Rolex announced the names of the renowned scientists, environmentalists, innovators and explorers who will comprise the Jury to choose the 10 winners of a commemorative edition of the Rolex Awards for Enterprise. The 2016 series of the Awards marks the 40th anniversary of this international philanthropic programme that has given vital support to 130 pioneers working on highly original projects on every continent with one objective – to make the world a better place.
The Jury members, who include an Olympic champion, a Nobel Prize winner, a celebrated underwater photographer and an astronaut who is also a best-selling author, will meet in Geneva in April 2016 to select five Laureates and five Young Laureates who have groundbreaking projects to improve life on the planet.
A total of 2,322 people of 144 nationalities applied to the 2016 Rolex Awards. For the first time, the highest number of applicants (24 per cent) were from Africa.
The Rolex Awards, which were launched in 1976 to mark the 50th anniversary of the iconic Rolex Oyster, 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.
Projects are evaluated based on their feasibility, originality, sustained impact on people and the environment and, above all, on the spirit of enterprise demonstrated by applicants. Laureates each receive 100,000 Swiss francs and Young Laureates each receive 50,000 Swiss francs, with the grants used to advance the projects.
Rebecca Irvin, Head of Philanthropy at Rolex says “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 programme. 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.”