© Marc Cornelissen Brightlands Award
Author profile picture

Each year, the jury of the Marc Cornelissen Brightlands Award goes in search of outstanding sustainable leaders. Candidates who distinguish themselves in the spirit of Marc Cornelissen in their style of collaborative leadership and transborder approach have a chance of winning the trophy. The application period for this award is now open. People working on concrete projects that have a definite potential to contribute in an impactful way to the circular transition have until 15 June to apply.

The Marc Cornelissen Brightlands Award is intended as a leadership award in the field of sustainability. Previous winners exemplify this, namely: Panos Kouris, Bart Knols and Martine Bouman.

It’s not hard to be inspired by the work of Cornelissen. A professional adventurer, this man from the Dutch province of Limburg had one passion: to stop climate change and protect the earth. In doing this, he had not been afraid to choose other paths than traditional ones to achieve this goal. In 2015, Marc and his expedition companion Philip de Roo literally sank through the thin Arctic ice, both men died as a result. In their last voice recording, uploaded on April 28, Marc says it was unusually warm – “actually way too warm” – and that within sixty minutes of setting out that day they were skiing in their underwear. “We think there’s thin ice in front of us. That’s interesting, we’re going to check it out if we can.” On April 29, about 200 kilometers south of Bathurst Island, they came upon sea ice so unexpectedly thin that it gave way beneath their feet. This accident and their deaths shocked the community of polar explorers and researchers. The fieldwork that the two men have undertaken is likely to become increasingly more difficult due to the ever-thinning ice, while the data it provides is growing in importance.

Off the beaten track

The jury for the Award is looking for pioneers who are driven by a dream and not afraid to veer off the beaten tracks. “Like Marc Cornelissen, you are also on an expedition and are encouraging others to join you. You are conscious that courage and leadership are what will make the difference in achieving your dream. As a pioneer or team of pioneers, you are focused on innovative contributions or breakthroughs in the field of circular economy, climate change, food production, industrial processes, building, mobility, IT solutions, health or energy issues. This is how you help to accelerate the circular transition. Your project has its basis in the Netherlands or the German or Belgian border region. Of course, the impact may be global.”

You can find all of the contest terms and registration options here.

Read more about the Marc Cornelissen Brightlands Aard here.


This story is the result of a collaboration between Brightlands and our editorial team. Innovation Origins is an independent journalism platform that carefully chooses its partners and only cooperates with companies and institutions that share our mission: spreading the story of innovation. This way we can offer our readers valuable stories that are created according to journalistic guidelines. Want to know more about how Innovation Origins works with other companies? Click here