On 17 October 2016, GSK won the essenscia Innovation Award 2016 with its new vaccine against shingles (zona) during an official ceremony in the presence of H.R.H. Princess Astrid.

Watch the innovation projects of our nominees:

BASF (no video available)

The jury

Francois Cornélis
Chairman of the jury
Former Vice-President of the Executive Committee of Total

Holder of a master degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Louvain, François Cornélis started his career at PetroFina. In 1983, he became the Vice-President of American PetroFina in Dallas and was appointed CEO and Managing Director of PetroFina in 1990. From April 2000 to December 2011, François Cornélis served as Vice-Chairman of the Executive Committee of Total. He is the Chairman of the Royal Automobile Club of Belgium and was awarded the Légion d’honneur.

Koenraad Debackere

Managing Director of KU Leuven Research & Development

Prof. Dr. Ir. Koenraad Debackere is the General Manager of the KU Leuven and Managing Director of KU Leuven Research & Development. He is a holder of a Ph.D. in Management with an ICM-fellowship from the University of Ghent and was a Fulbright-Hays postdoctoral fellow at MIT. In his quality of professor at KU Leuven, Koenraad Debackere teaches Technology and Innovation Management. He is the chairman of Leuven.Inc, the innovation network of Leuven high-tech entrepreneurs.

Benoît Gailly

Professor in Innovation Management, UCL

Professor Gailly has a PhD in Applied Sciences from Université catholique de Louvain, a European Master in Society, Science & Technology from Roskilde University and an MBA from INSEAD. He teaches innovation management and strategy at master and executive level in the Louvain School of Management.  His research focuses on innovation-based strategies and innovation and entrepreneurship support systems. He is a former manager at McKinsey, board member and advisor for several companies and author of the book "Developing Innovative Organizations: A Roadmap to boost your Innovation Potential”.


Piet Vandendriessche

Chief Executive Officer, Deloitte Belgium

Piet Vandendriessche was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Deloitte Belgium in 2016. He is also a member of the Board of DTTL Global and of the Deloitte EMEA Council. Specialising in international tax with a strong focus on indirect tax, he was formerly managing partner of Deloitte Belgium’s Tax and Legal practice. He also served on the VAT Expert Group at the European Commission. Piet Vandendriessche holds a law degree from the University of Leuven and a degree in tax law from the Fiscale Hogeschool in Brussels. Piet is a lecturer at the University of Leuven on the taxation of international transactions.

Yves Verschueren

Managing Director of essenscia

Yves Verschueren was appointed Managing Director of essenscia in September 2007. After graduating in law and economics from the Catholic University of Leuven, Yves Verschueren led a successful and international career at Unilever. Before becoming Chairman of Unilever Belgium, he acted in Belgium, Switzerland, Zimbabwe, Italy and for Unilever Europe as Senior Vice President Home Care. As Managing Director of essenscia, he is also a member of the Board of the Federation of Enterprises in Belgium (VBO/FEB).

Participation rules

1.    Access to the competition is open to all industrial companies operating in Belgium including member and non-member companies of essenscia. The competition is also open to start-ups.
    2.    The proposed innovation project must have a clear link with chemistry, life sciences or materials.

    3.    The proposed innovation project must demonstrate its contribution towards Sustainable Development. It must address a societal challenge and be future-oriented.

    4.    The proposed innovation project should demonstrate its fit within a strategy for intellectual property management.
    Patent filing, trademark registration, brand protection, confidentiality agreement will be considered during the assessment of the projects.

    5.    The proposed innovation project should preferably have an industrial application in Belgium or be able to demonstrate its value generation towards the Belgian economy.

    6.    The proposals shall be submitted in English only. The proposals should be addressed to Mr Yves Verschueren by post or by e-mail:
    • Yves Verschueren, Managing Director essenscia
    • Diamant Building, Boulevard Auguste Reyerslaan 80 - 1030 Brussels
    • e-mail:

    7.    The proposal must contain the following information in a maximum of 5 pages:
    • an abstract
    • a description of the innovation, its unique character and its proof of concept
    • its contribution towards sustainable development
    • its intellectual property strategy
    • its contribution to the Belgian economy (investment, employment, know-how)
    8.    The Jury will consider all valid applications and run a selection process on a confidential basis. No information will be shared with the outside world without the explicit consent of the submitters.

    9.    The composition of the Jury is :
    • François Cornélis,
    • Prof. Dr. Ir. Koenraad Debackere,
    • Prof. Benoît Gailly
    • Rik Van Peteghem
    • Yves Verschueren
    The deliberations of the Jury will be secret and held confidential.

    The decisions of the Jury are not open for discussion.

    10.    The winning project will be awarded a lump sum of 30.000 euro.

    For SME’s without a well-defined IP strategy for their innovation projects, the essenscia Patent Cell offers support under the form of free consultancy in collaboration with an external partner.
    This offer is based on a first come, first served basis and is limited to the first 10 applicants.