2015 judges

Dr Rita Colwell

Dr. Rita Colwell is Distinguished University Professor both at the University of Maryland at College Park and at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Senior Advisor and Chairman Emeritus, Canon US Life Sciences, Inc., and Global Science Officer and Chairman of CosmosID, Inc.  Her interests are focused on global infectious diseases, water, and health, and she is currently developing an international network to address emerging infectious diseases and water issues, including safe drinking water for both the developed and developing world, in collaboration with Safe Water Network, headquartered in New York City.

Dr. Colwell served as the 11th Director of the National Science Foundation, 1998-2004.  In her capacity as NSF Director, she served as Co-chair of the Committee on Science of the National Science and Technology Council.  One of her major interests include K-12 science and mathematics education, graduate science and engineering education and the increased participation of women and minorities in science and engineering. 

Dr. Colwell has held many advisory positions in the U.S. Government, nonprofit science policy organizations, and private foundations, as well as in the international scientific research community. She is a nationally-respected scientist and educator, and has authored or co-authored 17 books and more than 800 scientific publications.  She produced the award-winning film, Invisible Seas, and has served on editorial boards of numerous scientific journals.

Before going to NSF, Dr. Colwell was President of the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute and Professor of Microbiology and Biotechnology at the University Maryland.  She was also a member of the National Science Board from 1984 to 1990.

Dr. Colwell has previously served as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the American Academy of Microbiology and also as President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Washington Academy of Sciences, the American Society for Microbiology, the Sigma Xi National Science Honorary Society, the International Union of Microbiological Societies, and the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS). Dr. Colwell is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm, the Royal Society of Canada, the Royal Irish Academy, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. 

Dr. Colwell has been awarded 58 honorary degrees from institutions of higher education, including her Alma Mater, Purdue University and is the recipient of the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star, bestowed by the Emperor of Japan, the 2006 National Medal of Science awarded by the President of the United States, and the 2010 Stockholm Water Prize awarded by the King of Sweden.  Dr. Colwell is an honorary member of the microbiological societies of the UK, Australia, France, Israel, Bangladesh, Czechoslovakia, and the U.S. and has held several honorary professorships, including the University of Queensland, Australia.  A geological site in Antarctica, Colwell Massif, has been named in recognition of her work in the polar regions.


Dr Mark van Loosdrecht

Dr Mark van Loosdrecht

Dr Mark van Loosdrecht is a full professor in the department of Biochemical Engineering at Delft University of Technology, and head of the Environmental Biotechnology section. He obtained his Engineering Degree in Environmental Engineering at Wageningen University and obtained his PhD with a focus on the adhesion of bacteria and the effects of adhesion on the microbial physiology at the same university in 1988. He has been lecturing at Delft University of Technology since 1988. He has been a scientific advisor of Water Cycle Research at KWR Water Cycle Research since 2008, and holds several fellowships and an honorary doctorate at the ETH Zurich. His research interests include the principles of microbial growth in biofilms and granules and the principles of metabolism in mixed microbial cultures under dynamic conditions, and one of his many academic achievements has been in the mechanistical understanding of biological phosphorus removal processes from wastewater and of the morphogenesis of biofilms. Currently four different wastewater treatment processes developed by his team are being introduced on a commercial scale.

Dr van Loosdrecht is Editor-In-Chief of Elsevier’s journal Water Research and has recently been awarded the Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize 2012 for his breakthrough contributions in creating sustainable solutions in the field of wastewater treatment. He has contributed a video interview to Elsevier’s Bigger Brains initiative, a platform that provides career guidance and advice for early career researchers.

Hanny Maas

Engineer Hanny Maas is the Programme Manager of the Dutch WASH Alliance, an alliance of six non-profit organisations in the Netherlands, supporting over 70 civil society organisations in eight countries in Asia and Africa. The aim of the WASH Alliance is to create sustainable WASH services for poor and marginalised people. The WASH Alliance works with the FIETS sustainability principles, with the aim of creating financial, institutional, environmental, technological and social sustainability (www.washalliance.nl).

Hanny Maas has been a professional in the field of development cooperation for over 20 years. Her expertise lies in the field of micro-finance, business development, social enterprise, pro-poor inclusive development and the promotion of sustainability in a development context. She has previously worked at organisations such as Hivos, an NGO in The Netherlands, and has three years of experience in market research in the private sector.

