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Descartes prize


What do Descartes and MAR-ECO have in common?

Both were committed to great research. Both believed in the value of international collaboration. Both have been engaged in communicating their findings to a broader public.

It seems fitting therefore, that the MAR-ECO project is a laureat in the European Commission’s prestigious prize for science communication, the Descartes Prize 2006.

The Descartes Prize for Research was established in 2000. In 2004 a further, complementary prize was established, the Descartes Prize for Science Communication.

This latest prize was established:

  • to stimulate interest and careers in science communication.
  • to improve the quality of science communication with the public.

A maximum of five laureates each year will share a 250 000 euros award and five additional finalists will receive 5 000 euros each. Past prize-winners include the author Bill Bryson in 2005 (author of “A Short History of Nearly Everything”) and David Attenborough in 2004.

MAR-ECO’s Education and Outreach efforts cover all the different prize categories:

  • its researchers actively engage in science communication with the public
  • it presents popular versions of its scientific results in the press (and at least one popular science book is in the works)
  • it has been responsible for producing film documentaries and an extensive and informative web site
  • it has developed some innovative tools for interacting with the public (ship-to-shore communication, talk-with-a scientist days, school network programmes …)
  • many of its scientists are listed as experts available for contact from the Census of Marine Life expert site

MAR-ECO also meets the prize’s other particular requirement; it has already received a scientific communication prize. In 2004, Odd Aksel Bergstad was awarded the Norwegian Council of Research’s Science Communication Prize.

 7 March 2007, Odd Aksel Bergstad was awarded the Descartes Prize for Science Communication in the category of "innovative action for science communication" for his leadership role in ensuring that science communication was an important part of the international research project, MAR-ECO.

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