UMass Boston Researcher Donates $200K in Prize Money to Research Think Tank
May 11, 2012
Office of Communications
Kamaljit Bawa Was Recipient of First International Award for Sustainability
Kamaljit Bawa, distinguished professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts Boston and faculty fellow at the Center for Governance and Sustainability, has decided to donate his nearly $200,000 in winnings from the world’s first international sustainability award to the international think tank he founded.
In January 2011, a University of Pennsylvania study ranked Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), nineteenth among environmental think tanks in the world. Bawa is currently the president of the organization.
"The gift will help ATREE address important environmental challenges. ATREE was recently ranked No.9 globally, and No.1 in Asia among environmental think tanks,” ATREE Director Gladwin Joseph told the New York Daily News.
“The donation is the right thing to do. Additional funds will help ATREE to launch a fundraising drive, and address some other critical needs. ATREE also has a $1 million dollar challenge grant and the earlier ATREE reaches this target, the better it will be for the organization,” Bawa says.
Bawa received the Royal Norwegian Society of Science and Letters’ first Gunnerus Sustainability Award, an award given for outstanding scientific work that promotes sustainable development globally, for his work on biodiversity in Central America, and the Western Ghats in India, and the Himalayas. He received the Gunnerus Gold Medal and the award of 1 Million NOK (U.S. $190,000) on April 17 during a ceremony in Trondheim, Norway.
Bawa is most noted for his pioneering research on population biology in rainforest areas. His wide span of work includes groundbreaking biological discoveries made in Central America and in the Western Ghats and the Himalayas in India. He is particularly interested in developing conservation practices aimed at reducing poverty.
Also in April, Bawa was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Founded in 1780, the academy is a prestigious, independent policy research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems in the science, social policy, and humanities fields;
Three years ago, Bawa cofounded the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in the Environment and Development (CISED), which later merged with ATREE. He joined the UMass Boston biology department in 1974.
About the Gunnerus Sustainability Award
The Gunnerus award is the first major international prize for outstanding scientific work that promotes sustainable development globally. It is named after the Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters’ (DKNVS) founder, Bishop Johan Ernst Gunnerus (1718-1773), and is the result of a collaboration between DKNVS, Sparebank1 SMN, and the society Technoport. The award is given every two years.
About UMass Boston
With a growing reputation for innovative research addressing complex urban issues, the University of Massachusetts Boston, metropolitan Boston’s only public university, offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. UMass Boston’s eight colleges and graduate schools serve nearly 16,000 students while engaging local, national, and international constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service activities. To learn more about UMass Boston, visit www.umb.edu.