NERC-funded researchers celebrated by major European Geosciences Union awards

17 October 2014

The European Geosciences Union (EGU) has awarded four NERC-funded researchers major prizes in recognition of their outstanding work in the field of geosciences.

EGU logoEach year, the EGU - an interdisciplinary, non-profit association dedicated to the promotion of the geosciences - issues awards to individuals from both European and non-European countries. They highlight significant contributions to Earth, planetary and space sciences. This year, four of the awards were made to NERC-supported researchers.

The awards not only recognise major contribution to individual topics, but also emphasise prize winners as role models for the next generation of young scientists.

A prestigious Union-wide prize was awarded to Dr Francesca Pianosi - external link - of the University of Bristol, who received a European Geosciences Union 2015 Arne Richter Award for Outstanding Young Scientist for her work on systems methods for water resources management.

The award, which is given to only four researchers every year across all areas of the geosciences, can only be given to the best researchers below the age of 36, and within seven years of completing their highest degree.

NERC funds Dr Pianosi through the Probability, Uncertainty & Risk in the Environment (PURE) programme, which aims to improve the understanding of uncertainty and risk in natural hazards and to develop new methods to cope with these.

The EGU's scientific activities are organised through divisions encompassing all studies of the Earth and its environment and of the solar system in general. The further three winners were recognised within their divisions.

Milutin Milankovic MedalProfessor Paul Valdes - external link -, also of the University of Bristol, received the Milutin Milankovic Medal, which recognises his outstanding research in long-term climatic changes and modelling. He currently receives NERC funding to model abrupt climate change events in Earth's past to help us understand the future of climate change.

Professor Greg Houseman - external link - of Leeds University has been awarded the Augustus Love Medal. This medal is given to a distinguished scientist in the field of geodynamics, comprising mantle and core convection, tectonophysics, post-glacial rebound and Earth rotation.

Professor Houseman is supported through NERC grants, as well as through the NERC-funded FaultLab project and the Centre for Observation & Modelling of Earthquakes & Tectonics (COMET). His research focused on understanding the earthquake cycle on large fault systems like the North Anatolian Fault in Turkey.

Dr James Rae - external link - of the University of St Andrews, who is funded through NERC's REIMAGINATION (REconstructing & understanding the IMplications of surface 14C AGe changes In the North Atlantic for overturning circulation) project, received the 2015 Outstanding Young Scientist Award in the field of Biogeosciences. His research focuses on reconstructing past climate change and its causes.

The winners will receive their prizes at the EGU 2015 General Assembly, which will take place in Vienna on 12-17 April 2015.

NERC's chief executive, Professor Duncan Wingham, said:

I'm delighted that NERC is so heavily represented in the EGU awards this year. It really reflects the excellent standard of NERC-funded researchers and shows exactly why NERC is a world-leader in environmental science research.

Further information

NERC media office
01793 411939
07785 459139


1. The European Geosciences Union (EGU) is Europe's premier geosciences union, dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in the Earth, planetary, and space sciences for the benefit of humanity, worldwide. It is a non-profit interdisciplinary learned association of scientists founded in 2002. The EGU has a current portfolio of 16 diverse scientific journals, which use an innovative open access format, and organises a number of topical meetings, and education and outreach activities. Its annual General Assembly is the largest and most prominent European geosciences event, attracting over 11,000 scientists from all over the world. The meeting's sessions cover a wide range of topics, including volcanology, planetary exploration, the Earth's internal structure and atmosphere, climate, energy, and resources. The 2015 EGU General Assembly - external link is taking place is Vienna, Austria from 12-17 April 2015.

Press release: 29/14