Our Judging Panel

Professor Michael Blumenstein  


Associate Dean, Research Strategy & Management

As Associate Dean of Research (Strategy and Management), Professor Michael Blumenstein is responsible for the development and implementation of the Faculty research strategy.  He is also responsible for management of the research operations and responsibilities of the Faculty of Engineering & IT.

Michael Blumenstein is currently a Professor and the Associate Dean (Research Strategy & Management) as well as the Head of the School of Software at the University of Technology Sydney. He formerly served as the Head of the School of Information and Communication Technology at Griffith University, and earlier as the Dean (Research) in the Science, Environment, Engineering and Technology Group.

Michael is a nationally and internationally recognised expert in the areas of automated Pattern Recognition and Artificial Intelligence, and his current research interests include Marine Life and Shark Detection from Video Imagery, Document Analysis, Video-based/multi-lingual Text Detection and Signature Verification. He has published over 200 papers in refereed books, conferences and journals. His research also spans various projects applying Artificial Intelligence to the fields of Engineering, Environmental Science, Neurobiology and Coastal Management. Michael has secured internal/nationally competitive research grants to undertake these projects with funds exceeding AUD$4.5 Million. Components of his research into the predictive assessment of beach conditions have been commercialised for use by local government agencies, coastal management authorities and in commercial applications

Following his work in applying Artificial Intelligence to the area of bridge engineering (where he has published widely and has been awarded federal funding), he was invited to serve on the International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering’s Working Commission 6 to advise on matters pertaining to Information Technology. Michael was the first Australian to be elected onto this committee. In addition, Michael is currently an elected member of the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) NSW Council and is also Director of the Australian Computer Society’s Technical Advisory Board. He was previously the Chair of the Queensland Branch of the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) Computational Intelligence Society. He was also the Gold Coast Chapter Convener and a Board Member of the Australian Computer Society's Queensland Branch Executive Committee. He is a past Chairman of the IT Forum Gold Coast and a former Board Member of IT Queensland. Michael has served on the Australian Research Council's (ARC) College of Experts on the Engineering, Mathematics and Informatics (EMI) panel. In addition, he previously served on the Executive of the Australian Council of Deans of Information and Communication Technology (ACDICT). Michael currently serves on a number of Journal Editorial Boards and has been invited to act as General Chair, Organising Chair, Program Chair and/or Committee member for numerous national/international conferences in his areas of expertise.

In 2009 Michael was named as one of Australia’s Top 10 Emerging Leaders in Innovation in the Australian’s Top 100 Emerging Leaders Series supported by Microsoft. Michael is a Fellow of the Australian Computer Society and a Senior Member of the IEEE.


Cesar Jung-Harada 

French-Japanese Inventor, Environmentalist and Entrepreneur living in Hong Kong. 

Director of MakerBay, Hong Kong MakerSpace for Social & Environmental Impact. 
Inventor of Protei – a revolutionary shape-shifting sailing robot and Director of Scoutbots.
Cesar is passionate about “Open Hardware for the Environment”, "Citizen Science" with a strong focus on ocean communities & technologies. 

Cesar often works as a professional speaker, panelist, educator, mentor, judge, designer, R&D.
His TED Talk "How I Teach Kids to Love Science" has been translated into 36 languages and viewed more than 1.5 million times.

Cesar used to teach Masters of “Design and Environment” at Goldsmiths University and "Cultural Entrepreneurship" at Hong Kong University. Cesar is a graduate from the Royal College of Arts London, Design Interactions Department, and worked at MIT (USA) as Project Leader. Cesar was  the construction manager of the *iHub_ in Nairobi (Kenya). Cesar led the Open-Sailing group to win the ARS Electronica Golden Nica [NEXT IDEA] (Austria) and the VIDA awards Fundacion Telefonica (Spain), Ocean Exchange Explorer . Cesar is a TED Senior Fellow and speaker. Autodesk Pier9 Designer in Residence (USA). Artist in Residence at V2_ (Netherlands). Cesar sailed around the world while being and Unreasonable at Sea Entrepreneur. He was trained in Design Thinking by Stanford d School George Kembel, Rapid prototyping by Tom Chi (former Google x). Nominated Figure of progress by GOOD and IBM, COP21 opening speaker about ocean technologies (speaking before Ban Ki-moon, President Hollande, Jack Ma and more). His company Scoutbots was nominated StartmeUp HK Grand Award winner and listed as China 10th most innovative company by FastCo (2015). Cesar's design and engineering work are part of the V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum, London) and CNAM (Musée des Arts et Metiers, Paris) collections.

