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Each year the Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA) highlights and rewards significant actions and activities undertaken by its members. Here we unveil the lucky 2016 winners.


Career Award: Gozde Unal

Gozde is an engineer and Associate Professor in medical imaging at the Istanbul Technical University in Turkey. Her research combines computer vision and medical imaging techniques. She uses mathematical and physical methods to address clinical problems.

She has led a variety of research projects and actively collaborates with hospitals and medical practitioners.

In 2010, she was awarded the L’Oréal Turkey Young Women Scientist Award.

She is a keen promoter of women in science and also serves as an inspirational role model for the next generation of scientists by taking Technologically Enhanced Active Learning techniques into classrooms.

What are the selection criteria?

  • Value and impact of contribution to the Marie Curie community;
  • Effectiveness of outreach activities for the Marie Curie community;
  • Engagement and commitment to the MCAA.


Outstanding contributor: Giovanna Avellis

Giovanna is researching mobile learning at INNOVAPUGLIA SPA in Italy and also leads the MCAA Gender Equality for Mobile Researchers in Science (GEMS) Working Group.

She is very active in promoting gender equality in science and has worked for the benefit of the Marie Curie community. Her work has great visibility at an international level, lending high impact to her community outreach work.

The Award Committee particularly appreciated her commitment to gender issues and the effectiveness of her work.

What are the selection criteria?

  • Excellence of results / research work;
  • Awards / prizes gained in recognition of research activities;
  • Outreach and impact of research activities.


Special highlight for outstanding societal impact: Neil Howard

Neil is a post-doctoral researcher in international development at the University of Antwerp, Belgium. He is a young researcher but his work has already had impact.

He established the 'Beyond Trafficking and Slavery' (BTS) platform to bring together academics, policy makers and civil society organisations in order to advance understanding of the structural, political, economic and social root causes of exploitation, vulnerability and forced labour. The platform attracts very high levels of attention and has enabled public debate with large institutional actors, including Human Rights Watch, the International Labour Organisation, and the UK’s Anti-Slavery Commissioner. BTS has attracted significant funding from the Ford Foundation and Neil himself has also been a recipient of numerous awards and grants in recognition of his work.

The Award Committee wishes to highlight and acknowledge the values represented by Neil’s work and would like to commend him for the outstandingly high societal impact of his work at such an early stage in his career.

Honorary Recognition: Dario Pellizzon

Dario is head of the Research Office at Ca' Foscari University of Venice, Italy. He was awarded for his "outstanding contribution for the development and growth of the Association".
His award proves that research support services play a crucial role in successful career development as well as the creation of a positive and fruitful research environment. 

Thanks to his commitment and the work of his team, Ca’ Foscari University has been leading Italian universities in terms of MC Individual Fellowships awarded over the last three years. Furhermore, Ca’ Foscari is now the university with the highest number of active IF projects in Italy, and its outstanding young researchers’ community is continuously growing. 

The Award Committee wishes to highlight and acknowledge the support that Dario Pellizzon, the Head of the Research Office at Ca' Foscari University, gave to the 2016MCAA General Assembly and Annual Conference. In addition, he contributed a well-received talk on researcher career development at the MCAA’s Career Seminar at EMBL Heidelberg.

Dario was always open to collaborating with the MCAA and advised many of his colleagues in the international research community to work with the MCAA as well. His work supporting the career development and mentoring programme for MSCA Fellows at Ca' Foscari University should serve as a model for many other host institutions. For these reasons the MCAA awarded Honorary Membership of the Association to Dario Pellizzon.


We wish them a lot of success in their respective careers!


Selection procedure

The selection of the 2016 winners was carried out by an Award Committee comprising seven independent personalities:

  • Anett Kiss, Chair of the MCAA Award Working Group;
  • Apiyo Okwiri, President of the Erasmus Mundus Association;
  • Alexandra Cuffel, Ruhr-Universität Bochum;
  • Salome Cisnal de Ugarte, Fullbright Alumni Network – Belgium;
  • Juan Javier Rivera, Anthropologist, MC Alumni & Alexandre Von Humboldt Fellow;
  • Simone Linz, Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Auckland;
  • Dr Natalia Beloff, Senior Lecturer in Software Engineering, University of Sussex.