2020 STARTS Prize Jury

All nominations are judged by a jury to decide on the two prize-winning projects and up to ten honorary mentions.

PortraitMara Balestrini (IT) is a Human Computer Interaction (HCI) researcher and a technology strategist. She is currently CEO at the innovation agency Ideas for Change and a co-founder of SalusCoop, the first Spanish cooperative for citizens’ health data. Mara’s work sits at the intersection of civic technology, design and Action Research. She has authored over 30 publications on these subjects and coordinated projects such as Making Sense EU, Bristol Approach and #DataFutures. Mara earned a PhD in Computer Science from the Intel Collaborative Research Institute on Sustainable Connected Cities at University College London. Her work has been awarded at ACM CHI, ACM CSCW, Ars Electronica, among others, and featured in international media such as the BBC, The Guardian, The Financial Times and El País.
PortraitDomhnaill Hernon (IE) is an award-winning technology, innovation and creativity executive. Domhnaill received an undergrad in Aeronautical Engineering and a PhD in Aerodynamics from the University of Limerick and an executive MBA from Dublin City University, Ireland. He previously led R&D organizations and developed and executed strategies to overcome the “innovation valley of death”. He is Head of Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T) which is a new initiative he founded to fuse art and engineering/science to develop solutions that humanize technology. Domhnaill’ s work has been featured in Wired Magazine, Times Square, SXSW, Nasdaq, MWC and Inspirefest to name just a few and he advises cultural programs globally.
PortraitKei Shimada (JP/US) is a Japanese American entrepreneur, angel investor and currently the leader of the Digital Makers Lab at IBM Japan. In his current role, he is leading a group of talented engineers in creating world first, region first, industry first innovative products and solutions through co-creation with external technology partners around the globe. He is also a consultant advising companies on digital transformation. Kei’s strength lies in identifying and solving complex problems. He holds several awards and patents in the area. His other strength lies in creative execution, most recently leading a team to produce the world’s first AI classic concert at Ars Electronica in 2019. Kei is one of Japan’s most active keynote speakers, having given talks and moderated panels in over 20 countries as well. His interests include neural technology, next-generation mobility, cooking and teaching his son to code.
PortraitFrancesca Bria (IT) is the President of the Italian National Innovation Fund, and Honorary Professor in the Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose at UCL in London. She is a Senior Adviser to the United Nation (UN-Habitat) on digital cities and digital rights. Francesca Bria is leading the DECODE project on data sovereignty in Europe, and is a member of the European Commission high level expert group Economic and Societal Impact of Research and Innovation (ESIR). Francesca has a PhD in Innovation and Entrepreneurship from Imperial College, London and MSc on Digital Economy from University of London, Birbeck. She has been teaching in several universities in the UK and Italy and she has advised Governments, public and private organizations on technology and innovation policy, and its socio-economic and environmental impact.
PortraitNobu Ide (JP) started his career at Sharp Corporation in 1995, where he spent 18 years. He joined Wacom in 2013 as General Manager of technology marketing to reinforce Wacom’s leadership position in digital pen solutions. Promoted to SVP heading the company’s Technology Solution Business Unit in 2015, and to Executive Director in 2017, Nobu drove collaborations with key industry partners across the globe. In April, 2018, He assumed the role of Representative Director, President & CEO.
PortraitAlexander Mankowsky (DE), born 1957 in Berlin, studied Social Science, Philosophy and Psychology at the ‘Freie Universität Berlin’. In 1989 he started working in the research institute of Daimler in Berlin. The multidisciplinary approach in the institute integrated a wide array of disciplines, from social sciences to artificial intelligence. His current working topics are Futures Studies, focussed on the ever changing culture of mobility, the interdependency of social and technological innovation and other aspects of envisioning paths into the future.
PortraitClara Blume (AT), PhD, is Deputy Director and Head of Art, Science, and Technology at Open Austria, the Austrian Consulate and innovation office in Silicon Valley. She curates and promotes artistic projects at the intersection of art + tech while bridging Austria with the innovation ecosystem in the SF Bay Area. Before, she worked as a professional musician, songwriter, and internationally touring recording artist. Blume has an academic background in fine arts, composition, comparative literature, cultural studies, and history. She is a regular conference speaker and a published author.