She is passionate about creating job opportunities and sustainable services for poor people. Local businesses can be one of the main drivers for positive and sustainable change at the base of the pyramid, creating a win-win situation by opening up new markets for companies and by creating access to valuable services and employment for the poor. The big challenge in creating sustainable WASH services is to create partnerships between private sector, government and civil society and to develop business models that can scale and that are inclusive for marginalised people.


Dr Prasad Modak

Dr Prasad Modak

Prasad Modak obtained BTech (Civil Engg-1978) and MTech (Environmental Science and Engg-1980) from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay. He received Doctor of Environmental Engg from the Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok, Thailand in 1984. Dr Modak joined the Centre for Environmental Science and Engg at IIT Bombay as a faculty in 1984. He left IIT Bombay in 1995 to set up the Environmental Management Centre (www.emcentre.com).

Since 1996, Dr Modak has worked as a Corporate Consultant (Environment & Infrastructure) with Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS) Ltd. In this capacity he provides oversight on IL&FS's Environmental & Social Policy Framework. Dr Modak is an Adjunct Professor at the Centre for Technology Alternatives in Rural Areas at IIT, Bombay since 2009.

Dr Modak has worked with almost all key UN, multi-lateral and bi-lateral developmental institutions in the world. Prominent amongst these are United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Geneva, Osaka and Paris; United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), New York, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), New York; United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Vienna; Dept for International Development (DFID); London; Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) and Carl Duisburg Gesellschaft (CDG), Germany; Asian Productivity Organization (APO), Tokyo; Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), Embassy of the Netherlands, New Delhi; Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the World Bank (WB), International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Dr Modak has been invited by several international agencies, public bodies, professional journals and Governments to serve as a Jury and a Reviewer. He has authored and executed more than 300 consulting reports and trained more than 5000 professionals across the World.

Dr Modak has published books with UN University on EIA (translations in Chinese, Japanese), Tokyo; Oxford University Press; UNEP, Paris on Textile Industry and Environment and Centre for Environmental Education in India on Waste Minimization. In 1993, he coordinated learning materials on Air Pollution for UNESCO. For UNEP, Geneva he served as Coordinating Author for the Chapter on Waste Management & Recycling in the Green Economy Report. He was instrumental in developing the International Platform for Waste Management for Local Authorities (IPLA) for UNCRD. He served as Hon Editor of the Journal of Indian Water Works between 1998 and 2004.

Dr Modak is a Council Member of the International Green Purchasing Network (IGPN), a Columnist for Green Purchasing Asia magazine which is published from Malaysia and he chairs the Green Purchasing Network India.

Dr Modak has received a number of awards and recognitions, and his name has been listed in distinguished personalities on environmental management. He has been recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award of AITAA in 2010 for Significant Contribution to International Affairs. In 2011, Dr Modak was elected by the American Association of Environmental Engineers as Board Certified Environmental Engineering Member for his work in Research, Teaching and Professional Practice.

Dr Gang Pan

Dr Gang Pan

Dr Gang Pan is a professor at the Research Center for Eco-environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences.  He is the Chairman of the Global Phosphorus Recycling Initiative (GPRI), SCOPE (Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment), chief scientist of a Sino-EU governmental cooperation programme on water science (Ministry of Science and Technology), deputy chief-scientist of a national R&D programme on Taihu Lake (45 million RMB) and project leader for three national key basic research projects (11 million RMB).

He is the vice president of Chinese Association of Aquatic Environment, board member of the Chinese Society of Environmental Nanotechnology,, the Chinese Society of Environment and Energy, the NSF assessment panel, and the Chinese Society of Limnology and Oceanology. He is a member of American Chemical Society, and a member of the editorial board of five peer reviewed journals. He has published more than 140 peer reviewed papers and issued more than 40 patents.

Dr Pan was a pioneer in developing cost-effective and safe technologies for toxic algal blooms and water pollution controls as well as nutrient recycle/reuse technologies in natural water systems. He also developed fundamental physicochemical theories and methods to study environmental and geochemical interfacial reactions (adsorption, flocculation, and nano science). He has a track record in developing multidisciplinary studies in chemical, environmental, ecological, water, and nano areas, ranging from fundamental science to applied engineering.

Bibi van der Zee

Bibi van der Zee is editor of the Guardian's Global Development Professional Network, and the author of The Protestor's Handbook. She was visiting lecturer in Environmental Journalism at City University for 8 years, and has been covering environmental issues and activism for over a decade.