Cesar has lectured / taught / mentored in many Universities  including MIT, Carnegie Mellon University (USA), Royal College of Arts, Central Saint Martins, Goldsmiths University (UK), Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'architecture de Versailles, Ecole Spéciale d'Architecture (France), Tokyo University (Japan), KAIST (South Korea), CCCB (Spain), CICESE (Mexico), Strathmore University (Kenya), Oslo School of Architecture and Design (Norway), HKU, PolyU, HKBU, HKUST, CityU (Hong Kong). Cesar is a Trustee of the Board of HBKU (Qatar). 

Maria Giovanna Sandrini is the Brand and Corporate Communication Manager for the Aquafil Group, global producer of polyamide 6 and leader in the research of new production models for sustainable development. She is responsible for the development of brand awareness around the company’s ECONYL® nylon, a 100% regenerated yarn made from pre- and post-consumer waste. 

  Maria Giovanna also serves as Aquafil’s representative on the board for the Healthy Seas Initiative, Aquafil’s joint venture with the ECNC Group and Star Sock. The inititaive aims to reduce waste in oceans, such as fishing nets, by recycling collected nets into high-quality raw material for new products such as socks, swimwear, carpets and other textiles.

  Aquafil Group has a presence in seven countries, employing more than 2,000 staff throughout Europe, Asia and North America.

Arjan van Timmeren   (The Netherlands, 1969) is full professor at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, Department of Urbanism, chair ‘Environmental Technology & Design’. Besides of this he is also Scientific Director of the joint initiative by TUD (Delft), MIT (Boston) and WUR (Wageningen) ‘AMS Institute’ (Institute for ‘Advanced Metropolitan Solutions’), in Amsterdam.

Over the years his work has focused on the integration of the concept of sustainable development in the field of architecture, urbanism and building technology in both practice and academia, with lately emphasis on Resilience, Urban Metabolism, Circular Economy and Smart cities, and -citizens.

Christina Zeri, Chemist Oceanographer, Senior Researcher, Institute of Oceanography, Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR). Member of the Advisory Board of Institute of Oceanography/HCMR (2015-today). During the period 2008- 2011 she lectured at the Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. Actively involved in research regarding marine pollution by plastics and litter. Current participation in the CLAIM project (H2020- EU) “Cleaning marine Litter by developing and Applying Innovative Methods in European Seas”, which focuses on the development of innovative cleaning technologies and approaches, targeting the prevention and in situ management of visible and invisible marine litter in the Mediterranean and Baltic Sea. https://www.hcmr.gr/en/claim-project-consortium-celebrates-launch/. Other related projects: IPA-Adriatic ‘Derelict Fishing Gear Management in the Adriatic Sea-DeFishGear’ (www.defishegear.net) (project coordinator for HCMR), FP7- CLEANSEA (www.cleansea-project.eu), SeasERA-MERMAID (www.mermaid-era.eu), FP7-  PERSEUS (www.perseus-net.eu).  Main research interests: marine pollution by heavy metals; marine litter – microplastics; dissolved organic matter cycling and its optical properties; interactions between trace metals and organic matter. She has coordinated 4 scientific projects. She participates in the National Monitoring for the implementation of Water Framework Directive (WFD) and the Marine Strategy (MSFD) and she is the scientist responsible for ‘marine litter’ and ‘hazardous materials – trace metals’. Author of 45 scientific papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals – books –special editions, more than 100 conference proceedings.