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Ten outstanding individual scientists and organizations celebrated in first ever ISC Awards

The scientific achievements of individual scientists and scientific organizations were celebrated today in the first-ever edition of the International Science Council (ISC) Awards, which recognize excellence in the advancement of science as a global public good.

Watch the awards ceremony live from 13:10 UTC on Wednesday 13 October:

Paris, 13 October 2021 – Ten different awards were conferred to individual scientists and organizations in recognition of their leading-edge research in different fields of science, and actions to promote free and responsible science that is accessible to all. All ten of the inaugural awardees are working on issues of critical important to science and to society, including tackling pandemics in low-resource settings, reducing emissions, developing pathways to sustainable development, making scientific knowledge accessible to all and safeguarding scientists at risk. 

“The ISC is committed to supporting the development of all science, from discovery to application, and including the full range of disciplines, from the natural and technological, to the behavioural, social and data sciences. Today the ISC celebrates scientific achievements by individuals and groups of individuals, whom we are recognizing for being innovators in international, interdisciplinary scientific research, science education and outreach, for bringing scientific knowledge into the public domain, and for promoting the free and responsible practice of science,” said Alik Ismail-Zadeh, ISC Secretary.

The ISC congratulates all 2021 awardees:

  • The Science for Sustainability Award was given to Huadong Guo, who has led the development of a platform to integrate Big Earth Data for monitoring and predicting progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals;
  • The Science-for-Policy Award was given to Winfried Blum, former Secretary-General of the International Union of Soil Sciences, who was one of the originators of a ground-breaking new definition of soil functions that has greatly contributed to building understanding by policy-makers, land users and the broad public.
  • The Policy-for-Science Award was given to Sekazi Mtingwa, who as co-founder of a number of important institutions and pan-African programmes, including the African Light source initiative, is working to help researchers tackle some of the continent’s biggest issues, such as Ebola. 
  • The Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award was given to Scholars at Risk, an international network that defends academic freedom and the human rights of scholars at risk of conflict and persecution by arranging temporary research and teaching positions for those affected.

Six awards recognize the achievement of early-career scientists across different regions of the world:

  • The Early Career Science Award for Latin America and The Caribbean was awarded to Arianna Becerril-Garcia, co-founder of Redalyc, an Open Access bibliographic database and digital library in Ibero-America.
  • The Early Career Science Award For Africa was awarded to Shymaa Enany, associate professor of Microbiology at the Suez Canal University, who is taking a leading role in fighting COVID-19 on the continent.
  • The Early Career Science Award for North America was awarded to Sherilee Harper, Canada Research Chair in Climate Change and Health at the University of Alberta, who is using science and indigenous knowledge to strengthen health systems in response to the climate crisis.  
  • The Early Career Science Award for Asia was awarded to Aditya Sadhanala, from the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, whose work on photothermal deflection spectroscopy is addressing some of the energy-related challenges facing remote communities.
  • The Early Career Science Award for Australia and Oceania was awarded to Muireann Irish, of the University of Sydney, a neuroscientist and advocate for women in science whose pioneering research shows how imagination can break down in dementia;
  • The Early Career Science Award for Europe was awarded to Joeri Rogelj, whose work on environment and ecology, and commitment to making research accessible to all, has advanced global understanding and decision-making on climate policy.

During an awards ceremony hosted by journalist Christina Okello, ISC President Daya Reddy added his congratulations to awardees, saying:

“It really is appropriate that we recognize those scientists and organizations whose work and whose achievements in the context of science as a global public good are of the highest quality, and in this way bring great credit to the scientific community. Today we’ve had an opportunity to recognize such achievements. It is truly cause for celebration as we hear of the successes of our inaugural group of awardees, including an inspiring group of early career researchers, and pay tribute to and honour their exemplary achievements”.

The ISC Awards Programme was established by the ISC Governing Board in 2020, and a call for nominations from Members and partners resulted in more than 100 nominations from which the final awardees were chosen by an Awards Selection Committee and endorsed by the ISC Governing Board. The prizes include unique original artworks by award-winning scientific photographer Karl Gaff.

The ISC thanks its members and partners who submitted nominations for the Awards and wishes the winners the best of success in their future endeavours. The call for nominations for the 2024 ISC Awards will open in 2023.

Find out more about the 2021 ISC Awards, learn more about each of the awardees and their work, and watch their acceptance videos here:

Download this press release.

About the ISC

The International Science Council (ISC) works at the global level to catalyse and convene scientific expertise, advice and influence on issues of major concern to both science and society. The ISC is a non-governmental organization with a unique global membership that brings together over 200 international scientific Unions and Associations, as well as regional and national scientific organizations including Academies and Research Councils. The ISC was created in 2018 as the result of a merger between the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the International Social Science Council (ISSC). It is the only international non-governmental organization bringing together the natural and social sciences and the largest global science organization of its kind.

For more information about ISC see and follow ISC on TwitterLinkedInFacebookInstagram and YouTube.


Lizzie Sayer, Senior Communications Officer, International Science Council
+33 (0)1 45 25 57 76

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