Institute of Science. The Scientific Advisor is responsible for: The organization of competition for the annual prizes, the review of candidates for the awards, proposal to the Board for awarding the prizes and hand-holding with the Partner Universities. This work is done within the perspective established by the Scientific Advisor’s rules and regulations and the Foundation’s Authentic Act and Statutes. The above-mentioned review should not enter into the contents of the candidate prize winner’s research thesis, which is the Partner University’s responsibility. The huge diversity of submitted research thesis precludes central evaluation. The review consists of a general appreciation of the depth of the research and of the scientific accomplishments of the nominee as they are manifested in the letters of reference, CV, list of publications – these being the quality criteria. With the exception of borderline cases which have to be resolved prior to confirmation (for instance due to incomplete candidate files, unconvincing research results or same candidate name submitted time and again), the Board of the Foundation confirms the selection process handheld by the Scientific Advisor.
- By January 30: Call for nominations by the Scientific Advisor.
- By May 31: Submission of nomination files by the Partner Universities to the Scientific Advisor. A somewhat different timetable concerns only 2 Partner Universities: ETH Zürich and University of Fribourg.
- By June 30: Review of the nomination files by the Scientific Advisor.
- By July 31 Approval of the year’s prize winners (by the Board of the Foundation).
- By August 30: Distribution of the prize certificates and checks by the Board of the Foundation.
Deadline for submissions:
May 31, of the PRIZE_YEAR
Each prize winner will receive $5,000.
Splitting the Prize
It is NOT possible to split a prize between two candidates.
Candidates may not be older than 32 years of age at the PRIZE_YEAR, candidates must have been born after May 31, of the (PRIZE_YEARE minus 32). The age limit for Israeli candidates is 34.
PhD eligibility date must either during the PRIZE_YEAR, or between June 1, and December 31, of the preceding year.
A candidate may be nominated only once.
The format of the nomination file
a single file in a PDF format containing all the segments listed below in their specified order. The size of this combined file should not exceed 20MB. When done please click on "Apply Changes" to instruct the system to submit the uploaded file.
How to submit the nomination file(s)
Please use our online nomination system to submit your file(s). You may access the system with the URL (provided below), USERNAME and PASSWORD. Please click the “Edit” link that will show on the screen, and fill in the required information about your candidate. Thereafter, please upload the candidate’s nomination file. It should be
Required documents and their order
Cover Page with the following information:
- Full Name (LAST, first)
- Title (e.g. Dr.)
- Candidate's home address (essential for issuing the prize check)
- Date of Birth [DD/MM/YYYY]
- Title of the Thesis;
- Graduation date (or expected graduation date) (MM/YYYY)
- Field of Research
- Passport size photo
A brief nomination letter (a short paragraph), written under the Partner University’s letterhead, confirming the University’s choice and signed by the authorized person at the Partner University.
Including internships, if any.
List of publications
Only papers where the candidate is the first author; the paper must be either published, in press or accepted (in peer-review journals).
Summary of Research
Up to one page only.
Candidate’s personal note
Why my research benefits humanity… (up to one page only)
Letter of recommendation 1
from the Ph.D. advisor/s (required) the salutation should be: Dear Members of the Board
Letter of recommendation 2
(required) the salutation should be: Dear Members of the Board
(up to 5 abstracts - no longer than 1/2 page each)
List of the statistically valid sample of candidates
Presenting 20-25 candidates that were considered, but not retained (the list should contain first and last name; faculty, or, the field of studies; and thesis title).