STARTS Prize Advisors

The advisors are renowned international consultants with expertise in this field. They recommend projects and encourage a wide range of potential participants to submit proposals. In addition, they ensure a balance in terms of gender and geographical origin of the participants.

PortraitAngelique Spaninks (NL). Combining journalism, criticism and curating Angelique Spaninks has developed a generalist, interdisciplinary practice bridging contemporary art, design, digital culture and bio art & design. Since 2005 she runs MU Hybrid Art House, one of the leading contemporary art institutes in the Netherlands with an outspoken multidisciplinary program as both director and curator. Over the years she has been part of many cultural boards, think tanks and commissions to help further develop cross cultural practice and policy in the Netherlands and abroad.
PortraitManuel Kretzer (DE) is professor for Material and Technology at the Dessau Department of Design, Anhalt University of Applied Sciences. His research aims at the creation of dynamic and adaptive objects with a specific focus on new smart and biological material performance and their combination with advanced digital design and fabrication tools. In 2012 he initiated materiability, a free educational platform that attempts to connect architects, designers and artists and provides access to novel material developments and technologies.
PortraitAmanda Masha Caminals (ES) is co-director and curator of the Mutant Institute of Environmental Narratives (IMNA), the laboratory of Matadero Madrid that fosters artistic practices in connection with journalism, science and technology as a response to the challenges of the climate crisis. Previous to that, she directed the CITY STATION of the Environmental Health Clinic by artist Natalie Jeremijenko at the Centre for Contemporary Culture of Barcelona (CCCB). She is founder of the organization Translocalia, a network of artists, curators and designers to plan for the future through art. She holds a BA in Humanities, a Degree in History of Art and an MA Hons in Curating Contemporary Art from the Royal College of Art in London.
PortraitAchim Menges (DE) is an architect in Frankfurt and professor at the University of Stuttgart, where he is the founding director of the Institute for Computational Design and Construction (ICD) and the director of the Cluster of Excellence Integrative Computational Design and Construction for Architecture (IntCDC). The focus of Achim Menges’ practice and research is on the development of integrative design at the intersection of computational design methods, robotic manufacturing and construction, as well as advanced material and building systems. His projects and design research has received many international awards, has been published and exhibited worldwide, and form parts of several renowned museum collections.
PortraitChiaki Hayashi (JP) is the co-founder and is currently the Representative Director of Loftwork Inc. Loftwork succeeds to annually produce over 600 projects. She manages the operation of the company’s creative platform Loftwork.com which has 25,000 creators registered, FabCafe which is a cafe with digital fabrication tools, and a material-centered co-working office MTRL. She is currently Japan Liaison to the Director at the MIT Media Lab. She has recently founded “Hidakuma” which aims to rebuild nature and local creativity.
PortraitHiroshi Ishii (JP/US) is the Jerome B. Wiesner Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at the MIT Media Lab. Joining the Media Lab in 1995, he founded the Tangible Media Group to make digital tangible by giving physical and dynamic form to digital information and computation. Here he pursues his visions of “Tangible Bits” (1997) and “Radical Atoms” (2012) that will transcend the current dominant paradigm of Human-Computer Interaction: “Painted Bits” of Graphical User Interfaces. For his visionary work in HCI, he was awarded tenure from MIT in 2001 and the SIGCHI Lifetime Research Award in 2019.
PortraitHelene Steiner (AT) is a designer and engineer who works at the interface between technology and science. She co-founded Open Cell with the mission to provide affordable lab space to early-stage startups innovating at the intersection of design and biology. She leads the biomaterial platform at the fashion department at the Royal College of Art. Was previously a postdoc research fellow in Microsoft Research Cambridge and a visiting research fellow in the Tangible Research group of the MIT Media Lab. She holds an MDes from the Bauhaus University, MA from the Royal College of Art and an MSc from Imperial College London.
PortraitBastian Schäfer (DE), born in 1980, is a maverick, kitesurfer, TED speaker, father of a boy and a girl and automotive engineer. After working at Volkswagen Design he entered Airbus in 2006 in different projects for A340, A350 and A380. In 2009 he joined the project team that created the award winning Airbus Concept Cabin with its’ bionic structure. Bastian Schäfer is the project leader of the Bionic Partition project where he is focussing on generative design combined with 3D printing technology.