Building International Collaboration and Recognition through AGU Honors


By Sam Mukasa, AGU Honors and Recognition Committee Chair

Although we just wrapped up an exciting honors season recognizing 91 individuals at the 2016 Honors Ceremony and Banquet, it’s time to start nominating again. I hope you left the ceremony feeling inspired and energized by the accomplishments of your peers across AGU’s many disciplines and perhaps, you left thinking of a colleague deserving of one of the honors. Nominations for AGU Union Awards, Medals, Fellows, and Prizes opened this morning and will close in mid-March.

AGU Union Awards, Medals, Fellows, and Prizes are the best opportunity to recognize an individual’s professional efforts to further AGU’s mission through outstanding contributions to research and advancing the Earth and space sciences through engagement and awareness.

In more recent years, AGU has taken steps to diversify and further support research in developing nations by expanding its honors program and our mechanisms for ensuring recognition of scientists from those traditionally underrepresented countries. AGU defines developing nations as countries identified as low or middle income by the World Bank.

Our newest AGU medal, is named after acclaimed geophysicist Devendra Lal, who passed away in 2012. Professor Lal is known for his impact on the Earth and space sciences in India and for cultivating many young scientists who became well-respected in their own regard. The Devendra Lal Memorial Medal will be awarded for the first time in 2017. The medal recognizes individuals for excellence in the Earth and/or space sciences in a way befitting Professor Lal’s legacy: by recognizing scientists in developing nations for outstanding and high-quality original research accomplishments.

Photo of John Bosco Habarulema from the South African National Space Agency, 2016 recipient for the Africa Award for Research Excellence in Space Science shaking hands with AGU Executive Director and CEO Christine McEntee

John Bosco Habarulema from the South African National Space Agency, 2016 recipient for the Africa Award for Research Excellence in Space Science. Photo Credit:

In addition to the Devendra Lal Memorial Medal, AGU annually honors scientists from developing nations with the International Award and two early career scientists who are citizens or permanent residents of countries on the African continent with the Africa Awards for Research Excellence in Earth and Space Science. The Africa Awards recognize excellence in Earth or ocean sciences as well as space science; the International Award recognizes and individual scientist, group, or small team for outstanding contribution to Earth and space sciences and using science for the benefit of society in developing nations.

Hailing from a developing nation does not preclude an individual from being nominated for any of AGU’s other honors. However, through these honors, AGU hopes to build recognition and acknowledgement for international collaboration and the exceptional science being produced across the globe.

We hope you’ll join us in those efforts by nominating worthy colleagues and helping to support growth for these honors, in addition to all our recognitions.

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