The semifinalists of the STARTS Prize for Social Good

The project in a nutshell

In February 2021 we opened the STARTS Prize for Social Good. The initiative, carried out in collaboration with Fondazione CRT and OGR, aims to support, recognise and enhance the work of artists, creative and all professionals engaged in the implementation of innovative projects at the intersection of science, technology and art.

The open call ended on April 7, with about 150 nominations. Amongst these, 64 had access to the first evaluation phase conducted by a jury of international professionals.

The second phase of evaluation, however, had access to 14 projects and among these were identified the 6 semifinalists.
On June 30, during the STARTS Urban Fest, we will discover the names of the two winners who will win a prize of 15,000 euros each.

The semifinalists


Autofabricantes was born as a research project within the public call in Medialab Prado in the period 2015-2017. It has developed and researched in community and open source prosthetic myoelectric and mechanical hands for children. The beginning of the investigation was born in Seville, with the project ‘Exando una Mano’ that raised all issues of autonomy, diversity and self-management of resources from a personal position, but developed in a community to return them to any particular need. 

After the period of mediation / research in the Madrid public center, the project continues its development as a working group and research project within the Prototype Laboratory (PrototipaLab) of Medialab Prado, together with the support and collaboration of several foundations of the third sector and cultural field. It is also connected to other development communities nationally and internationally. 

Since 2017, it has been supported by the Daniel and Nina Carasso Foundation within the Body, Health and Autonomy Laboratory. Autofabricantes has a wide network of work, support and reference in continuous growth and with a long journey. 

For two years a stable community of research, development and design of personal technical assistance has been developed beyond the myoelectric hand prostheses for children with which it was started. Prostheses of different types have been designed and made using at least 30 girls and boys and other lines of research are being developed such as a standing upright, a musical instrument adapted for children with cerebral palsy, studies of the behavior of 3D printing materials, prostheses complete arm for adults and articulated leg prostheses. The research system always scales a personal solution to other families that participate in the research and creation of the prototypes.

Francesco Bertelé

Francesco Bertelé (1978) is a visual artist who moves his research between exploration and experience, creating environmental and interacting installations able to return a complex experience, ranging from classical techniques to the latest digital technologies. In his work, practical experimentation merges with theory in the continuous search for a relationship between man and nature. 

Through a progressive attempt to parcel out the form, he experiments with transmedia narratives analyzing the effects of the virtual (the digital episteme) on the definition of the collective imagination and the influences of the same on the perception of reality (cognitive, affective and biological) Francesco Bertelé investigates the most urgent political and social processes, returning with his poetic visionary works resulting from the synthesis between collective data and personal exercise. 

He has been working for several years in synergy with a network of professionals, through a mutual methodology of collective intelligence. He is the artistic director of, a cultural bivouac created to exist under the most extreme conditions and it is designed in terms of environmental sustainability. He is the creator of the production house Carrozzeria Margot[CM].


Comp-syn was born in Santa Fe when a group of creative thinkers got together to talk about the language of color. 

Does color inform abstract thought? Can we formulate questions about color and meaning in a culture of visual stimuli? These are some of the questions informing their research activity.

Comp-syn members cover most of the globe, ranging from the USA, to Australia and Italy. They keep together their scientific and artistic selves publishing in academic journals, creating an open source software package (compsyn) and exhibiting in art galleries. 

To date Comp-syn has two publications: Douglas Guilbeault, Ethan O Nadler, Mark Chu, Donald Ruggiero Lo Sardo, Aabir Abubaker Kar, and Bhar-gav Srinivasa Desikan. 2020. “Color associations in abstract semantic domains”. Cognition. Bhargav Srinivasa Desikan, Tasker Hull, Ethan O. Nadler, Douglas Guilbeault, Aabir Abubaker Kar, Mark Chu, and Donald Ruggiero Lo Sardoi. 2020. “comp-syn: Perceptually Grounded Word Embeddings with Color”. COLING.

As well, Comp-syn’s artistic works are collected in prestigious galleries, including as a winner of Stanford University’s “Art of Science” competition for the work “Changing Views in Data Science over 50 Years.”

Nomad Garden et al.

