ISA Secretary-General’s Award for Excellence in Deep-Sea Research

On the 23rd July 2018, I was the inaugural recipient for the International Seabed Authority’s Secretary-General’s Award for Excellence in Deep-Sea Research.

This annual award is given to young researchers under 35 years old from developing countries, and recognizes the excellence of their contribution to the advancement of scientific knowledge of the deep-sea environment and the development of sound and efficient regulatory frameworks. 

You can read more about this here or here, or find my acceptance speech below:

“Firstly, wow, this is amazing and quite unexpected. 

Many thanks to the Secretary General and the International Seabed Authority for the honour of being the inaugural recipient of the Secretary General’s Award for Excellence in Deep-Sea Research. Thanks also to Tonga Offshore Mining Limited for sponsoring such a beautiful award. 

I am extremely grateful to Judith, Teresa, and Andrew, for kindly nominating me and the additional six colleagues who took the time to write letters of support. I also cannot forget the many mentors, allies, advice-givers, colleagues and friends that helped me to this point. 

While these multiple nominations could be viewed as incredibly flattering, I instead see them as a reflection of a system that is not yet inclusive or accessible to those from developing countries, to persons of colour or to women. It would benefit us all to change this.

We should commend the ISA for their efforts in changing the status quo but more can be done to build real and lasting marine-scientific capacity in developing countries. Not just by the ISA, but by states, contractors, and research institutes. Diversity matters and we should strive to a time when scientists from developing countries are commonplace on deep-sea expeditions, when they are being hired to conduct baseline surveys, EIAs and monitoring, and when they are the experts brought here to talk science. We should strive to a point when the presence of a scientist from the developing world in this setting is no longer considered unique or remarkable but instead is a normality. 

I really look forward to following this award in the future and sharing this honour with fellow deep-sea biologists from developing countries. 

Thank you again and please feel free to engage with me on science or capacity building during the refreshments or tomorrow.”