Prof. Dr. Mrinalini (Nalini) Kochupillai has joined as the first guest professor at the Future Lab, Artificial Intelligence for Earth Observations (AI4EO). She will be focusing on identifying and structuring ethical issues in the field of AI for Earth Observations. As research in this domain aims at EO images and data collection with ever higher speed, resolution and accuracy, for an ever increasing diversity of applications, a whole new range of ethical concerns as well as opportunities are expected to arise.

The necessity to investigate supporting technologies that give data contributors greater incentives as well as control over their data on one hand, and support the development of the European Data economy on the other, is also of central relevance for projects such as AI4EO that are working with an incredibly large amount of data. This is so not least because of the growing legal and ethical concerns linked with big data. Prof. Kochupillai will therefore, also look into technologies such as blockchain, particularly from an ethical opportunities perspective, for the research envisaged under AI4EO.


Prior to joining the AI4EO Future Lab at TUM, Prof. Kochupillai has been a senior research fellow with the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition (2014-2018), and the Chair for Business Ethics at the Technical University of Munich (2018-2019). She has also been a Program Director (2014-2017) and lecturer (2013-Present) at the Munich Intellectual Property Law Center (MIPLC), and an adjunct faculty at the EU Business School (2013-2014; 2018) and Franklin Pierce Law Center (FPLC) (2007-2008). She has over 15 years of experience in teaching and research in the field of business law, intellectual property (patent) law, plant variety protection, sustainable innovations (in agriculture) and business ethics. Her more recent multi-disciplinary research has focussed on legal issues and ethical opportunities offered by emerging technologies such as blockchain and AI. In 2019, as a senior consultant and lead author funded by the UK Global Challenges Research Fund, Prof. Kochupillai also lead a multi-disciplinary international team to compile a position paper for the Government of India on how these technologies can help overcome market and regulatory failures to better incentivize sustainable and inclusive innovations in the agricultural seed sector, while protecting agrobiodiversity, ensuring its sustainable use in downstream R&D, and promoting rural innovations and equitable benefit sharing.

She obtained her B.A. LL.B (Hons.) degree from the National Law Institute University, Bhopal, in 2003, & an LL.M. in Intellectual Property, Commerce & Technology from the University of New Hampshire, School of Law (UNH) in 2006. She completed her Ph.D. at the Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU), Munich as a full scholar and fellow of the International Max Planck Research School for Competition and Innovation (2009-13).

Prof. Kochupillai has served as a consultant to the International Technology Transfer Institute, FPLC (2008-2009) and the National Human Rights Commission of India (2001, 2002, 2003) and her work on health and human rights has also contributed to legislative debates in India.

Other interests:

An active blogger and entrepreneur, in 2019, Prof. Kochupillai conceptualized a blockchain based start-up and brought together an international team to take the concept forward. The team is currently supported by Unternehmer TUM.  In her free time, Mrinalini teaches mindfulness, yoga, workplace wellness, and stress management seminars as a volunteer for the TLEX Institute, SKY Campus EU, and the UN accredited International Art of Living Foundation.

Prof. Dr. Mrinalini Kochupillai