“Jardines en el aire” is the proposal of Luces de barrio for 2020-21. A circular initiative of urban renaturalization in which artists, scientists, architects, designers, young students and neighbours of Tres Barrios-Amate (Seville) participate together with local associations such as A.E.S. Candelaria. A proposal that has been maturing for several months of workshops, meetings and shared celebrations, with the aim of exploring resources and species of the neighborhood, to imagine new relationships with them and strategies that allow them to thrive in balance, creating a more livable environment for all.

Curated by Nomad Garden, with the production of El Mandaito and the transmedia communication of Surnames, Jardines en el aire is promoted by the Instituto de Cultura y las Artes del Ayuntamiento de Sevilla and Ecosistema 41 with the support of Fundación Banco Sabadell and the collaboration of Cátedra EMVISESA (Universidad de Sevilla). The project has involved creators such as: Collateral Studio, Antropoloops, SEOBirdlife and Amigos del Parque Amate, Vibra-tó, Estudio Pätē, Desirée Martín and Proyecto eLe, Javi Vila and Juanma Carmona, AEDI, Iván Vega, Pablo Pujol, WWB, Fablab Sevilla, Juan Galán and David Solís, Thibault Pradet and the special collaboration of the renowned Parisian perfumer Barnabé Fillion.

Curators of Luces de Barrio, Nomad Garden is a collective that emerges with the desire to develop projects and tools aimed at enhancing the value of gardens as spaces of coexistence. The works of Nomad Garden have been recognised with the Europan Round-up for young European architects 2009, 1st COAS Prize in the category of design of open spaces and landscape architecture (2011-2015), 1st Juan Julio National Prize (2015) of the Spanish Association of Public Parks and Gardens, the Prize for other formats of the XIV Biennial of Architecture and Urbanism of Spain (2016-17), the Award for Social Innovation in Culture 2020 of the I Magellan-Elcano Congress for Jardín Cosmopolita (Luces de Barrio 2018), or the selection for the International Architecture Biennale of Venice 2021.

Jessica Smarsch

Jessica Smarsch is an internationally recognized designer who collaborates cross-sector to bring beauty, creativity & enhanced user experience to technological, scientific & industrial innovations. 

In her 20 year professional career she has traversed a rich path from design to project management to the multi-faceted work of entrepreneurship. Jessica is passionate about disruptive innovation design that enhances well-being, quality of life, user experience, community connection & circularity. She is motivated by the unique outcomes that unexpected collaborations produce.

After graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2001 and working 10 years in New York City, she moved to the Netherlands in 2012 to pursue a Masters Degree at the Design Academy Eindhoven. She has worked between design and technology to create projects that integrate the human body with interactive systems, generating creative feedback. 

Vanessa Vozzo

Vanessa Vozzo has been working in art since 1990. Specialising in media art from 2005 particularly in the field of art and science/hybrid art and interactive/open documentary.

She is a professor in multimedia design at Albertina Art Academy of Turin (IT), a professor in narrative design for interactive and VR documentary at Civica Scuola di Cinema “Luchino Visconti” in Milan (IT) where she also teaches multimedia direction. She is adjunct professor in interactive art and immersive cinema at Politecnico di Torino (IT). She has led project work in the field of media art at the University of Turin (IT) since 2007. 

She founded the collaborative new media art platform Officine Sintetiche and she’s doing a master thesis in Art, Science and Interactive Documentary at the Interface Culture Master Program (Ars Electronica) in Linz (AT).

In 2020, together with the Canadian National Film Board (Eloi Champagne) Vanessa curated the narrative design of the (X)R immersive interactive stories laboratory, a collection of XR works produced through the Politecnico of Turin.

She won a visiting research/teaching assistant grant to London from the EU (Grundtvig) at Brunel University-DAP LAB Center for Contemporary and Digital Performance. She is the curator of the VR section of the Sottodiciotto Film Festival in Turin (Italy).

She is interested in the hybrid areas of transition between art and science, reality and virtuality, fiction and non-fiction, simplicity and complexity, solitude and community, the individual and nature, art and life. She enjoys exploring the potential of emerging technologies and techniques which can be used to create experiences related to social stories and political issues.

Interface immateriality, interactive logic, and aesthetic of immersiveness are her favorite tools for developing projects without bounds involving people and communities.

Join us at STARTS Urban Fest on 29th and 30th June to discover who will be the winners

A two days digital  festival in which we will explore science, technology and art collaborations with international speakers and all the partners of the STARTS consortium. Sign up here to not miss the event!