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 applied research:
Research, Development and Applications in High Technology
R&D and implementation in the domain of high technology for: Communications networks, databases (big data, mining), super-computers, tablets and instruments at end user level, man-machine interfaces, artificial intelligence and knowledge engineering.
Life Sciences and Medicine
Immunology, bacteriology, biology, biochemistry, bioengineering, biotechnology, medical sciences, medical engineering, human engineering.
Physics, Chemistry, Sciences of the Very Small and the Very Large
Research in the domains of physics, chemistry, nanotechnology and astrophysics.
Formal Sciences ─ Mathematics, Logic, Statistics and their Applications
Mathematical analysis, structural analysis, reliability engineering, statistical quality control, application of SQC, risk management (particularly in relation to financial products), analysis and engineering of systems assuring quality and reliability.
Hard Science Solutions to Millennium Problems
Real-life applications contributing in a significant way to the survival of the human species by way of birth control, family planning and longevity management with the aim to: Reduce the demographic explosion; allow a higher quality of education for each newborn; keep public longevity expenditures under control; and preserve the Earth from over-exploitation and pollution.
Interdisciplinary Scientific Research
Included in this category are effective methods for recycling and optimal usage of existing resources with the objective of preservation and management of natural resources in the longer term – particularly in energy, clean air, clean water, earth and materials.
The following areas are not prized by the Foundation: Social sciences, sociology, political economy, legislation civil and penal code.
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; and Member, Foundation University of Freiburg. Dr. Steinmann has authored many books in information technology and in management.
- Dr. 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.
- Mr. Dirk M.A. Meier, lic. oec. HSG has been a Member of the Board since 2014. A Swiss citizen, Mr. Meier has been Vice President of Credit Suisse and LGT Bank in Liechtenstein in professional advising and portfolio management. Previously, he was the personal financial advisor to Marc Rich in Eastern Europe and the financial expert for Glencore International AG. He is a Business Angel to two solar and alternative energy companies in Switzerland. New projects deal with value and integrity - also on an academic perspective.
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 15: Review of the nomination files by the Scientific Advisor.
- By June 30 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.
Splitting the Prize
It is no longer possible to split the prize.
Candidates may not be older than 32 years of age at the time they are nominated for the prize (the age limit of Israeli candidates is 34).
A candidate may be nominated only once.
Graduation Scheme Restriction
A partner university may nominate a candidate that graduated or is expected to graduate anytime from June 1st of the previous year and December 31st of the prize year (for instance: in 2017, partner universities may nominate a candidate that graduated/is expected to graduate between June 1, 2016 and December 31, 2017).
All files must be In a PDF format.
File Submission Method
The files should be submitted through the Feinberg Graduate School online CALLs system (link, username and password to access the system are supplied to the contact people at the partner universities).
Contents of the Nomination Files
Each candidate must be nominated separately as follows:
(1) Cover page with the following information
- Full Name (LAST, first)
- Date of Birth (DD/MM/YYYY)
- Title of the Thesis
- Graduation Date (or expected graduation date) (MM/YYYY)
- Field of Research (choose the closest one of the following fields: Life Sciences & Medicine, Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Informatics/Computer Science, Engineering of Finance & Risk Management).
- Passport size photo
(2) 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. The salutation that should be used is: Dear members of the Board.
(3) Complete CV
Including internship, if any.
(4)List of publications
- Only papers for which the candidate is a first author
- All papers must be in peer-review journals only
- Papers must be either published, in press or accepted
(5) Summary of research
Up to one page only.
(6) Personal note
Up to one page only - why my research benefits humanity...
(7) Two letters of recommendation
One must be from the PhD supervisor.
The salutation that should be used is: Dear members of the Board.
(8) Selected abstracts
Abstracts of first authored papers in peer-review journals
(9) Selected abstracts
List of the statistically valid sample of candidates (20-25) that were considered, but not retained (the list should contain first and last name; faculty, or, field of studies; and thesis title).