The EMVA Young Professional Award is an annual award to honor the outstanding and innovative work of a student or a young professional in the field of machine vision or image processing. With the Young Professional Award, the EMVA would like to specifically encourage students and young scientists from European institutions to focus on challenges in the field of machine vision and to apply latest research results and findings in computer vision to the practical needs of the machine vision industry. The following is an interview with Mr. Jochem Herrmann, President of the EMVA.
Mr. Herrmann, with the Young Professional Award the EMVA offers a prize for young machine vision experts who recently entered the industry. How is the prize received amongst the potential candidates?
I remember vividly how the awardees have been surrounded by conference participants after their presentation during the last EMVA Business Conferences. And these participants were all experienced company executives! So, since we created the Young Professional Award in 2012 it has gained a lot of attention because it offers young talents in the machine vision community the opportunity to prove that they can apply the skills they acquired during their study also in a practical environment. Through the mandatory direct collaboration with a company the gap is closed between academic research and feasibility under almost market conditions. Bridging this traditional gap makes the EMVA Young Professional Award a unique prize in the European machine vision landscape.
For 2017 the attractiveness of the award was further improved. What are the details?
First of all we further honed the criteria. The work has to be outstanding and innovative in the field of vision technology with an industrial relevance and can now be at a master thesis level or at a PHD level. Plus, we emphasized again that the focus of the work should be strongly on innovation and industrial applicability. Commercialization should be intended but is not required to be implemented already.
Then, the benefits of receiving the price have indeed multiplied: The winner of the Young Professional Award will - as in recent years - receive a free conference pass and travel cost reimbursement to the EMVA Business Conference, together with a presentation slot during the conference. This year, for the first time we have added prize money of 1.500 Euros for the awardee! In addition, the winner receives free entry to the European Machine Vision Forum 2017 in Vienna.
What is the general motivation of an association to dedicate time and effort to the selection process for such an award?
Representing the interests of the European vision industry, EMVA has the mission to contribute to all aspects that foster young talents. Only this guarantees that we continue to have the excellent people for the challenging tasks to be mastered in our strongly growing industry. Only with bright young minds the ongoing innovation processes our industry depends upon are further nourished. This is why I believe it is worth to take a closer look and put the award into the overall context of the industry: Young talents today have much more opportunities than only a decade ago. The “new economy” companies invest huge budgets in image processing tasks. Take “machine learning” as one buzzword. At first glance this outshines the job opportunities in the manufacturing industry and highly attracts young talents. In addition, a lot of students which have developed an expertise in image processing still choose the academic career instead of joining a company after their PHD. Last but not least, we should also bear in mind that industrial vision is a multidisciplinary activity and we want to attract young talents from related fields such as electronics or optical design. In this context we believe that the Young Professional Award is a shining beacon pointing towards the multitude of career opportunities that the industrial use of vision technology has to offer.
For more information, read "Call for Papers: EMVA Young Professional Award"