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On December 10, 2012, based upon a recommendation from an international jury, the Eurisy General Assembly, the Hubert Curien award was given to the International Space University (ISU) for its continuous work in trying to bring scientific choices closer to society. The Hubert Curien Award, given on a biennial basis, recognises outstanding efforts to help society benefit from space. The laureates are selected by a high-level jury representing the different facets of the European space community. In 1993, Hubert Curien, the Founding President of Eurisy, painted the visionary picture of a new generation of cross-sector scientists who would “go beyond their own specialisation, […] aim to encompass the whole complexity of human, cultural, environmental systems in which society evolves”, in order to “provide decision-makers as well as citizens the indispensable elements for big society choices”.
The Award was handed over by the previous laureate, Frank De Winne, at a ceremony in the Belgian Planetarium in Brussels in the presence of authorities and specialist of the Belgian space community, Eurisy representatives and several friends and alumni of ISU. “The award represents a constellation (Space) and human endeavor (Earth), as well as cooperation, or team work, with the overall message that only by working together we can reach for the stars” declared Stefaan De Mey, secretary general, Eurisy. Colin Hick, president of Eurisy, warmly welcomed ISU in the exclusive circle of outstanding personalities who have received the Hubert Curien Award: “We are happy to see the Hubert Curien Award go to ISU on the very anniversary of 25 years of efforts in educating future generations of space professionals, during which ISU has demonstrated a visionary concern for ensuring that young professionals are prepared, open and sensitive to putting space at the service of the ever more complex challenges and choices society is confronted with today.”
Prof. Walter Peeters, president of ISU, stressed the importance for ISU of this recognition: “ISU is working according to the so-called 3I model of International, Intercultural and Interdisciplinary education. It is in particular this interdisciplinary approach that we appreciate in the motivation of this award. We indeed try to grow a new generation of cross-sector space specialists which, irrespective of their backgrounds, are well aware of the societal impact of space activities. It is therefore no surprise that elements such as space law, intellectual property, disaster management, planetary protection and also ethics are an integral part of the ISU curriculum. Space is becoming a utility and an essential part of society; space specialists shall therefore be very aware of the societal impact thereof.”