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Panel of experts

The independent Panel of Experts judges the prize. The Panel is a group of international experts selected from around the world to provide an impartial assessment on the technical merit of the shortlisted papers.

Each is asked to serve for up to three years to give continuity and stability to the decision-making process. Members of the current T.I.C. Executive Committee and staff cannot sit on the Panel.


The 2024 Panel:

(alphabetical by surname)


Professor Elizabeth Dickey, Carnegie Mellon University, United States of America

Dr Elizabeth Dickey is the Teddy & Wilton Hawkins Distinguished Professor and Department Head of Materials Science & Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. Her research aims to develop processing-structure-property relationships for materials in which the macroscopic physical properties are governed by point defects, grain boundaries or internal interfaces. She is regarded as a leader in the application of electron microscopy and spectroscopy techniques to understand the role of material defects on electrical and chemical transport in dielectric materials. She has over 150 peer-reviewed journal publications in these areas. She is a fellow of the American Ceramic Society, the Microscopy Society of America, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).


Magnus Ericsson, Luleå University of Technology, Sweden

Magnus Ericsson is adjunct professor of Mineral Economics at Luleå University of Technology in the mining heart of Sweden. He is a founding partner in the independent advisors RMG Consulting. He has for decades been closely involved in developing a global mining database. He has established a reputation for developing among the best overviews of the world’s mining industry. He has been involved in tantalum mining in Namibia and in an advisory capacity regarding social and community matters for a niobium project in Malawi. He is the deputy chair of the foundation establishing a museum at the site on Resarö outside Stockholm where tantalum was first isolated. He is a co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of the scientific journal Mineral Economics / Raw Materials Report, now in its 35th year.


Dr Axel Hoppe, Commerce Resources / consultant, Canada / Germany (Chair)

Dr Axel Hoppe holds a doctorate in chemistry and has worked in the tantalum industry for many years. He has published several papers on the subject and holds various tantalum patents. For over 30 years Dr Hoppe worked at H.C. Starck, then a subsidiary of Bayer. His last position at Starck was Head of Technical Services and Engineering Group. Dr Hoppe was a member of the T.I.C.’s Executive Committee for 10 years (1997–2007), including serving two terms as President (2001-2 and 2006-7). Currently he is Chairman of the Board of Commerce Resources, a Canadian junior mining company, and works as a consultant for rare and refractory metals.


Dr Nedal Nassar, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), United States of America

Dr Nassar is the Chief of the Materials Flow Analysis Section at the National Minerals Information Center, USGS. Dr Nassar and his team quantify the global stocks and flows of non-fuel mineral commodities at each stage of their life cycle, analyse trends and examine concerns regarding foreign mineral dependencies, develop supply and demand scenarios, and assess the mineral commodity supply risk to the U.S. economy and national security. He is a member of the U.S. National Science and Technology Council (Executive Office of the President) Critical Minerals Subcommittee. He received his Ph.D. from Yale University where he worked on the development and application of a methodology for identifying critical minerals. In 2019 he was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers and he also holds an MBA from Cornell University and two master’s degrees from Yale University. Previously, he worked as a consultant and as a process development engineer.


Professor Toru Okabe, Institute of Industrial Science, The University of Tokyo, Japan

Dr Okabe’s doctorate examined the processing of reactive metals, such as titanium and niobium, and his subsequent career has included postdoctoral research with Professor Donald Sadoway at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA. Dr Okabe specialises in materials science, environmental science, resource circulation engineering and rare metal process engineering. In addition to the research on the innovative production technology, he has worked on new recycling and environmental technology of rare metals, such as niobium, tantalum, scandium, tungsten, rhenium, and precious metals. Dr Okabe is Director General of the Institute of Industrial Science at The University of Tokyo. In 2021 he received an honorary degree from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology for his groundbreaking work on “urban mining”.


Professor Donald Sadoway, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Massachusetts, United States

Donald Robert Sadoway is professor emeritus of materials chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a noted expert on batteries and has done significant research on how to improve the performance and longevity of portable power sources. In addition, Prof. Sadoway  is the Founder and Board Member at Ambri, Boston Metal, Pure Lithium, Avanti Battery, and Sadoway Labs.


Tomáš Zedníček Ph.D., President of the European Passive Components Institute (EPCI), Czech Republic

Dr Zedníček’s doctorate examined tantalum capacitors and was awarded in 2000 from the Technical University of Brno in the Czech Republic. Prior to establishing EPCI in 2014, he worked for over 21 years at a major tantalum capacitor manufacturer, including 15 years as the worldwide technical marketing manager. He has authored over 60 technical papers and a US/international patent on tantalum and niobium capacitors. He regularly presented at the CARTS passive component conference and other leading events. Since 2017 he has organized the PCNS bi-annual passive components symposium hosted by a European university. Dr Zedníček is a regular contributor to the Bulletin.

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