Scholars' Association News
Issue 25
February 2013


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Onassis Prizes awarded at Guildhall in London

More than 400 dignitaries, City financiers, Nobel Laureates, ship-owners, academics and diplomats gathered at the historic Guildhall on September 12, 2012 to honour the recipients of the Onassis Prizes for Shipping Trade and Finance. The prestigious $200,000 prizes are sponsored by the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation and awarded every three years by Cass Business School, part of City University London. Judged by a panel of distinguished academics, including two Nobel Laureates, the prizes recognise the contribution of world leading academics to the fields of finance, international trade and shipping.

Guest of honour, Chairman of Lloyds Banking Group, Sir Winfried Bischoff, awarded the prizes to renowned US economists, Professors Stephen Ross and Elhanan Helpman, and emeritus maritime academics, Professors Ernst Frankel, Richard Goss and Arnljot Stromme Svendesn.

Onassis Prize for Finance
The 2012 Onassis Prize for Finance was awarded to Professor Stephen Ross from the MIT Sloan School of Management. Professor Ross is best known for having invented ‘arbitrage pricing theory’ and the ‘theory of agency’. He is also celebrated as the co-discoverer of ‘risk neutral pricing’ and of the ‘binomial model’ for pricing derivatives.

Onassis Prize for International Trade
Professor Elhanan Helpman of Harvard University scooped the 2012 Onassis Prize for International Trade. Professor Helpman is widely acclaimed for his role in founding the ‘new trade’ and ‘new growth’ theories, which emphasise the roles of economies of scale and imperfect competition, and for his work on special interest politics.

Onassis Prize for Shipping
Three emeritus academics – Professors Ernst Frankel, Richard Goss and Arnljot Stromme Svendsen - shared the 2012 Onassis Prize for Shipping. Each received the prize for the profound impact they have had on shaping the field of maritime economics.

Ernst Frankel, Professor of Mechanical and Ocean Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has been a prominent figure in both shipping and academia during a career spanning almost 70 years. He is credited with introducing systems analysis, operational research and project management in the maritime industry. Professor Richard Goss of Cardiff University has conducted extensive research in the field of shipping competition and port governance since the 1960s, much of which is still widely influential today. He was instrumental in establishing the international Association of Maritime Economists in 1992. And Professor Arnljot Stromme Svendsen of the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration is feted for a seminal treatise published in 1956 in which he performed an analysis of price information in shipping markets and discussed the theory of lay up of vessels.

Dr Anthony Papadimitriou, President of the Onassis Public Benefit Foundation and Chairman of the panel of prize judges, said: “Onassis became famous in his lifetime, and after, for his mastery of the science and art of Shipping, Trade and Finance. “The Onassis Foundation is proud to associate once more the name of its Founder with the Corporation of the City of London and the Costas Grammenos Center for Shipping Trade and Finance (City University) which respectively are world centers of the practice and academic study of these three entrepreneurship areas. This second edition of the Prizes is on an unparalleled level”.

Commenting on the winners, Professor Costas Grammenos, who is the founder of Cass Business School’s International Centre for Shipping, Trade and Finance and was instrumental in launching the prizes, said:

“The Onassis Prizes recognise the lifetime contribution of some of the world’s most highly respected academics in finance, international trade and shipping. I warmly congratulate the winners whose distinguished achievements have profoundly influenced their disciplines and continue to have an impact on academic thinking and business conduct worldwide.”

The winners each gave a mini-lecture at Cass ahead of the evening banquet, sharing their expertise with a packed audience of more than 250 people. MIT Professor Stephen Ross delivered a lecture on the causes of the financial crisis, in which he condemned the part played by accountants, regulators, bankers and derivatives. He was joined on stage by Harvard University Professor Elhanan Helpman, who reviewed the history of international trade and its relationship with economic development.

Professor Ernst Frankel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology told the audience that the polar region may "trigger a new gold rush in human and economic terms" in his lecture on 'The arctic - the new economic frontier and the challenges for shipping'. Cardiff University professor Richard Goss thanked Cass Business School and the Onassis Foundation for the "marvellous prize" and pledged to donate part to the Sea Cadets. And Professor Arnljot Stromme Svendsen from the Norwegian School of Economics delivered an address titled, 'On the way to new labyrinths and enigmas or to more science and wisdom?'

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