UMass Boston Researcher to Receive World’s First Major Award for Sustainability Work
February 17, 2012
Office of Communications
The Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters (DKNVS) announced today that Kamaljit Bawa, distinguished professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts Boston and faculty fellow at the Center for Governance and Sustainability, is the 2012 recipient of the Gunnerus Sustainability Award, the world’s first major international award for work on sustainability. Society President Kristian Fossheim said in a press release, “The DKNVS aims to make this a global prize of quality and importance worthy of comparison to the Nobel Prizes in science.”
The selection of Bawa took place after a jury process in which five internationally prominent researchers considered a number of international nominees from many countries. “We are very pleased to have selected such a worthy winner of the first Gunnerus award,” said Fossheim.
A pioneer in tropical biology and international conservation, Bawa joined the UMass Boston Biology Department in 1974. 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. Specifically, he explores the role of institutions and market-based approaches to conservation, with a focus on the relationships among poverty, institutions, and community-based conservation.
Bawa told a Norwegian newspaper that he was very pleased about the recognition.
“A large part of my work during the last several years has been the establishment of ATREE, a nonprofit conservation and development research think-tank in India. In January 2011, a University of Pennsylvania study ranked ATREE nineteenth among the environmental think-tanks in the world, and implicitly the first in Asia, and now the Gunnerus Award. I am naturally very happy," he said.
The Gunnerus award is the first major international prize for outstanding scientific work that promotes sustainable development globally, and will be awarded every two years starting in 2012. The award is named after DKNVS’ founder, Bishop Johan Ernst Gunnerus (1718-1773), and is the result of a collaboration between DKNVS, Sparebank1 SMN, and the society Technoport. DKNVS has been responsible for the international launch, and the selection of the winner.
Norway as a country is associated with the term "sustainability" from former Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland's report to the U.N. Now its environmental capital, Trondheim, has established the world's first major award in the globally important new research area of sustainability. It should also be noted that the award will be given at the 25th anniversary of the Brundtland report, and may be regarded as a celebration of that event.
Bawa will receive the Gunnerus Gold Medal and the award of 1 million NOK (U.S. $190,000) during a ceremony in Trondheim, Norway on April 17.
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.
Posted by Ranbir | Wednesday, February 29 2012 at 5:18 pm
Great news! Congratulations. India is proud of this.